The introduction of a new class for foiling boats – and therefore a new Bol – will be an important step in 2024, which we will present in detail shortly. There will be no revolution in 2023, but interesting sporting challenges in many classes.
Let’s start with the overall ranking and the M1 and M2 multihulls: will Christian Wahl manage to repeat his surprise victory of last year? The skipper from Geneva, who will be wearing the colours of the Mirabaud Sailing Squad, will be the favourite if the wind is very light. On the other hand, he will not stand a chance if the breeze exceeds five knots as the TF35s – now in their third season – are clearly superior. The suspense will therefore be limited at this level, and will depend solely on the strength of the wind.
The most impressive crew at the start of the season is the one of Jérôme Clerc aboard the TF35 Realteam, which beat the Ruban Bleu record on 27 March in an exceptional time of 3 hours and 43 minutes, before beating the kilometre record on 12 April at an average speed of 35.39 knots (65.53 km/h)! The Alinghi Red Bull Racing Team will be represented by a junior team with less experience than the Barcelona-based sailors. However, this will be their chance to shine and they will no doubt be giving it their all to get noticed. The other TF35s will also be led by teams at the top of their game, and capable of winning.
Valentin Bovey, skipper of the M2 catamaran DCM Systematic Advisors, will be trying to repeat his feat of last year; a fine fourth place ahead of all the TF35s (except for the one skippered by Loïck Peyron, second in the event). A brilliant feat that will only be repeated in case there is almost no wind… Created in 2004, the M2 class still manages to line up ten boats on the starting line, making it the largest fleet of ‘big’ multihulls.
The Bol de Vermeil will feature an interesting duel between the Hungarian Libera Raffica and Jean Psarofaghis’ Psaros 40 which has been extensively modified this winter. We will also follow closely Thomas Jundt’s QFX, extremely fast if the conditions are favourable, as well as the Psaros 33 and 40, Luthi 1090, F10 and other Lake Geneva sleds.
There will be something for everyone on one or two hulls, two, three or four foils, in archimedean and flight mode, in wood, plastic or carbon! We will also observe the biggest class of the Bol, the Surprises, and wonder if there will be more than 100 of them again. Not forgetting the Grand Surprises, of which there were 25 last year.
In terms of the number of victories, Christian Wahl is now firmly established at the top with eight trophies to his credit, and for a good while. None of his direct pursuers (Philippe Durr, Pierre-Yves Jorand, Philippe Stern and Alex Schneiter, all with seven victories) will challenge him, while none of the sailors relegated to two lengths will take part in the BOM 2023 (Ernesto Bertarelli, Louis Noverraz, Daniel Stampfli, Yves Detrey).