With snow on the mountains and a sunny breezy day on the coast, the Primo Cup launched by HSH Prince Albert II when he first became the Yacht Club de Monaco’s President 31 years ago, more than lived up to its reputation and charm. With 188 boats and some 1,000 sailors over the two weekends, divided into ten classes, the Primo Cup – Trophée Credit Suisse remains a great winter classic for one-designs and IRC boats, both attracted by the race format where each class follows on from each other. A big attraction is that enthusiastic amateurs get to pit their skills against big names in the sailing world and America’s Cup, like the Italian Francesco de Angelis, and Frenchmen Sébastien Col and Marc Pajot. At the same time ashore, the Israeli Nino Shmueli, Vice-President of ISAF’s Race Committee and the Turk Ilker Bayindir were running seminars on race management, alongside courses in how to use race classification software by the French Sailing Federation. For the last race of the day on February 8, a 12-knot westerly shifting to an easterly at the end of the day allowed the Race Committee to lay courses on a flat sea for all the one-designs including the J/70. Like last weekend, the Primo Cup-Trophée Credit Suisse was the only regatta where it was possible to sail in France given the severe weather warnings for the Atlantic and West Mediterranean coasts. A very popular class, the J/70, were there in force with 32 entrants, the biggest fleet since the last European Championship held in Riva del Garda in Italy with 36 boats. It bodes well for the European Open Championship which the Yacht Club de Monaco is in charge of organizing from 12th to 17th October 2015 (all registration info is already up on the website www.ycm.org). It was with this in mind that class representatives from France, Italy and Germany came to meet their counterpart Jacopo Carrain and get the measure of the race area off the Principality. The fleet is highly motivated with another event in Monaco on 28th and 29th March, the first act of the national J/70 Italian Championships, with around 40 entrants expected. Of note was the attendance for the first time on the boat of Italian Francesco de Angelis, owner of the Italian America’s Cup Challenger Luna Rossa. The last race proved decisive for the German Claus Lehmann (Blanker Hans), who won the event a point ahead of the Italian Alesio Marinelli (Uji Uji) and two points in front of Le Havre sailor, Ludovic Sénéchal (Lulu La Nantaise). “The building’s new facilities are exceptional for sailing and training for upcoming major events. We were there for Act 3 of the Monaco Sportsboat Winter Series and the level continues to rise with 15 new teams for the Primo,” said the delighted winner. Information and results are available at www.ycm.org.

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