Spi Ouest 2012 provided all the action the Open 7.50’s could ask for. With 128 J-80’s on the course, another 60 other One designs, all together on a 1sq. mile area, a gennaker that blinds about 50% of your view and speeds in access of 20kn we had more action than we could have wished for. With the 7.50’s originating from La Trinite the class attracts some of the key French offshore multihull sailors as well as the first Uk team, Cool Runnings. On the first day with winds in 25-30kn range we quickly discovered that an Open 7.50 kind of eats its crew and spits it out. After 4 short races on the first day, with plenty of drama, Cool Runnings was leading but not without trouble. On one of the kite drops the articulating pole was released slightly ahead of the gennaker tack line and bowman Jamie Smith, fully set up to do a weather drop, became the first carbon pole propelled human cannonball. He disappeared from the cockpit to the forestay in less than a second…..and perfectly captured above by Thiery Martinez.
For most of the Open 7.50 crews pain killers where high in demand during breakfast the next day. Day 2 and 3 produced lighter breeze and Safran (Marc Guillemot) took the lead from Cool Runnings and Atchoum (Nicolas Groleau) with some amazing high skilled sailing. The last day brought the breeze back again and with Safran in comfortable lead it was between Atchoum and Cool Runnings to battle for 2nd and 3rd on the final race day. Nicolas showed his skills as a sailor and builder of the boats and managed to keep Cool Runnings at bay. Spi Ouest provides excellent racing and I cannot praise our race officer on our course enough. With back to back racing and many many starts it was absolutely flawless race management I’ve seldom seen. The Open 7.50 seem to have a revival. The boats are extremely well build and exceptional fun for the money. With over 28 build by Nicolas originally there are plenty for sale and the ultimate way to get into adrenaline fuelled sailing for a modest budget. Check the video of these things hauling ass. – Anarchist Jochem.