GENEVA, Switzerland – Sébastien Schneiter, the 19-year-old catamaran skipper of Team Tilt is being credited with leading his team to first place in the 77th edition of the prestigious Bol d’Or Mirabaud regatta – the largest fresh water sailing competition in the world, which takes place annually on Lake Geneva.
Team Tilt won after an exhausting 12 hours 6 minutes of sailing from Geneva to Bouveret and back, 16 seconds ahead of Alinghi 1, a syndicate set up by Swiss-billionaire and philanthropist Ernesto Bertarelli.
Alinghi 1 gained three places on the return trip to Geneva.
The 2014 winner, LadyCat, stayed third throughout the competition.
RealTeam, which was leading half-way through the race, dropped to eight place.
Do not let this “early” win fool you.
If you were to read this post before 17:00 on Sunday 14 June, then, chances are that tens of boats have yet to reach the finish line.
The last of the competitors are expected to arrive on Sunday at 17:00. The official closing ceremony will take place on Sunday 14 June at 19:00.
After several years in Geneva I made it my goal to watch the competition not far from the return point.
While most viewers came and went, an 82-year-old Lake Geneva fisherman who participated in six competitions was closely watching.
He and other fishermen – who do not use Internet – kept each other informed via phone and walkie-talkies of the progress.
Binoculars in hand and an extensive chart, he sat on his porch, overlooking the lake and kept me on the loop of who was leading the return – who as he said – “defines the winner.”
Catch up with the competition on video
** As I post this, about 200 boats are just now heading back to Geneva. Story to be updated.