Victory for Sails of Change in the first Grand Prix of the season

The TF35 Nyon Cup ended on Sunday with victory for Yann Guichard and his crew in the first Grand Prix of the 2024 sports season. Here’s a look back at three days of competition for Sails of Change and the team’s two TF35s. 

For the first Grand Prix of the season, Lake Geneva looked like an “oil slick” in Nyon. 

The six crews taking part in the circuit gathered on Friday morning with faint hope of sailing. The wind, which had been absent from the start of the event, finally picked up, giving the TF35s 6 to 15 knots of northeasterly breeze, and allowing the first three rounds of the season to be sailed. 

The first day showed the potential of the team’s two TF35s, with a hard-fought first race, with Sails of Change 10 skippered by Duncan Späth finishing second, just ahead of Sails of Change 8 helmed by Yann Guichard.

At the end of the first day, Yann Guichard and his crew (Noé Delpech, François Morvan, Bruno Mourniac, Adrien Mestre and Solune Robert) were in second place overall, 7 points behind Realteam Sailing.

Duncan Späth and his crew (Yann Jauvin, Xavier Revil, Pieter Tack, Jules Bidégaray and Thibault Julien) closed the first day in fourth place with 10 points. Duncan Späth stated: “I’ve gone from mainsail trimmer to skipper, which is a big step forward and a change for the team. For our first races, we’re very happy and proud of our performance. We were a little apprehensive, but mostly we were motivated and excited to be on the starting line with the other teams and take part in such closely competitive racing.”

The second day of the Nyon Cup took place in light airs, making positioning and starting all the more important. Three races were sailed in 6 to 10 knots. With the fleet in close contact and four heat leaders out of six races, the match was tight. 

In the end, Sails of Change 8 retained its second place, while Sails of Change 10 finished in fifth position, just one point behind ZEN too. 

On the morning of the final day of the Grand Prix, the stress and suspense were palpable. After waiting for the wind to strengthen, the race committee started the first race in an 8-10 knot northerly breeze. On the scoreboard, 4 points separated Sails of Change 8 from provisional leader Realteam, and just one point separated Sails of Change 10 from fourth place. 

After a breathtaking last race, determined as ever, Yann Guichard’s crew completed a hat-trick of victories on the final day of competition (1st, 2nd and 3rd in the three races) to claim first place in the overall TF35 Nyon Cup standings. “What we’re looking for as sportspeople is a bit of adrenalin. It’s wonderful to win this first Grand Prix, especially as Realteam won them all last year. It breaks their incredible rhythm, and, above all, it gives all the teams an opening for the next Grand Prix,” concludes Yann Guichard.

In his first GP at the helm of Sails of Change 10, Duncan Späth finished fifth overall. A promising start, with some great heats, some close racing, a second place and two third places in the heats.

The rest of the competition promises to be just as exciting to follow. The TF35 Grand Prix de Mies is scheduled for June 7 and 9, and the two distance regattas of the season, the much-anticipated Genève-Rolle-Genève on June 8, considered the warm-up for the famous and formidable Bol d’Or Mirabaud. 

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