Bol d’Or Mirabaud

Archimedes beats Icarus again!

The war between daggerboards and foils took place again at the 2023 Bol d’Or Mirabaud. TF35s, M2s and Christian Wahl’s D35 Double You engaged in a fascinating battle on Lake Geneva. For the second year running, and for the 9th time in his career, Christian Wahl won the endurance race, which lasted 17 hours and 14 minutes. An ultimate accolade for the man known as the “Wizard of the Lake”.

Switzerland doesn’t have the sea, yet there are countless prestigious racing sailors who know its subtle bodies of water by heart... The top event for these freshwater crews, who are more than capable of holding their own against the most successful ocean racers, is the Bol d’Or Mirabaud, which takes place every June on Lake Geneva. Since 1939, the Société Nautique de Genève has set the tempo for the world’s biggest inland regatta. Its unpredictable scenario is sure to keep the most demanding racing fans on the edge of their seats. Between violent winds (images of the 2019 edition’s big squall have been seen around the world) and overwhelming calms, choosing the right boat to win is no easy task. How do you cover the spectrum of such a wide range of conditions?
This is the breeding ground for an almost limitless desire for innovation, which has led generations of owners to design the most high-performance multihulls of their time.

From the D35 to the TF35

Since the 2021 edition, the Bol d’Or Mirabaud has been the scene of a new and unprecedented confrontation. On one side, the only D35 in the race, with Christian Wahl at the helm, and on the other, the brand-new TF35s, of which there are now six. The queen of the lake for a good fifteen years, the D35s bowed out in 2020, when some of their owners decided to ship them off to Hungary, some 600 miles east, to Lake Balaton, with the aim of replacing them with a very specific foiler. The TF35 was born. This multihull was intended to establish its supremacy on Lake Geneva by flying even in light airs. A daring gamble. The machine is capable of taking off downwind in just 6 knots of breeze, and features an automatic altitude regulation system, making it a formidable craft, capable of opening up phenomenal gaps in just a few minutes on its foils. But it won’t fly in less than six knots of wind. However, during this 2023 edition, peak winds of 7 knots were recorded, no more. So there was nothing to write home about, and for the second year running, the TF35s dragged their foils. All of them... except for one crew with much panache: these doldrums warriors took the daring gamble of swapping their pair of foils for daggerboards for the first time in a race. Initially designed as a hybrid, the TF35 can be fitted with C daggerboards - provided the necessary work is carried out a few days in advance. A few practice tests and a handful of clever calculations were initially enough to convince almost the entire fleet that it wasn’t worth the risk. In fact, mathematically, a few tens of minutes of flight time could be enough to make up the lost ground on the older generation of Archimedean catamarans - M2s, D35s and the like.

Quite a gamble


Jérôme Clerc, multihull specialist and head of the Realteam stable, was the one who changed his mind. The crew came very close to pulling off the coup of the century, keeping the race alive from start to finish. Faced with a very light airs forecast, Jérôme and ...

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