Realteam, skippered by Jerome Clerc, defends the Swiss Match Racing Championship title for the third year running fighting off Zurich sailor Alexa Bezel and her ChicaCER team in the final match.

Although this was Jerome Clerc and Realteam’s first match race of the season, they made short work of the semi finals against Roger Stocker and went on to win the finals against Alexa Bezel 2-0.

“The semi finals were tricky,” said Jerome. “The conditions in the morning were very light and it became a bit of a lottery, anything could have happened. I was relieved when the westerly wind established because we had won seven straight matches on Friday in the same conditions and it gave us confidence.”

In the final, raced against the women’s team ChicaCER for the second year running, Realteam controlled match one from start to finish winning the race, but things unravelled a bit in race two when they were over at the start: “We messed up the start and had to cross the line again, so the girls maximised on this to take the advantage,” described Jerome.

The match could have gone either way and evened out the scoreboard, but Realteam kept the pressure on and the women’s team had a boat handling issue: “Out of the blue, the knot that secures the genoa sheet to the sail came undone,” said skipper Alexa Bezel. “And then when Elodie Mettraux tried to get the sail back, she fell over the side – it was very frustrating for us!”

Game, set and match to Realteam who snatched back the lead to win the race and the championship title. “We are very happy to have won the title for the third time,” said Jerome. “I am particularly happy to be sailing and winning again as I have hardly raced since the Bol d’Or. Match racing is a very important discipline for our team – it makes the crew much tighter and the skills are useful to take back to fleet racing.”

The Realteam crew was made up of Denis Girardet, Thierry Wasem and Gilles Favennec, led by Jerome Clerc. “The team’s performance and level has really improved since the beginning of the year,” said Jerome. “This is a great result.”

Volvo Open Swiss Match Racing Championship, 15-18 August, Societe Nautique de Geneve ranking:

1. Jérôme Clerc
2. Alexa Bezel
3. Alain Stettler
4. Roger Stocker
5. Nicolas Anklin
6. Nelson Mettraux
7. Lorenz Müller
8. Nicola Möckli