Sixth and penultimate meeting of the TF35 Trophy 2021, the TF35 Scarlino 1, which took place from 9 to 12 September, lived up to the expectations of the seven crews entered in the championship. Twelve races were held over the four days of racing, in medium to strong winds. Realteam Sailing won the event ahead of Alinghi and Spindrift. Ylliam XII – Comptoir Immobilier meanwhile finished 5th, and took 4th place in the season’s standings at the end of the event.
“One of the main objectives of the project was to sail out of Lake Geneva,” noted Bertrand Favre, class director. He continued, “This objective had to be delayed by a year due to the health situation. But this new stage in Italy should allow the international sailing world to discover the full potential of the TF35 outside of the closed stretch of water on which the boat has sailed until now.”
Although designed to be relatively easily dismantled, it took a few days to pack each unit into its container before it set sail for Marina di Scarlino, one of the most prestigious ports in the Mediterranean, located in Tuscany, just off the island of Elba.
Arriving on site, it took another four big days of work to assemble each catamaran and get it into the water. Each team was responsible for its own project, but the forces were federated by the organisers and team leaders to optimise the overall logistics as much as possible. The Yacht Club Isole di Toscana, was obviously delighted to host this prestigious series, and fulfilled its mission as host club to perfection. Claudia Tosi, general secretary of the club, said just before the start of the first races: “The TF35s have been attracting the interest of sailing enthusiasts since their arrival. Fast, flying machines like these have never been seen here before, so they create a real buzz. All eyes will be on the race area from the beaches.”
The teams proceeded to several days of training before the first regattas, in order to make the essential adjustments after a transport, and to become familiar with the water surface. After the dull and cold summer in Switzerland, all the crews were delighted to be sailing in stable wind and sunny conditions with pleasant temperatures. “It’s a stretch of water where there are few waves, even when it’s blowing at twenty knots,” explained crew member Pierre Pennec. “We had perfect conditions for these boats. The first two days the airs were between 9 and 12 knots, and on Saturday and Sunday we had the mistral, with stronger winds, up to 20 knots. This gave us the opportunity to push the boats hard. We were able to validate our settings and refine our communication methods. Things are different when it’s going very fast. You’re out of breath, there can be water on the microphones, you have to be sure you understand each other.”
At the end of the twelve races, the crew draws a positive balance from the encounter. “Alinghi and Realteam Sailing are sailing a notch above. We must try to get closer to them. says Pierre Pennec. But we are making progress every day. We have improved our foiling gybe, and the percentage of success of this manoeuvre is greater. It feels good when we make progress from one day to the next.” Quentin Ponroy, head of the sailmaker North France, which supplies the boat’s wardrobe, was present for the event, and was able to bring his external view, as regards the sail settings, and any improvements to be made. Out of the twelve races sailed, Ylliam XII – Comptoir Immobilier finished once on the podium, in 3rd place, and twice in 4th, demonstrating her ability to get close to the best.
“Another thing that was very nice,” Pierre Pennec recounted, “was that all the crews were in the same place, with the boats next to each other at the dock. There were events organised in the evening. It encouraged exchanges between all the teams, and we were able to fish for information here and there, to better understand how our opponents work.”
The TF35 Trophy final is due to take place again in Scarlino from 23-26 September. The crews will be on site again from Tuesday to train before the first races on Thursday. Ylliam XII – Comptoir Immobilier hopes to benefit from all the experience gained to keep its 4th place in the championship standings. “We are making progress, but so are our opponents,” concluded Pierre Pennec, confident in the potential of the whole crew.