40th Primo Cup Draws 400 Sailors from 10 Nations

With wind conditions oscillating between 8 to 18 knots, the 40th Primo Cup-Trophée UBS proved tense and exciting for the 400 sailors and 10 nations showcasing their mastery of racing tactics in J/70, Smeralda 888, Longtze Premier and Cape 31 classes. Hosted by Yacht Club de Monaco, President HSH Prince Albert II greeted competitors at the opening ceremony and presented the coveted Perpetual Trophy, made by Buccellati and engraved with winners from the last four decades.

Launched in 1985 at the instigation of Prince Albert II, who had just become Yacht Club de Monaco’s president, the Primo Cup has established itself as a major international season-opener that continues to attract big names in sailing, such as Jean Le Cam, Michel Desjoyeaux, Franck Cammas, John Kostecki, Grant Dalton, Enrico Chieffi, Flavio Favini, Marcus Hutchinson and Will Ryan. “We have had champions here, sailors from the Vendée Globe, Tour de France à la Voile and the Figaro, not to mention the America’s Cup,” remembers YCM General Secretary Bernard d’Alessandri “And with 4,400 boats, 1,100 starts, 200 days of sailing, 20,500 sailors and 44 classes in the last 40 years, the event has become a reference”. Stand-out classes that have left their mark include SB 20, JOD 35, Star, Dragon, Etchells, Selection, J/24 and Surprise.

Monegasques win out in two classes
In the J/70 fleet of around 50 boats, Monaco sailors dominated with victory going to Giangiacomo Serena di Lapigio (G-Spot) for the second time after four races. In the Corinthian category, Cesare Gabasio (TinnJ70) was second, behind the Swiss on Jerry. In the Smeralda 888, YCM’s Achille Onorato and his crew on Canard à l’Orange relished in their victory in this class, which holds the record for attendance with 31 editions and counting.

The passion for high level competition is being passed down to young generations as evidenced by the presence of Roman Lampert (11), Ludovica Bonelli (14), Louis Pompée (9) and Joséphine Dobbelaere (10) from YCM’s Sports Section. “They are used to start lines of 90 Optimists so were not phased and stayed calm,” says their coach Margaux Meslin, who was sailing with them on the J/70 Team Optimist. “I’ve seen them win starts next to the big names, or surfing downwind, spinnaker up, big smiles on their faces. It was a fantastic experience for them,” she says.

Longtze Premier: Swiss triumph
In Longtze Premier, the Germans on Wetfeet were eyeing first place, but the Swiss on Shensu won by three points. The majority being Swiss in this class, it was perhaps not a surprise to see QI in third place. These one designs made their début at the Primo Cup and were participating for the 13th time this year.

Cape 31 the new kid on the block
The Primo Cup-Trophée UBS gives pride of place to emerging classes and this year it went to the Cape 31, competing in Monaco for the first time.

Conceived by Lord Irvine Laidlaw, a seasoned sailor, designed by Mark Mills and built in South Africa, the Cape 31 is optimized for upwind performance, while retaining its capabilities in light airs. In this class, Robin Follin (Give me Five) won ahead of Guido Miani (Squirt) and Loïc Pompée (Bellini), both from YCM who were 4th and 5th.

Innovation on all levels
As part of the collective ‘Monaco, Capital of Advanced Yachting’ approach, the Monaco race area is a testbed for innovation, paving the way to developing new technologies and experimenting with novel concepts at sea. For example, prototypes of remote controlled dynamic race marks that don’t need to be anchored, thereby protecting the seabed; a course with two leeward marks adapted to the different classes to improve flow; consecutive starts to keep the ball rolling; and an on-water international jury. This 40th edition was no exception with the unveiling of a new class called Junda KII, with the emphasis on sustainability and using recycled materials, notably for the sails.

“Conceived here in Monaco for a two- person crew, Junda KII has the advantage of not having to manage a large crew,” explains YCM member Ludovico Fassitelli, the man behind the project. The 2019 winner of the Primo Cup in the J/70 points out the technology which includes an instrument that establishes a GPS network between boats on the start line so the jury can see immediately who has crossed the line within the rules. “It avoids all the issues related to a general recall when too many boats cross the line too soon”.

Monaco Sportsboat Winter Series: a winning trio
The 40th Primo Cup was also the stage for the fourth and final act of the Monaco Sportsboat Winter Series of monthly regattas, which run from November to March every year. For this 11th edition, 18 races were contested, with another victory for Giangiacomo Serena di Lapigio (G-Spot), a healthy 33 points ahead of another YCM member, Pierrik Devic (Raph Seven Yacht) and Lorenzo Bortolotti (Black Swan) also from the Club. In the Corinthian group, YCM’s flag was also flying on the first two steps of the podium with victory going to Cesare Gabasio (TinnJ70) followed by Matteo Scandolera (Irruenza), and Swiss Lorenz Kausche (Rhubarbe) completing the podium.

YCM promotes year-round competitive sailing thanks to the support of all stewards in the Flotte des Commissaires, a driving force that plays a key role in the organization of all the Club’s events with great professionalism. Another date has already been set for this event and an exciting one design season in Monaco.

YCM is now looking forward to seeing the yachting industry on March 21-22, at Monaco Ocean Week, during which the Club is organising a day dedicated to yachting with the 13th Environmental Symposium, A Day of Exploration organised in collaboration with The Explorers Club of New York, followed by the YCM Explorer Awards by La Belle Classe Superyachts ceremony. In parallel, the second Monaco Smart Yacht Rendezvous will also be held.

Full results: https://yacht-club-monaco.mc/evenements/primo-cup-trophee-ubs/