Finally I had the chance to sail this traditional event held just some minutes away from Paris downtown, on the Sienna river, the club hosting the event since 1976 has a long sailing tradition in France, being three times an America’s cup challenger and besides pictures and books immortalizing the moments, at the garden an old aluminum mast from the first chanllenge that originally was donated to be the flag mast, later decided that was too high for the purpose, therefore is laying down as a museum piece in which you can still observe the former halyard blocks.
The club mainly has Solings and a few starts and other keelboats, Optimist and other learning classes are forbidden at the river, like Life jacket is mandatory no matter the wind situation, there fore as words from Marc Lefevre the FSA president the Yankee flag is welded in the Race committee mast at the up position, this mast also interesting, installed in the marina in a fixed place with some chairs for the race committee staff.
The starting line between two orange buoys laying in the extremities of the river away one to one and a half boat length from shore. The upwind marks were laying depending on wind strength about 500 mts at Paris direction, and the leeward gate 400 mts far from Paris. The best is the wind from the East along the river, so the upwind is against the current, what is a real challenge, the downwind at least you move no matter the situation. The rounding marks a complete new situation trick and depending on the wind strength angles and so on. Sometimes it looks like you round the mark and the wind rounds together with you.
The Club, a fantastic atmosphere, holding a building with many rooms for guests and members, most teams gathers together, and at the end, they have breakfast together, lunch and dinner since the system composed by a buffet that opens only at all three times and then are closed. The Bar is different story, served by the members themselves, marking their own consumptions, with a flat screen with Videos from the class, and in addition a trophy room with traditional cups, like the One Ton Cup, trophy created by the club for a specific formula that nowadays is challenged by FARR boats racing in UK the one this past week.
The Local knowledge pays a lot, reason FRA 181 Patrick Godest and Christian Huber sailing the Soling since his youth at the River, show an impressive score, they were followed by outsider FRA 198 with Marc Lefevre, Marc Furic and Francois Gombeaud, the FSA executives, who had a fantatisc Sunday taking two bullets to Angers, in third the Legond Brothers with FRA 172 and their reinforcement from the Star Class Philippe Treanton.
16 teams took part in the 2017 edition of the Open Soling Trophy, three of them from outside Paris, who sailed with great nice weather, in t-shirt but very light winds. Definitly a place I am looking forward to return, hopefully next time same weather and more wind.
Complete Results www.soling.com/results/ShowResults.asp?ID=1040
Article wrote by Matias Collins