Monaco Primo Cup: set to open Mediterranean season


Taking full advantage since 2014 of its new Clubhouse and sailing facilities designed by Lord Norman Foster, the Yacht Club de Monaco has ramped up its winter regatta programme over the last two years.

Its monthly Sportsboat Winter Series of regattas for the Melges 20 and J/70 classes (October to March) is attracting more and more sailors from northern Europe who make Monaco their winter training base.

Act 4 of this Winter Series is the Primo Cup - Trophée Credit Suisse, a major regatta that for over 30 years has opened the Mediterranean race season.

With some 150 boats (800+ sailors, 14 nationalities) already registered over the two weekends in seven classes alongside the IRC classes 1 to 4 (since 2012); demos & free trials of the trimaran Diam 24od, competing for the first time; and an umpires course run in conjunction with World Sailing, the 32nd edition is set to live up to its reputation as a classic.

1st weekend (5th – 7th February): Surprise Europ’ Sailing Championship
At least 20 Surprises are expected in this loyal class to the Primo Cup which will also be Act 1 of their Europ’ Sailing Championship. A popular boat for lake sailing, it’s no surprise to see so many Swiss, Italians and French signed up.
Alongside will be the 88.8m Smeralda 888 (10 entrants) designed by German Frers, where the rule is that owners must be at the helm, and the Star, an Olympic class (15) and another Primo regular. International teams, including Ed Russo President of the SB20 World Council, are among the 15 lined up for the SB20 contest, while IRC classes 1-4 will be here in force with 25 expected.

2nd weekend (12th - 14th February): Act 4 of the Monaco Sportsboat Winter Series
Alongside the Diam 24od class, competing for the first time at the Primo, the J/70 fleet of 35 entrants is even more international this year following the European Championship hosted by the Yacht Club last October, with boats coming from all over Europe. Motivated by Jacopo Carrain, President of the Monaco Class Association, the J/70 has grown rapidly as a class in the Principality with 18 boats now racing under the Yacht Club de Monaco flag.


The Primo Cup is also Act 4 of the five-act Monaco Sportsboat Winter Series for the J/70, as well as for the 27 Melges 20 boats registered. Instigated by Valentin Zavadnikov in 2013, this Winter Series offers a high level programme of monthly training regattas for one-designs throughout the winter for experienced teams wanting to train for the season’s big meetings.
Dominated last season by Guido Miani, first European in the Melges 20 Worlds, this technically demanding sportsboat, has proved a hit with Russian sailors who make up 16 of the teams competing at the Primo. They include Alekxandr Ezhkov (Pirogovo) and Vladimir Prosikhin (Nika), RC44 2015 World Champion, who are currently ranked 1st and 2nd respectively in this Winter Series championship.

Opportunity: to try out the Diam 24od one-design trimaran
New to the Primo Cup – Trophée Credit Suisse this year is the exciting one-design trimaran, the Diam 24od (7.25m), which rejuvenated the Tour de France à la Voile (sailing’s version of the cycle race) in 2015 and is set to do so again in 2016. As the season-opener in the Med the Primo offers this fleet an ideal opportunity to train in these waters alongside two other sporty classes, J/70 and Melges 20, on the second weekend (12th – 14th Feb).

The Diam 24od fleet will arrive the first weekend to give other sailors a chance to try them out. Sessions for three-four people are being organised on Saturday and Sunday (6th and 7th) and possibly Wednesday 10th (if a lot of interest) for groups of three-four people, who must have the French Sailing Federation (FFV) licence or equivalent and sailing experience. Those interested should register at the YCM.

World Sailing Umpires Course
Meanwhile, on week days between the two weekends World Sailing (formerly ISAF) will be running another Umpires Course led by Neven Baran, a member of World Sailing’s Racing Rules Committee, as he did for the J/70 European Championship last October. The focus is on its new approach towards having direct arbitration on the water for fleet races to gain time during a regatta, while increasing safety by strictly applying racing rules with instant judgements made on the water.

Enjoy the show!
As always the public are more than welcome to watch the show. Races can be seen from various observation points in the Principality including the Luciana Jetty near the Yacht Club, the esplanades and slopes of the main harbour wall, Fort Antoine, terrace of the Oceanographic Museum and Casino Gardens.


And finally, in a long established tradition special to the Yacht Club de Monaco for all its regattas, technical clothing specialist SLAM, a loyal YCM partner for over 30 years, presents crew members of the first three teams with garments form the company’s Advanced Technology line. The famous Italian brand will set up a temporary « Boutique » during the whole event and it will be open to the public.

Provisional programme (subject to change):
1st weekend
Friday 5th February
8.00am Bar opens in the Primo Cup Hospitality Unit (Meeting Room)
1.00pm 1st race of the day
5.30pm Welcome Cocktail

Saturday 6th February
8.00am Bar opens in the Primo Cup Hospitality Unit (Meeting Room)
11.00am 1st race of the day
6.00pm Crew Party

Sunday 7th February
8.00am Bar opens in reception area of the Primo Cup Hospitality Unit (Meeting Room)
11.00am 1st race of the day
After racing Prize-giving

2nd weekend
Friday 12th February
8.00am Bar opens in the Primo Cup Hospitality Unit (Meeting Room)
1.00pm 1st race of the day
6.00pm Welcome Cocktail

Saturday 13th February
8.00am Bar opens in the Primo Cup Hospitality Unit (Meeting Room)
11.00am 1st race of the day
6.00pm Crew Party

Sunday 14th February
8.00am Bar opens in the Primo Cup Hospitality Unit (Meeting Room)
11.00am 1st race of the day 
After racing Prize-giving




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