The 7 TF35 hydrofoil catamarans met this weekend for the first official confrontation in the series’ history. Ylliam XII – Comptoir Immobilier finished 5th in the meet, with a fine fourth place in the first race.
The weather did not really smile on the TF35s for their opening Grand Prix. For if 3 days of racing were planned between Friday and Sunday. Only one, on Saturday, finally allowed 3 rounds to be contested. With almost winter conditions, the crews finished this first meeting exhausted. Long waits in the rain and cold punctuated this weekend of complex weather. Ylliam XII – Comptoir Immobilier finished the Grand-prix 5th overall. A result that the tactician on board Erwan Israel considers encouraging:
“We know our weaknesses and they are identified. But we also saw that we could do well and be in the mix. “
The resumption did not take place in the best conditions for the Ylliam XII – Compotoir Immobilier team, which started the regattas with a slight training deficit. Several technical problems limited the pre-season preparation sessions, reducing the hours spent working on coordination, speed or communication. We identified cracks in the stern beam during our April training sessions,” explains Teva Plichart, the headsail trimmer. We had to dismantle the boat, make the repairs and reassemble everything. We lost valuable training days. “
Other electronics concerns also prevented the racers from making the most of the time they had to prepare. “To sail for an hour, there are ten hours of work on the boat,” noted Bertrand Demole, happy to be back on track for the season. We need to progress, and sail more, but we’re in the race. “
Alexis Rochat, bowman confirms the situation: “When you have few hours to train, you really have to do qualitative work. But he always misses a bit of quantitative. It’s like a violinist playing scales, you have to work on them relentlessly. That’s the price he pays to progress. “
Since the beginning of the season, each crew member has been equipped with an individual transceiver system, with a microphone and headset built into the helmet, to communicate on board. The equipment has given the athletes a helicopter-like feel as they appreciate the new tool. It’s really appropriate,” commented Alexis Rochat. And to add: “It avoids shouting, it limits the tension. But we had to learn to work with it. You have to limit the amount of intervention so that everyone can stay focused. The tactician is constantly giving information about the wind, the speed, the trajectories and the other competitors. For the others, you have to limit the number of interfering words and interventions. The method of communication is a procedure in itself. It’s grafted onto the manoeuvring procedures, it’s an aspect to work on. In an ideal world, we should almost get to the point of not saying anything. “
At the end of the event, Erwan Israel takes a positive view of the result: “There were a lot of question marks for us before the first races. It was practically the first time all year that we found ourselves in a race configuration turning between buoys. We were expecting to be a bit behind, so there’s no frustration. We’re still pretty happy with the day, as there were heats. We had a good race in fourth place to start with, and in the other two races, there are some positive points that we can build on. We know how to be opportunistic and overtake boats. We know how to be opportunistic, how to overtake boats,” he said. “Realteam and Alinghi are clearly above the rest. They’ve been training hard. They know exactly when to fly, and that makes a huge difference. But we have a lot of room for improvement, and it takes a little time. There are a lot of areas where we can improve, and we’re working to improve them. “
Betrand Demole, a little disappointed with the conditions encountered and the lack of wind remains positive overall on this debut. “We would have preferred to have a bit more wind, and to do more racing. But maybe it’s better to start slowly. If we start the season with 20 knots and break everything, it’s not necessarily better. “
The next meeting will again take place in Nyon, and will be held from May 14 to 16. The crew of Ylliam XII – Comptoir Immobilier will meet from Wednesday 12 to perfect their preparation. The team’s coach, Hervé Cunningham, will continue his coaching to enable the sailors to progress. Training races are planned from Thursday, as a warm-up.