Dennis Conner, Poul Richard Hoj Jensen, Lionel Péan lead classes at Régates Royales 29/9/06

All the stars, including Dennis Conner, Poul Richard Hoj Jensen, Lionel Péan shone brightly yesterday in Cannes as all the categories in the Régates Royales – Panerai Trophy enjoyed a good three hours of mild southerly breezes across the bay.

Conner led his spectacular Cotton Blossom II (Anker 1924) to another undisputed victory, with a trademark start at the gun shot to take an ever increasing lead all the way to the finish line. With her tall mast and gigantic main sail, Cotton Blossom seems to be no match to her 15-strong fleet.

In the meantime, deep on the western side of the bay of Cannes, the Dragon fleet managed to pull off one race in the light southerly breeze. A nervous fleet pushed the line, and the race committee, after calling the fleet back three times, had to settle for the black flag rule. And still, no less than 15 competitors were thrown out for early starts.

With his second win of the week, Hoj Jensen – the skipper of legendary Danish Blue – now firmly holds first place in the overall ranking. He still has Don O’Donoghue to account for as the tenacious Irish is only dragging by 5 points.

Noteworthy is the presence of two Russian boats within the top ten boats. For a change, the Metre Class did not enjoy as much wind as earlier in the week, sailing off the Cap de la Croisette facing Juan lès Pins. South Australia again proved a better match to William Borel’s Challenge Twelve still unable to find a way around his mighty opponent. The fate in the 12 m JI class is definitely sealed, with Lionel Péan’s South Australia absolutely out of reach.

The Classic Yachts wasted no time in the afternoon and set off for an ambitious round the Lérins Islands 15-mile race. The light southerly winds would not just let that happen and the race committee had to shorten the course and call it a day as the boats reached the Pointe de l’Esquillon, four miles short of the original course.

Tuiga once again proved her quality in light air, especially going downwind. But credit also goes to her crew and helmsman Bernard d’Alessandri who sailed an almost perfect race, always managing to stay upwind.