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Posts Tagged ‘France’

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Screen Shot 2015-07-23 at 7.48.28 AMWelcome to the 2015 Tour De France a la Voile, the seminal series barely rescued from an ignominious death last year and entering its final days of action down in Nice.  The new TdF is all about beaches, babes, trimarans, and action rather than sportsyachts, distance racing, and student teams.  Wanna see the balls-deep T-bone this shot comes from?  Click here for the full video of the crash.  For more links and discussion of the all-new event, hit the thread.

 

July 24th, 2015 by admin

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When Sperry told us they wanted to support coverage of events we thought made a difference to the sport of sailing, we instantly thought of the J/70 Worlds.  Sure, there was a 95-boat Melges 24 Worlds two weeks ago in Denmark and a 100-boat SB20 Worlds in Lake Garda last week, but with nearly a thousand boats sold in three years, nothing comes close to the impact on racing made by the new and exploding class from the J0hnstones. And as evidenced by the 16-nation field in the boat’s second-ever Worlds in La Rochelle, the effect is spreading far, and fast.

So we put together a 6-man crew to bring live video of all the racing to you guys, and we didn’t skimp.  The live feed included commentary from SA’s Senior Editor and Adventures of a Sailor Girl’s Nic Douglass, along with daily highlight reels from Petey Crawford, and huge high-quality photo galleries from Sander Van Der Borch.  Why’d we go so big? Because we want to see more of the family-friendly, female-inclusive, youth-engaging vibe this little boat is giving to people all over the world, and the infrastructure J/boats have created to deliver well-built, good-looking, quick-ish little racers that are all damned similar to one another is something we admire.  And we felt privileged to be able to document it all.

Above you’ll find our final movie from last week’s Championship, and we really, really hope you’ll sit through it until the end.  And don’t be drinking coffee near the end.  If you laugh as much as we did, share the link with your friends. For the full interview with new World Champ Julian Fernandez, hit this link.  The full chat with Marty Kullman including the drama with North’s DNE request is in here.  You can grab any one of the dozen-plus interviews and highlight reels in our Vimeo index.

As always, huge thanks to Sperry for their support, and to J/Composites Europe for all their support on the ground and on the water.  More thanks at the end of the video.

 

July 17th, 2015 by admin

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DSC_00461Aussie Mini sailor Katrina Ham says her boat was smashed to bits and she was left to die by an official Mini-Transat rescue boat two years ago during the stormy and poorly-managed 2013 race.  Now that she’s qualified for the 2015 MT, those same organizers have now rejected her entry.  Here’s the story, with thanks to Conrad Colman for the heads up.  Head over to Katrina’s fundraising page to give her a hand, read more about her story over here, and blow up the MT organizers with the link to this story on Facebook until they quit acting like assholes.

Katrina, 27, from Brisbane has been working for years to get to reach her goal: the Mini Transat. Having moved to France 3 years ago, she lives in a van on the submarine base in Lorient and teaches English to survive. But this is not the first time Katrina has come up against hurdles. After finishing all the qualification requirements and getting to the start in 2013, the race was delayed and the fleet was diverted to northern Spain. During an organised delivery to the re-start, Katrina was taken under tow by an official accompanying boat which towed her into dangerous breaking waves. Her boat was let loose after she was rolled by a wave and she was hurtled into the water. Fortunately she was attached to her boat, but the boat that was towing her was nowhere to be seen. Katrina was discovered by chance by the harbour pilot who ended up swimming for his life as well! While Katrina was eventually brought back to shore, her boat was left drifting, to be smashed to pieces.

IMG_1722Proving that she’s not one to give up, Katrina stayed in France, acquired another mini, and set out to get qualified again. Even though she completed all the requirements again, her entry has been rejected because they organizers want her to pay €2000 for the tracker that was apparently damaged when her boat was lost. Katrina has given the tracker back and has no legal obligation to pay for it but without the means to fight given the time restrictions Katrina’s dream is threatened to be crushed again. It is crunch time at the end of the week, when entries close she either coughs up and gets to race (assuming they accept her and she finds the means to get to the start) or she misses out altogether…..not an easy choice given the circumstances.

Please help Katrina so that she can be on the start line. She won’t win the race, but she has demonstrated for years that she has the skills and mental fortitude to overcome all the challenges ahead of her if she has the means. Please lend a hand and help this young adventurer fight back from the unjust position she has found herself in and succeed in realising her dream and sharing this adventure with you.

 

July 17th, 2015 by admin

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Day 3 of the J/70 Worlds saw no more black flags but plenty of hard-charging action, paint-trading, and even a few position changes.  Mexico’s Julian Fernandez needs one good race to lock it up, though Carlo Alberini’s crew says there will be some firework at the start of Race 9 of the championship.  Meanwhile, in a truly bizarre display of poor sportsmanship, one American team filed to have another American team’s black flag turned into a DNE with no benefit to their own scores.  The reason? It was a North sailmaker filing against a Quantum sailmaker – the second US boat in the standings, and they go from 5th to 15th…

Some majorly gorgeous photos from Sander over here, and follow all the live action coming in a few minutes.  You can grab a look at our post-race interviews last night with Helly Hanson’s John Mollicone here, from Jud Smith over here, and from Notaro’s Benedetto Giallongo here.

 

July 11th, 2015 by admin

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With every one of the 6 starts (and several general recalls) firing off under the black flag, a little bit of conservatism is going a long, long way at the J/70 Worlds.   With current WC Tim Healy dropping a BFD, Julian Fernandez is looking strong for the class’s second ever Worlds.  Sander Van Der Borch is making it look simply gorgeous; have a look at the monster jellyfish in this above/below water shot.  And look at the contrast on these spinnakers.  Or maybe you prefer some spray?

Here are the Day 2 Highlights from Penalty Box Productions.

July 10th, 2015 by admin

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The first day of the second-ever J/70 Worlds lit up with gorgeous sun and an unexpected 15 knots from the NW.  But when the chop stacked up with almost two knots of outgoing tide running right over the starting line, it was always going to be a bad day for some people.  We just didn’t know it was going to be bad for the SA live video team!

As anyone in sailing knows, the French do things just a little bit differently.  That’s why their food is so much better than anyone else’s – because they keep it the way they like it, and change is the enemy.  That attitude carries over to everything, and on the race course, that meant doing everything a bit differently than most of us are used to in big fleet sportboating.  While nearly every major sportboat worlds over 50 boats has run a midline boat for years, that’s not the French way, so rather than a tidy start with three different vantage points to call OCS boats, we saw the exact opposite: 5 general recalls for race 2, with two of them under black flag, and an astonishing 19 boats starting off their Worlds with a BFD, including several championship contenders.  To add insult to injury, at least one top US boat only looked on the first chalkboard for their number, and the Race Committee only called the numbers on the radio in French…at a regatta where english-speaking boats outnumber French by 3 to 1.

A late night saw no redress given for any of the 19 BFDs, which changes the nature of the regatta considerably for quite a few, but unsurprisingly, Julian Fernandes (MEX), Tim Healy (USA), and Carlo Albierini (ITA) are mixing it up for the lead after three.

Our live coverage was dotted by French internet issues, but that was nothing compared to our full electrical loss a minute into Race 3; a quick check at the inverters revealed 50 gallons of water sloshing around in the bilge, flowing in via a blow out raw water pump seal.   Our broadcast ended with no power, no stream, and a last-second anchoring practice to keep us off the beach before a two-hour tow-in from the RC.

Fortunately none of that kept Sander Van Der Borch from putting together a gorgeous gallery of the day just like his photo above (and the less gorgeous one on the left).

Watch it all unfold live today (with a bit less drama behind the lens, hopefully) over here, or check back on the front page for the embedded vid.

 

 

July 9th, 2015 by admin

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While SA’s live coverage team was fighting to stay afloat, Petey was doing what he does, and here’s the Day 1 Video Report from the J/70 Worlds.  Enjoy, and stay tuned for another full day of live coverage from LaRo – this time, hopefully without the sinking part.

 

July 8th, 2015 by admin

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charlieThe horror show in Paris has shaken up much of Europe, and thanks to some of our French readers, we’ve got this well-remembered cover from more than 40 years ago to pay tribute to the spirit of the shit-stirring mag and yachting.  It’s the mag’s response to Pen Duick IV’s dismasting during the Whitbread back in January 1974, a backhanded compliment to Eric Tabarly’s massive male genitalia (figuratively, and we’ve heard literally) and ego.

Our thoughts go out to our frères et soeurs in and around Paris effected by this horrible attack; Charlie Hebdo remains typically defiant, though they’ll sell some 50 times their regular circulation for the next issue – featuring cartoons of Mohammed himself.  Nice.

Leading VOR 65 skipper Charles Caudrelier had some comments about the massacre a few days ago; check ‘em.

 

January 12th, 2015 by admin

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Solo Figarists Nick Cherry and Henry Bomby continue with Sailing Anarchy’s 2014 Route Du Rhum coverage, sponsored by Bruce Schwab Energy Systems. Please get in touch with the Vendee veteran to find out how his energy storage, solar power, and charging systems can benefit your cruising or racing boat today, and enjoy Nick and Henry’s latest analysis.  Hit the thread for all the latest news, photos, videos, and analysis.

Big conditions meant a premature end to the huge ‘thank f*** they’re gone’ party for Route Du Rhum shore crew and race staff in St. Malo on Sunday night, just as it has for some 13 official abandonments on the race track.  A further 20-odd boats are in less-dire-but-still-bad shape, headed to port or to find some shelter in order to fix damaged sails, rudders, and bodies.  Obviously the weather has been heinous, with two solid fronts kicking the fleets in the face with gusts reported up to 60 knots and some nasty seas, especially rounding the corner at Brest. The most high-profile casualty has been Thomas Coville, who managed to prang a cargo ship in the night just in front of the TSS off Ushant. With closing speeds between the ship and trimaran of 40 knots, dark skies, and awful visibility, it’s a wonder that more of these guys haven’t hit anything. It’s yet another blow for the Sodeb’o campaign, which adds this failed attempt to something of a pile of them over the past few years.  Coville may be one of the world’s best, but we wonder if he didn’t piss off an old gypsy woman sometime over the past decade…

Perhaps most worrying amongst the early dropouts are two keel losses/failures on the new Sabrosa Mk II Class 40 sisterships of Francois Anglouvant (picked up by a chopper from his capsized hull) and Marc Lepesqueux, who managed to fill ballast, drop sails and sail downwind to Guernsey. I’m no mathematician but the chances of both these guys hitting a submerged object seems pretty low, and we guess their design and build team (which included Anglouvant) is trying to figure out what happened right now, while thanking their lucky stars that no one was killed.

The decision by race director Gilles Chiorri to send the fleet off into this storm is refreshing in the light of so many big races being delayed in recent years. Many skippers – particularly in the handicap Rhum class –  chose to do something we rarely see these days; they waited out the worst of the storm before going yachting.

Ultimate Update

All the fleets have spread out by now, but none more so than the Ultimes, where Loic Peyron is having an absolute blinder aboard BPVII, steadily pulling out a sixty mile lead over Yann Guichard on the Spindrift (who isn’t showing any signs of using his extra nine meters of length to catch up). Watching these guys go off the start was jaw dropping, with Coville looking picture perfect early on and Sydney Gavignet giving the spec fleet some ‘oohs’ and ‘aahs’ flying his center hull as he weaved through the spectator boats.   We caught up with Sidney here; click the link for a video interview where we chatted about ‘Oh, Sheet’ release systems and weather routing.

Bollard cleatGiven that sailing a big multi alone is a full-time job, these guys are aiming not to go downstairs at all during the race. Yann Ellies on Paprec has a staff of three top guys holed up in a house in Brittany running a watch system looking at forecasts and on-board data basically playing a full-on version of the virtual race game. He’s planning to have Skype messenger on 24/7 and regular sat phone calls, leaving him free to ease sheets off one of these bollard/cleat arrangements at any time. Whatever you think of shore-based routers they are here to stay, and this race pits the best weather guys against each other across the Ultime fleet.

Macif Attack

Francois Gabart is, once again, showing why no one has been able to touch him for the past couple of years; 30 miles over Jeremie Beyou in a sistership and 50 over Marc Guillemot aboard Safran. Vincent Riou and Tanguy De Lamotte are all but out of this race with mainsail track issues and rudder damage respectively. These guys are in for a fast crossing with few passing lanes; look for Gabart to continue to push his lead right through the finish line.

Rogue Racing

True to form over the last couple of years, Seb Rogues in GDF Suez is leading the way as the 40s reach down towards Cap Finisterre. There’s been a definite split in this class, with the first fifteen or so boats who made it out of the channel in good shape having put some serious miles on the B fleet of stragglers as they get into better and better breeze.

Fifty First Dates

The prize for most dropouts goes to the Multi 50 fleet, where currently only six out of eleven starters are left in the running, with the three favourites occupying the top spots. On the dock some of these boats looked like they might be better off in a museum than a storm and it seems that maybe Neptune agreed!?

Fast Forward

Looking ahead at the weather, things are starting to calm down for the big trimarans and IMOCA fleet, and with the Azores high still located quite far north, these skippers should be able to sail a fairly direct route for the next few days before the wind drops a little and goes further aft.  Then it’ll be lots of gybing to line up their approach to Guadeloupe.  The slower boats will have to negotiate another (hopefully less violent) front toward the end of the week, which could create some lanes for some of the early losers.  We’ll keep you posted.

-Nick and Henry

UPDATE: DAMAGE REPORT FROM DAYS 1-3

Sunday 2 November
-9h00 : Luc Coquelin (Classe Rhum) hit by dive boat when at anchor, damaged bowsprit.
-13h15 : Jean-Édouard Criquioche (Class40) rig problems, starts at 1900hrs.
-15h00 : Ricardo Diniz (Classe Rhum) diesel problem and other issues. Arrived back in Saint-Malo at 1800hrs left Monday 1700hrs
-19h00 : Charlie Capelle (Classe Rhum) stops in Saint-Quay Portrieux to let worst of weather go, restarts Monday 0800hrs
-19h45 : Jean Galfione (Class40) strikes unlit buoy off Bréhat and damages hull. Arrives Saint-Quay Portrieux at 5h30 Monday, aims to leave 19h Monday
-20h15 : Giancarlo Pedote (Class40) sail problems heads for Roscoff. Arrives at 7h, leaves Monday 11h
-23h00 : Marc Lepesqueux (Class40) loses keel fills ballast heads to Guernsey under engine arrives 10h Monday Abandon.
-23h30 : François Angoulvant (Class40) loses keel, helicoptered off at 00h40 Monday to Brest. Abandon.
-23h35 : Loïc Féquet (Multi50) float damaged, towed by SNSM to l’Aber Wrac’h at 8h Monday. Abandon.
-23h45 : Thomas Coville (Ultime) hits a cargo ship. Damages main bow and starboard float. Arrives Roscoff at 11hrs Monday. Abandon.

Monday 3 November
-0h30 : Bertrand Delesne (Class40) has problems with sails halyards and headsails. Heads to Perros-Guirec then Roscoff. Arrives 9h, depart 13h.
-1h15 : Bob Escoffier (Classe Rhum) sail and rig problems. Heads to Roscoff, arrives 08h Monday. Aims to leave Tues 06h.
-1h45 : Thierry Bouchard (Class40) wrist injury, heads to Saint Malo. Arrives 16h Monday. Abandon.
-4h20 : Brieuc Maisonneuve (Class40) pilot problems, heads to Roscoff arrives 10:45 Monday.
-5h35 : Gilles Buekenhout (Multi50) breaks rudder, towed by SNSM to Roscoff arrives 16h Monday
-6h30 : Nicolas Troussel (Class40) twists ankle, routes to Brest arrives 15h Monday. Abandon.
-7h00 : Hervé de Carlan (Multi50) breaks daggerboard, heads to Saint-Brieuc.
-7h15 : Erik Nigon (Multi50) shreds mainsail, heads to La Rochelle, Abandon.
-8h10 : Pierre-Yves Lautrou (Class40) loses two wind vanes. Heading to Camaret. Arrives 17h Monday.
-8h45 : Alan Roura (Class40) water ingress, other varied problems. Heads to Roscoff, ETA 19h
-9h45 : Tanguy de Lamotte (IMOCA) rudder damage, route towards Brest since 1400hrs.
-10h00 : Vincent Lantin (Class40) various problems, heading to Camaret.
-10h10 : Patrick Morvan (Classe Rhum) various problems heading to Camaret. due 18h30 Monday
-10h15 : Alain Delhumeau (Multi50) dismasted, heading to Brest Abandon.
-10h45 : Julien Mabit (Classe Rhum) pilot and electronics problems heading to l’Aber Wrac’h. Arrives 14h00.
-12h00 : Bertrand de Broc (IMOCA) pilot problem and injured elbow. Heading to Lorient. Abandon.
-14h00 : Arnaud Boissières (Class40) crack on deck and other pbs heading to Les Sables d’Olonne. Abandon.
-15h00 : Philippe Fiston (Class40) technical problems. Arrived Camaret at 17h Monday
-14h00 : Benjamin Hardouin (Classe Rhum) arrived Roscoff to repair leak, plans to restart Tuesday 06h
-16h00 : Conrad Humphreys (Class40) arrives Camaret 16hrs sail problems, batten car damaged
-16h30 : Nils Boyer (Classe Rhum) arrives at Roscoff to replace life-raft
-17h15 : Vincent Riou (IMOCA) damaged mainsail track mounting, heading downwind slowly to repair.

Tuesday 4 November

-Afternoon: Pierre Antonie (Multi 50) lightning strike; holed.  Airlifted to safety.

 

November 4th, 2014 by admin

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cherry pick

Solo Figarists Nick Cherry and Henry Bomby begin our 2014 Route Du Rhum coverage with a great form guide for the fleets.  Follow Nick here, learn more about his Figaro campaign here, and tune in for all the info when the race starts in less than two days.  There’s always the Ocean Racing Anarchy thread for the very latest.  Huge thanks to Bruce Schwab Energy Systems for supporting our coverage of this great race.  Please get in touch with the Vendee veteran to find out how his energy storage, solar power, and charging systems can benefit your cruising or racing boat today.  Photos from Christophe Launay.

Anyone who’s never been to the start of this race needs to go, and it seems like most of France has. The population of St Malo swells from 45,000 to around 2 million over the ten-day period before the race, with massive park-and-ride car parks set up outside of town; getting to and from the boats is an absolute nightmare for the shore crews. There’s something about the simplicity of this 3500-mile solo race across the Atlantic every four years that really captures the nation’s hearts. Walking around town and jostling with thousands of the non-sailing public just to get around is cool and rare in our sport, and seeing just how rock-starrish the 91 skippers are – and how real a return they can offer to their sponsors – offers solo skippers hope of what may be achievable.

Beat Down?
At the moment it looks like the fleet will be starting in post-frontal westerlies, beating out through the chops of the channel before cracking sheets a little and heading across Biscay into quite a lot of pressure. Early indications are that the trades are developed quite a long way north and most of the boats should have a fairly straightforward and fast run to Guadeloupe. Things are still fairly unstable with some models predicting a very fast race and others showing a lot of the boats having a tough time due beating towards Cape Finisterre in some mildly heinous conditions.

Run Down

Ultime Class

Loick Peyron onboard the Maxi Trimaran Solo Banque Populaire VII in preparation for "La Route du Rhum".This is the blue ribbon, main event, ‘real deal’ part of the race. Eight proper rockstars of the French sailing world lining up in, without a doubt, the filthiest boat porn on the planet (hopefully as a precursor to an imminent race around the planet, but more on that in a future installment).

In the last edition in 2010 ‘Petit Franck’ Cammas showed us the light (albeit in fairly straightforward conditions) by going against conventional wisdom that said that the smaller, more manageable tris would probably beat his 105-ft Jules Verne trophy winner Groupama 3 when it came down to a solo race. Pundits say Yann Guichard will have a hard time handling Spindrift (ex-BPV) all by himself, that this time (with 200tm of righting moment compared with 160tm in BPVII and 28 in an IMOCA) it really is too big. He has the fastest boat, that’s for sure; can the Jules Verne Trophy holder be handled by a lone, mortal man, or is the old G3 the maximum?

Sticking my neck out a little bi,  I’m going to put Thomas Coville in the new (to him) Sodebo (the heavily modified ex-Geronimo) as favourite. He will benefit from a lot of up-to-date design work on the floats and foils as well as plenty of time sailing these sorts of boats alone thanks to his 4,5 failed attempts.  Or is it 6???! Watching him go through the start line on his last failed RTW record attempt with all three rudders well clear of the sea shows that he certainly isn’t lacking for balls for this race – almost a sprint in monster-multi terms.

Loick P is the final podium bet, having already done this race 7 times! On top of about 45 transats in total. Seriously.  And he’s a nice chap. Many are sad we didn’t get the incredible story of him racing across in his little yellow boat ‘Happy‘ which would have gone down a storm in France, being the man he is and the name he has there. But he was the only man Banque Pop (the Ex-G3) could go to after Armel hurt his hand (in a freak car washing accident?), the boat is fast, it’s been breaking records throughout 2014 and may be the best optimized for a solo run.

Never to be discounted, in his somewhat conservative (by modern standards), Nigel Irens-designed 105 footer, we have Francis Joyon. Probably the hardest man in sailing and a true solo obsessive. We have been wowed by stories of his solo transatlantic records attempts for years, and by solo we mean no shore team whatsoever, sailing on and off mooring bouys in New York harbour all by himself. (Is this true or just a rumour?!) If this race gets rough and decimates the fleet like the 2002 storms that destroyed piles of ORMA 60s, IDEC and Joyon are the combo I would back to be the last one standing.

Watch out for the race-within-a-race in this fleet between the three somewhat modified MOD 70s. These boats have shown they can be pushed hard with a crew and hopefully the improved emergency sheet release systems mean that Sydney Gavinet’s prediction that he has a 50% chance of capsize won’t come true. The other two MOD-touting skippers Seb Josse and Yann Ellies both have a reputation for pushing hard, and whilst it would take something odd to happen for a MOD to come in first you can be guaranteed a good old battle going on here. Yann has the least time in the boats and the least modified, but he has been smashing the Figaro Circut for the last 3 years, and could pull something impressive out of the bag. As a pair of Figaro sailors ourselves, we would love an underdog victory from Paprec in this one. It would probably be rude not to mention the race record holder from 2006 Lionel Lemonchois in his deeply modified former Orma 60 ‘Prince de Bretagne’. If the four more powerful boats have some sort of major calamity or follow each other into a meteorological black hole then Lionel is our man! He should really beat the MODs, but they’ve shown themselves to punch well above their weight…

The extra dimension is this class compared to the others is that outside weather routing is allowed, which to us, makes sense – you wouldn’t want to be stuck at a computer for any length of time downloading the latest gribs whilst the boat careens down a wave at 35 knots into a full somersault. All the big French names in French Meteorology are on the payrolls here and it will be interesting to see how the different approaches pay off once things kick off on Sunday.

IMOCA 

There are 9 boats in this fleet. Four favourites in order are: Francois Gabart, Vincent Riou, Jeremie Beyou and Marc Guillemot. It would be brave to bet against Vendee Globe golden boy Francois, but rumours from recent training sessions in Port La Foret have Riou’s PLB being right on form with a lot of caginess surrounding modifications to aft ballast arrangements in relation to the new rule; IMOCA is the land of big secrets, and nothing is easy to call in this class as a result! There’s no doubt Jeremie has a good boat in Maitre Coq, sister ship to Macif and he delivered the goods again in the world’s toughest one-design race – the Solitaire du Figaro. Guillemot’s Safran certainly has form in the transatlantic races of recent years and I’m sure he’ll be keen to make a mark in his last race before Morgan Lagraviere takes over the new boat next year.

The most interesting thing here is dock gossip regarding the six new Vendee-bound boats due off the drawing board of VPLP next year under the new rule, and the wide variety of foil solutions they’ve come up with.  DSS, outward-facing J and L foils, canting, raking, in and out and up and down and potentially adding a few more letters to the foiling vocabulary.  As in every new generation of Open 60, these new boats are going to be a big jump faster, and when reaching in big breeze, they could be light years faster.  Hopefully older boats can be retrofitted, and even more hopefully, the new one-design mast spec will be able to handle the added load of a faster, foiling boat. No one wants to let their cat out of the bag too soon in the build up to the all-important Vendee and we will have to wait for this exciting installment a bit longer.

For a potential spoiler, we’d love to see one of the nicest guys in sailing, Tanguy De Lamotte, get some real speed out of his new ‘Initiatives-Coeur’ (ex-Foncia, ex-Mare).  This older boat was heavily modified by Class 40 sailor Joerg Richers before he pulled out of the project, and she’s potentially quite quick.

Class 40s

_MG_0003Loads to choose from here, and special props to youngest competitor in the race Paul Hignard who slept in and missed a big sponsor/press do on Tuesday after rumours of a big night on the sauce/with some chick.  Legend! Otherwise, there’s a load of good boats, good skippers and not a lot of recent bust ups to show form.

Seb Roues is undefeated in his Mach 40 GDF Suez in 2014, although some questions remain regarding his solo skills. A lot of people rate Spaniard Alex Pella highly in his sexy looking Botin designed Tales 2 but there are plenty of boats with a reasonable shot at the top spot. Yannick Bestaven has a very new Verdier boat and a reputation for pushing hard, Halvard Mabire is sailing a new Pogo s3 and has a lot of experience and a good track record. Stepping down from his laughing cow Open 60, Kito de Pavant should be in the mix and whilst he’s had a bit of a break from solo sailing, brit Conrad Humphreys seems to have a good sponsor in Catphones and plenty of motivation.

Our wildcard favourite is Nicholas Troussel in his Humphrey’s designed Credit Mutuel de Bretagne. A real last-minute campaign but this guy has a record of winning two Figaros with well-judged flyers. His boat is quick enough and if there is a good corner to be banged, expect Nico to be right in there, making it work.

Multi 50s

A walk down the Multi 50 dock in St Malo is quite interesting, a history lesson in the development of offshore trimarans over the last thirty years. It would also be interesting as a standalone race but I think we’ll be too busy following the big tri’s and the 40s to get too bogged down here once the race starts. Four top contenders here based on previous form and newness of boat are: Erwan La Roux, Yves Le Blevec, Lalou Roucal and Loic Fequet. Fair play to everyone involved in this class as sailing solo across the Atlantic in a 50ft tri takes some proper balls, and it’s great that there’s 11 of them out there doing it. Interestingly, this class prevents foils, and you can’t argue with their numbers, but would it certainly kick off big time if foil development was allowed? Imagine these lightweight 50 foot tris flying solo across the Atlantic. There is definitely some Frenchman out there crazy enough for it.

The Rhum Class
RdRnicks shots (3)As far as we’re concerned, it’s cool that the race has this class. They might not look as cool as the big tris and the 60s but it does allow retired doctors from La Trinite, bearded blokes with odd looking cruising boats, and the living legend that is Robin Knox-Johnson to add some colour to this French classic. We won’t be watching too closely to see who wins this fleet but expect some nice stories and that. Shame Loick isn’t here with his Happy project, but hopefully he’ll be back in 2018.

The start on Sunday morning is set to be a massive affair with literally thousands of spectator boats predicted, and the major viewing headlands along the Brittany coast rammed with fans. Due to tidal constraints in the St Malo Basin, the boats will be docked out by shore crews under cover of darkness before the sailors rib out after breakfast to race across an ocean. We’ll be standing by to cover the start and offer a bit more insight into goings on as the race unfolds.

 

October 31st, 2014 by admin

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