Founded in 1939, the Bol d’or Mirabaud takes place on Lake Geneva, not far from Hotel d’Angleterre, and includes both monohull and multihull vessels. The largest lake in both Switzerland and France, Lake Geneva is famous for its sailing opportunities. Visitors to the Swiss city can enjoy a pleasure cruise on the lake, often in boats that have been lovingly preserved since the Belle Époque era of the early 1900s. The lake also acts as a transport passage for ferries travelling to towns like Lausanne-Evian and Nyon-Yvoire.
This prestigious regatta is famous for attracting the most technically innovative sailors and past racers have included Louis Noverraz, Eric Tabarly and Ellen MacArthur. In 2017, French skipper Xavier Revil managed to scoop the prize title. Competition may be steep but for the majority of participants, the Bold d’Or Mirabaud is as much a celebration and a festival as it is a serious sporting event. The Bol d’Or was won several times by the Alinghi team, who later brought back twice the America’s Cup at la Société Nautique de Genève, being the first European Team to win the world’s oldest sport trophy.
The length of the race is 66.5 nautical miles, equivalent to 123 kilometres, and the route runs from Geneva to the Bouveret and back again. The nature of the Lake makes this race particularly challenging. It may look calm but it’s actually prone to plenty of deceptively strong winds and breezes, which can both help and hinder participants..
There are not one but three trophies available to racers. The first, The Bol d’Or Challenge, is given to the first boat across the finish line. In order to keep the Bol d’or Trophy permanently, the winning team has to come in first place at least three times in the space of five years. This was most recently achieved by the team Alinghi in 2001. The Bol de Vermeil Challenge is given to the first monohull vessel to cross the finish line and likewise, the team must achieve this on three occasions in five years to be kept indefinitely . In 2016, this was achieved by the Hungarian team, Implantcentre Raffica. The third and final award is known as the ACVL-SRS Trophy, which is given to the handicapped time winner.
If you’re lucky enough to be in Geneva for the Bol d’Or Mirabaud, it’s worth waking up early to head down to the Société Nautique de Genève, so you can watch the boats depart from 7am from the north jetty. Official departure is at 10am and the best spot to have a look at the battle to be first to cross the line is on the lake shores, at “la Tour Carrée” . Visitors can also watch the race from several viewpoints located along the course in towns such as Montreux, Bellevue and Lavaux. Alternatively, remain at the Société Nautique de Genève and welcome the crews as they cross the finish line.
Experience the thrill of the highly anticipated Bol d’or Mirabaud from the conveniently located and luxuriously appointed Hotel d’Angleterre.