Saturday 24 May 2014

TP 52 Super Series : Will the underdogs have their day?

TP52s in Capri. Image copyright Nico Martinez/Barclays 52 Super Series

by 52 Super Series media

There was no further racing today for the BARCLAYS 52 SUPER SERIES fleet in Capri due to the lack of a settled, suitable breeze. But on the strength of a promising outlook for Saturday, the scheduled final day, the race officers have moved the start time forward by one hour (to 1100hrs local warning) and will attempt to squeeze in as many windward-leeward contests as possible.

The fleet of nine boats were held ashore at Capri’s Marina Grande before they were brought out to the race area around 1330hrs. The conflicting winds battled for supremacy and although there were some promising periods, the boats were sent back to the dock. One more attempt was made but ultimately all efforts were thwarted by the fickle, changeable light winds.

The finale set for Saturday sees Vesper and Azzurra locked on the same points tally, only one point ahead of Quantum Racing. The American team of Jim Swartz are relishing their role as the perceived underdogs, ready to take on the past 52 SUPER SERIES and MedCup champion crews. While both Azzurra and Quantum Racing have a history stretching back more than five seasons, this is Vesper’s first ever event in Europe.

Vesper’s tactician Gavin Brady promises they will give it their best tomorrow, with nothing to lose:
“On paper we are probably the underdogs to the teams around us. I think we go out tomorrow and swing for the fence. We will enjoy the position as underdogs. It’s our first event in Europe and we have the oldest boat here. We are very, very pleased to be in the position we are in. We will just go out there and have a good crack at it.” “You have to be ready for days like this and just deal with them, and not get frustrated. You have always to be ready to race. The big thing is to keep the crew focused, to not start thinking we wont race or thinking we should be going back to the dock. You have to be in race mode all day. That is quite hard, always thinking ‘if we race now were would you go?’. Tomorrow will be a real test for the teams. On team Vesper we have nothing to lose. The only pressure we have tomorrow will be what we put on ourselves.”

Standings after four races going into final day

1= Vesper, USA, (Jim Swartz USA) (5,2,1,6) 14pts
1= Azzurra, ITA, (Alberto Roemmers ARG) (3,3,7,1) 14pts
3. Quantum Racing, USA, (Doug De Vos USA) (4,1,6,4) 15pts
4. Rán Racing, SWE, (Niklas Zennström SWE) (2,8,2,5) 17pts
5. Phoenix, BRA, (Eduardo de Souza Ramos BRA) (1,7,3,8) 19pts
6. Provezza 7, TUR, (Ergin Imre TUR) (6,4,8,2) 20pts
7. Gladiator, GBR, (Tony Langley GBR) (9,6,5,3) 23pts
8. Paprec, FRA, (Jean Luc Petithugenin FRA) (7,5,9,7) 28pts
9. B2, ITA, (Michele Galli ITA) (8,9,4,9) 30pts

Barclays 52 Super Series

Delta Lloyd Regatta : Fourth day suffers schedule disruption before Fletcher and Sign take 49er gold

49er class winners in action. Image copyright Sander van der Borch/Delta Lloyd Regatta

by Delta Lloyd Regatta media

On the fourth and penultimate day at the Delta Lloyd Regatta the schedules took a battering with very light wind and passing rain clouds causing all starts to be postponed from around 11.00 onwards. Only the 49ers, Skud and Sonar classes got in a single race in the morning before all fleets were sent ashore to wait until the wind returned. Postponement followed postponement, with eventually the 49ers called off for the day so they could prepare for their medal race at 18.00. The Nacras were sent out early afternoon, and then the Lasers for a second time, but to no avail and these classes were later abandoned for the day, as well as the two 470 classes, the Kites and the Moths.

As the evening approached, finally the skies cleared and a stable wind was recorded on the course areas and the Finn, the RS:X and the Paralympic classes were sent out for starts at 18.00. Against all the odd the wind increased to 9-10 knots by start time and was near perfect for racing, albeit late in the day.

Apart from the 49er, all the other Olympic classes had no racing and the results from Thursday stood to decide who went into the medal race.

Dylan Fletcher and Alain Sign (GBR) made sure of the 49er gold medal, while Pieter-Jan Postma (NED) won the Finn race to take the lead for the first time this week. Megan Pascoe (GBR) won her third race in a row in the 2.4 mR to build a sizeable lead, Alexandra Rickham and Niki Burrell (GBR) continue the lead in the Skud, as do Bruno Jourdren, Eric Flageul and Nicolas Vimont-Vicary (FRA) in the Sonar.

49er medal ceremony. Image copyright Milan Rijnders/Delta Lloyd Regatta

The RS:X fleets managed two races, with Pawel Tarnowski (POL) tied at the top of the men's with Louis Giard (FRA), and Zofia Klepacka (POL) extending her lead in the women's fleet.

The Delta Lloyd Regatta closes on Saturday with the rest of the medal races for the Olympic classes, the final races for the Paralympic classes, the Kites and the Moths.


With only one race possible before the wind died, it proved a crucial race with Mads Stephenson Lübeck and Christian Stephenson Lübeck (DEN) leading round for the race win to take a last minute place in the medal race. A second for Dylan Fletcher and Alain Sign (GBR) moved them into the overall lead. After being send ashore when the wind died, further racing was cancelled for the day.

The 49er medal races took the form of three short theatre style races just off the harbour mouth. A second for Fletcher and Sign in the first race extended their lead to 11 points, while John Pink and Stuart Bithell (GBR) moved up to second. A win for Jonas Warrer and Peter Lang (DEN) moved them into fourth.

Pink and Bithell led the second race with Fletcher and Sign at the back round the first mark. Warrer and Lang rounded second. Pink and Bithell extended away for a big win, with Warrer and Lang crossing in second and Fredericio Alsono and Arturo Alonso (ESP) in third.

With third placed Pavle Kostov and Peter Cupac (CRO) back in ninth it meant the gold was heading to Great Britain. Warrer and Lang could still steal bronze with another good race. The Croatian team finally had a good first beat in the third race to round ahead of the other front runners. Erik Heil and Thomas Ploessel (GER) ran away with the race win, with Deigo Botin and Pablo Turrado (ESP) in second, while Kostov and Cupac crossed in third to save the bronze.

Both the British sailors were near the back, but had done enough. Fletcher and Sign took gold while Pink and Bithell took the silver. Fletcher said, “We're pretty chuffed. We came here with a lot of goals that we're doing in the background but to come away with the win is really good. It was an intense day today. It's our first ever win here.”

On managing the short races. “I think the hardest thing is that it was really patchy. We were never able to pick which side of the beat was going to pay on the tactical side pre-start. It was more about getting off the line and getting in the first cross on the pack. But we actually never managed that. We were always fighting in the middle of the pack.”

“Generally the theatre style is one of our strengths. But the Polish crashed into us on the first start, and in the last race, and did turns, but we lost places in the process. But that is the nature of the racing. Everyone's really hyped up.”

Pink said of his day, “We weren't expecting such a nice breeze. We attacked the races and we've been working on the medal races a bit. We got some good starts, which was all important in that stuff. We were away and gone in both the first two races, but in the first we had a tack in at the windward mark that we didn't quite make. We had to do spins. But we are happy to medal here. It's the first medal for us as a team. It's been a good week.”

Nacra 17

The Nacra fleet was sent out only to wait in the water with no races completed. Saturday's medal race looks like turning into a three way battle between Billy Besson and Marie Riou (FRA), Franck Cammas and Sophie de Turckheim (FRA) and Darren Bundocck and Nina Curtis (AUS). The two French teams are all but guaranteed a medal, while Ben Saxton and Hannah Diamond have an outside chance of claiming bronze but are 15 points adrift of the Australians and need a lot of other things to fall into place to make that possible.

Riou said, “We are in first position for the medal race but the other French boat is three points behind us and the Australians are 10 points behind us, so tomorrow maybe there will be a little bit of a match race to control them and we will do the best we can and we hope it will be good.”

Cammas said, “Today there was no wind. We started one race but it was cancelled. It's a pity, but I think these conditions were a bit tough so it was impossible to do a race. Tomorrow I think there will be a match race with three boats for the podium. I think it will be a good fight, which is nice.”

470 Women

With no racing possible for the women's 470 fleet, Michelle Broekhuizen and Marieke Jongens (NED) will go into the medal race with an eight point lead from Afrodite Kyranakou and Anneloes van Veen (NED), who are just three points ahead of Linda Fahrni and Maja Siegenthaler (SUI). The points are so close in this fleet that anyone in the top 10 can win a medal with the tenth place boat only 15 points adrift of bronze.

470 Men

The picture is similar in the men's 470 fleet with only six points separating the top six boats and any boat up to ninth theoretically capable of winning a medal. Onan Barreiros Rodriguez and Juan Curbelo Cabrera (ESP) have a five pint lead over Luke Patience and Elliot Willis (GBR) who are on equal points with Giulio Desiderato and Andrea Trani (ITA). There is everything still to play for in the medal race.

RS:X Men

Pawel Tarnowski (POL) had the best day to take the overall lead back. “I got a first and a second so really happy with that. It will be really close in the top five now, so I think these races will be important when it comes to the medal race. I have good hope for tomorrow. I will get some sleep and do my best.”

“In the middle of the day everybody got really tired. We thought there would be nothing more. In the morning we only had one abandoned race. Luckily we had some breeze late in the evening, the wind was the best we had all day, up to 10 knots and the races were very hard for us, real endurance sailing. I am quite heavy at 80 kg, which is heavy for the fleet so when I want to win in those conditions I really have to work hard.”

Louis Giard (FRA), is on equal points with the Pole. “It was really close. It was a long day waiting since 9.00 this morning but finally we had some conditions to race. We did two races and I got a third and a fifth, so I think there will be some fight in the medal race tomorrow.”

Prrzemyslaw Miarcynski (POL) is back into third, but the next three boards are within seven points, so the medal race should be quite exciting for them.

RS:X Women

Zofia Klepacka (POL) picked up a 2, 1 to extend her lead to 10 points. Malgorzata Bialecka (POL) moves up to second, while Kamila Smektala (POL), who won the first race is in third, but on equal points with Lilian de Geus (NED). The points are not quiet as close as the men's fleet but there are two more sailors within reach of the lower medals.


The Finns got just one race in with Pieter-Jan Postma (NED) taking the lead for the first time this week after winning his third race. He overtakes Phillipe Kasueske (GER) who crossed in second, while Jake Lilley (AUS) placed third and sits six points behind the German going into the medal race.

Lasers waiting to race. Image copyright Giulain Grenier/Delta Lloyd Regatta


The Laser fleet were sent out twice and both times, came in with no racing held. Nicholas Heiner (NED) holds a seven point lead over Sam Meech (NZL), while Andy Malony (NZL) remains in third, though on equal points with Matthew Wearn (AUS) and Thomas Saunders (NZL). Ironically, Heiner is being coached by a Kiwi, Dan Slater (NZL).

Slater said of Heiner's approach to the medal race, “There are eight points in it, and then there's a big gap after that, so all the stars have to align for the other guys to beat Nick. So he really just has to stay in front of Sam and make sure he doesn't sail himself out of the race. He still has to get a good clean start and be the right side of the course and if he gets a chance to beat Sam that's great, but he's still eight points behind, so that's four places he has to beat him by. He just has to stay with Sam, that's all.”

Meech said, “Today was pretty ridiculously long. We were down here at 9.00 and it looked quite promising when we first went out. But it died off pretty quickly, so we waited around on shore for a couple of hours and went out and tried again, but the wind shut down as soon as we got out there. And then we sheltered under the sails when the rain came. It was all right, just a long day.”

On tomorrow, “I'll have to have a look at the points. I don't really look at the points during the regatta, it normally changes a lot on the last day. I think there's a bit of a gap to Nick and quite close behind me so we see how it goes.”

Laser Radial

The Laser Radials had a similar day, but again no racing. However the points are much closer going into Saturday's medal race. Marit Bouwmeester (NED) leads Alicia Cebrian Martinez de Lagos (ESP) by four points and Evi van Acker (BEL) by just seven. Another five boats can win a medal.


Last year's bronze medalists here, John Robertson, Hannah Stodel and Steve Thomas (GBR) took their first race win of the week to move into third overall, while Bruno Jourdren, Eric Flageul and Nicolas Vimont-Vicary (FRA) still lead from Colin Harrison, Jon Harris and Russell Boaden (AUS).

When they returned to the water at 18.00, Bruno Jourdren, Eric Flageul and Nicolas Vimont-Vicary (FRA) took the race win to lead by seven points, while John Robertson, Hannah Stodel and Steve Thomas (GBR) ended their best day this week with a second to move up to second overall. Colin Harrison, Jon Harris and Russell Boaden (AUS) drop to third.

Skud 18

The Skuds got in one race before the the wind disappeared. Alexandra Rickham and Niki Burrell (GBR) took control of the race with a fourth win while Thursday's top crew of Marco Gualandris and Marta Zanetti (ITA) could only finish third. Second place went to Sergi Roig Alzamora and Violeta del Reino (ESP). The second race of the day at 18.00 was won by Vera Voorbach and Jan Rein van Essenveld (NED), though the overall lead remained unchanged.

2.4 mR

Megan Pascoe (GBR) won her fifth race out of seven and is starting to run away with the lead. Matt Bugg (AUS) placed second to move up to second while a tenth for Helena Luca (GBR) dropped her to third.

Demonstration events

There was no racing was held for either the Kites of the Moths as they were cancelled earlier in the day

Racing at the Delta Lloyd Regatta concludes Saturday with the final fleet races and the medal races for the top 10 in each class. The first fleet races start from 9.30, while the medal races start with the RS:X men at 11.00.

Full results for each class can be found at:

Le Havre Allmer Cup : Video overview

Le Havre Allmer Cup

Le Havre Allmer Cup : Les Skippers Macif sur la 2e journée

Le Havre Allmer Cup 2014. Image copyright Alexis Courcoux

Respectivement 5e et 11e de la seule manche courue hier sur la Le Havre Allmer Cup, Fabien Delahaye et Yoann Richomme ont quitté les pontons du Havre ce matin à l'assaut de la 2e journée. Au programme, beaucoup d'envie malgré un vent mollissant, de la pluie et du courant !

Yoann Richomme, Skipper Macif 2014 :
« Hier, je suis bien parti sur les deux départs, ce qui est assez concluant. Aujourd’hui, on part avec un vent de sud de15 nœuds mollissant, avec beaucoup de bascules prévues, ce qui impliquera beaucoup de tactique. Les manches sont également lancées dans une zone où les courants se séparent. Une veine part vers le Havre et l’autre monte vers Etretat, c’est donc toujours délicat de savoir où on en est et quel courant on a exactement. Ça devrait jouer ! On devrait partir sur 2 ou 3 parcours aujourd’hui. »

Fabien Delahaye, Skipper Macif 2012 :
« On a une bonne journée de régate qui nous attend, avec du vent pour commencer. On va voir ce que l’on arrive à faire. On imagine que le comité va nous envoyer sur une banane pour commencer puis un parcours côtier. En revanche, ce n’est pas l’été ! Il ne fait pas chaud et on risque d’être mouillé… mais en solitaire sur ces courses là on a vite chaud ! »

Macif Course au Large

El "Bribon Movistar", líder del Trofeo Conde Godó-Merchbanc

El "Bribon Movistar", durante la primera jornada del Trofeo Conde Godó-Merchbanc. Image copyright María Muiña/41 Trofeo Conde Godó-Merchbanc

Los regatistas Movistar se colocan líderes tras subirse al podio de las dos mangas disputadas hoy

da Helena Paz

El J80 “Bribon Movistar” ha comenzado con buen pie su andadura el Trofeo Conde Godó Merchbanc y, tras subirse al podio de las pruebas disputadas hoy, la tripulación liderada por Marc de Antonio y Sofía Bertrand se cuelga el oro provisional de la clase J80.

El viento no ha fallado en aguas de Barcelona. Con más de 20 nudos del Sur el Comité de Regatas dio el pistoletazo de salida a las dos pruebas del día en las que el “Bribon Movistar” mostró todo su potencial.

Hacia las 16:30 horas la imponente flota de J80 escuchaba el bocinazo de salida de la prueba inaugural del Trofeo Conde Godó – Merchbanc. Por delante, un recorrido barlovento-sotavento el “Bribon Movistar” se llevaba de calle. El “Deltastone” de Carlos Martínez y el “Great Sailing” de José María van der Ploeg cruzaban la línea tras los regatistas Movistar. “No hay mejor manera de empezar una regata” comentaba Marc de Antonio, quien a continuación explicaba cómo se había desarrollado esta prueba inaugural: “Hemos estado siempre en el grupo de cabeza y en la última popa hemos navegado bien y finalmente entramos primeros”.

El Comité de Regatas aprovechó las buenas condiciones en aguas del Mediterráneo para dar el bocinazo de salida a la segunda y última prueba del día en la que el “Bribon Movistar” volvió a pelear entre los mejores de la prestigiosa cita catalana. “El viento había bajado un poquito y la verdad es que fue una regata muy igualada, con los cuatro primeros intercambiando posiciones. Al final hemos entrado segundos, pero los tres primeros entramos muy pegados” afirmaba De Antonio. En esta ocasión Hugo Rocha se hacía con su primera victoria parcial.

Con dos podios en su casillero, el “Bribon Movistar” se coloca líder del Trofeo Conde Godó-Merchbanc. Tras él, y empatados a cinco puntos, el “New Territories” de Hugo Rocha y el “Deltastone” de Carlos Martínez.

Mañana sábado la flota de J80 disputará una nueva jornada de competición del Trofeo Conde Godó-Merchbanc. La flota podría escuchar el bocinazo de salida a un total de cuatro mangas por lo que, tal y como señalaba Sofía Bertrand: “La de mañana será una jornada clave y, además, será un día complicado meteorológicamente hablando”. La cita, a partir de las 12:00 horas.

Clasificación general provisional

2. New Territories (Hugo Rocha), 4+1=5
3. Deltastone (Carlos Martínez), 2+3=5
4. Great Sailing (José María van der Ploeg), 3+4=7
5. HM Hotels (Javier Chacartegui), 5+7=12
... hasta 18 clasificados

Gazprom Swan 60 : Russian Youth Team Confirmed

The Gazprom Youth Sailing Team will compete as the Russian Youth Sailing Team during 2014. Image copyright Andrey Sheremetyev 2014

by Cailah Leask

The Gazprom Youth Sailing Challenge has announced final selections for the Russian Youth Sailing Team which will be competing on the 2014 Gazprom Swan 60 Class Circuit. Launched in 2013 by Saint Petersburg Yacht Club Russia, the Gazprom Youth Sailing Challenge is a unique programme which works to support young talented sailors from Russia reach an international level in sport. The Swan 60 youths now face their first test as a team with the start of the Nord Stream Race on the 30th May.

Over seventy applicants applied and thirty were selected to take part in selection trials at Saint Petersburg during April and May of this year. As well as daily boat handling afloat the candidates had to pass a series of psychological suitability and English tests to qualify for the official Russian Youth Sailing Team.

This is the first initiative of its kind to be developed in Russia, providing youngsters with the ability to live their global yacht racing dreams. Mentor and skipper for the 18-30 year olds afloat will be Sergey Borodinov (RUS) who has competed in the Whitbread Round the World Race, Olympic Games and is also a World Cup Champion. “All of the candidates have shown a high level of training and motivation which made our final selection difficult, I am confident that the sailors whom we have invited deserve to be part of the Russian Youth Sailing Team and I look forward to racing with them”. As well as fresh faces to the racing world, Sergey will have the support of Vitaly Rozhkov (RUS) and Alexander Bozhko (RUS) both currently racing on the highly competitive RC44 circuit as Gazprom Youth Sailing Challenge.

Gazprom Youth Sailing Challenge is a long term initiative likened to the success of the Artemis Offshore Academy and British Keelboat Academy. The sporting talent discovered during this selection process will be developed carefully. After their initial season of Swan 60 yacht racing the youths will be guided by Saint Petersburg Yacht Club in order that they all achieve their sporting ambitions as part of one of the yacht club’s professional teams.

After a start on the home waters of the Baltic the team will head to the Mediterranean in order to compete in the Gazprom Swan 60 World Championship and other events.

The team’s success can be tracked at

IMOCA New York - Barcelona : New York Here We Come!

Prologue Race from Newport to New York. Image copyright Ocean Masters.

by Leslie Greenhalgh

After a great stop-over in Newport, where the teams have been able to carry out all the final preparations after their transatlantic crossings from Europe, the competitors of the IMOCA Ocean Masters New York to Barcelona race head for New York tomorrow at around 1500 hrs local time, for a prologue that could face some tricky weather conditions.

« The fleet will start in front of the Fort Adam coastal fortification, with a short course around the Bay of Newport and around two race marks before they leave Long Island to starboard and head directly for New York to reach the finish line just in front of North Cove Marina, in Downtown Manhattan. » explains Jacques Caraes this morning, the Race Director together with Guillaume Evrard.  The boats will remain in this marina on display until the start of the transatlantic race on 1st June.

The course of 155 miles will be raced in a wind that looks like it will drop fairly quickly after the start, possibly to the point of disappearing altogether in the heart of the night.

"I think the beginning of the Prologue Race will be the most interesting part, since the competitors should be able to get out of Newport with a favorable current and a decent breeze but that will disappear during the night ….which means it could take them some time to reach the Verrezzano Bridge, " explaines Jacques Caraës.

Neutrogena awaiting the off. Image copyright Christophe Favreau/OSM

Under the suspension bridge which links the boroughs of Brooklyn with Staten Island, the IMOCA 60s are expected by late morning to finish their course as they parade through the heart of New York. A vision that puts a smile on the face of Spaniard Guillermo Altadill , co- skipper of Neutrogena together with  Chilean Jose Munoz .

"Entering New York by boat is always a great emotion. I have arrived here onboard of all kinds of racing boats . It is a city with a long maritime history, a strong story that runs from the very first
explorations by sea through to race record attempts  and the arrivals and departures of big races ... and the Statue of Liberty that greets skippers as they pass it is a beautiful symbol ! " .

For Morgan Lagravière, (whose 27th birthday is today!) and who happily just completed his first transatlantic  when delivering Safran from Lorient to Newport, the prologue promises to be another opportunity to review in more detail the operation of an IMOCA 60 but also to continue to have fun before the start of the IMOCA Ocean Masters New York to Barcelona Race.

"I view this as a nice prologue race from the human perspective first because we are going to be quite a few people on board , including my big brother who have comehere specially from Canada where he lives ... but that will not prevent us from trying go faster than the others! And then we have the chance to enjoy again the beautiful environment that surrounds us. I was very taken by Newport ... but I'm also looking forward to enter New York  City by sea."

Spirit of Hungary. Image copyright Spirit of Hungary

Hugo Boss, which is still waiting for a delivery from Sri Lanka, that is currently stuck in Abu Dhabi, is due to re-step their mast late afternoon tomorrow, and then hopes to test sail the next day and then rush to New York for the start of the big race on 1st June.

Hungarians Nandor Fa and Marcell Goszleth (Spirit of Hungary) are continuing their voyage across the Atlantic and making good progress and they are expected in New York on May 29th.

La Solitaire du Figaro : Gwénolé Gahinet on Safran-Guy Cotten has no fear

Safran Figaro. Image copyright Jean Marie Liot/DPPI

par Soazig Guého

On June 8, Gwénolé Gahinet will start his first Solitaire du Figaro - Eric Bompard Cachemire at the helm of Safran-Guy Cotten. By winning the two-handed Transat AG2R La Mondiale, the young sailor made ​​a grand entrance onto the Figaro Bénéteau circuit and is ready and looking forward to competing in this legendary race that his father, Gilles Gahinet, won twice in 1977 and 1980. Currently in Le Havre for the Le Havre Allmer Cup, the first round of the Championship of France Elite for solo offshore sailing, Gahinet has an appointment in 16 days for the starting gun in Deauville.

Le Havre Allmer Cup, the perfect warm-up

Twenty days without sailing is something that the skipper of Safran - Guy Cotten has not experienced since the beginning of the year. With the victory in the Transat AG2R La Mondiale under his belt, Gahinet is now planning his campaign for La Solitaire du Figaro - Eric Bompard Cachemire, the flagship race of the season. A week before the start of the festivities in Deauville, he is competing from May 23 to 28 in Le Havre Allmer Cup, an event combining ‘banana-shaped’ windward-leeward courses and 50-mile coastal courses. "It is important to get my competition head back on for racing in a much bigger fleet than on the Transat AG2R,” Gahinet said. “With 22 boats and six days of racing, I can go over the phases at the start, refresh the reflexes needed for solo sailing and especially refine the strategy for fleet racing. It also allows me to properly organise my preparation onshore, meet demanding schedules and establish a bit more discipline. From all sides, it is a good workout for La Solitaire.”

La Solitaire du Figaro, the excitement of the unknown

With 40 of the best Figaristes of the moment on the startline, La Solitaire du Figaro has been the flagship event of the circuit for 44 years. It is a coming of age that Gahinet is eagerly awaiting. "I have been thinking about La Solitaire for a long time, but just being there has never been the whole dream, it is not an end in itself,” Gahinet said. “As a sailor, I'm keen to start this adventure. Confronting myself and maybe pushing my limits are exciting prospects." Confident after three weeks of racing in the Transat AG2R La Mondiale, the skipper of Safran - Guy Cotten, knows that despite all that, the really hard work is to come. "With fine-tuning and steering the boat, I’ve improved, but I still have many things to discover,” Gahinet said. “I haven’t set myself a specific finishing place, I just want to continue to do things as well on the transat. That was fairly successful us. I am coming with no fear, I just want to do my best."

The most difficult solo race?

That is what has become customary for some sailors to say, even those who have participated in the Vendée Globe. Starting from Deauville on June 8, and heading 2014 nautical miles via Plymouth in England, Roscoff, Les Sables d'Olonne to the finish in Cherbourg-Octeville, La Solitaire is a always a unique racecourse which is a test of endurance and tactics. "I really like the format,” Gahinet said. “Having so many competitors levels the playing field and it promises to be a good fight on the water.” For a month, on legs of two to three nights, sleep management at sea is often the biggest unknown for rookies. It is a parameter that the skipper of Safran - Guy Cotten, who is savouring every hour spent on a project he loves,is not particularly worried about. "My experience in the Mini 6.50 will help me because a leg of La Solitaire is similar in many respects to the races in the Mini. I’m not worried about it even though you have to keep up the pace for a month. What is more uncertain for me is navigating the rocky areas and getting the sequences in manoeuvres right, but I'll learn.”

After six days of racing on Le Havre Allmer Cup, Gahinet and the other competitors will leave Le Havre in a parade on May 29 and head to Deauville, the starting town for the 45th edition of La Solitaire. From May 31, all the boats will enter Seine Bay for the Prologue Eric Bompard Cachemire. Then there will be a week for Gahinet and his team to make the final preparations: victualling, measuring and weather routing.

Join us on Sunday, June 8 at 13h for the start of the first leg, Deauville - Plymouth (England).

Safran Sailing
La Solitaire du Figaro

Normandy Channel Race : Thomas Ruyant au départ

Thomas Ruyant. Image copyright Laurent Videl/

par Tanguy Blondel

Le navigateur dunkerquois prendra le départ, dimanche, de la Normandy Channel Race, course hauturière de 1000 milles de Caen à Caen en passant par les îles Sain-Marcouf, l’île de Wight, Tuskar Rock, le Fastnet et Guernesey. Thomas Ruyant épaulera Pierre-Yves Lautrou, skipper du nouveau Class 40 L’Express – Trepia.

Thomas connaît bien la Normandy Channel Race. Il a remporté la première édition avec Tanguy Leglatin en 2010. Cette année, un plateau de grande qualité est au rendez-vous avec de nombreux tandems capables de couper la ligne d’arrivée en tête comme Mabire / Merron, Rogues / Delahaye, Bestaven / Brasseur. « C’est vrai que la concurrence sera élevée » indique Thomas en pleine préparation du nouveau Class 40 Pogo S3.

« Il y a de nombreux prétendants à la victoire finale. Les conditions météorologiques risquent d’être molles. Nous n’attendons pas trop de vent pour les premières 24 heures. Les nouveaux Class 40 n’auront pas l’avantage. Il y aura des surprises aux premiers pointages. Je suis très heureux de revenir sur la Normandy Channel Race qui est une course que j’aime car son parcours est particulièrement exigeant avec de multiples passages difficiles dans le courant normand (Barfleur), britannique (les needles) ou encore lors des contournements de Wolf Rock en Irlande ou du fastnet. C’est aussi une satisfaction d’avoir reçu l’invitation de Pierre-Yves Lautrou. Il m’offre l’opportunité de naviguer à bord de son voilier flambant neuf. Techniquement, c’est intéressant et puis avec Pierre-Yves, nous formons un bon duo à terre et en mer. Nous avons les moyens d’être aux avant-postes. »

Thomas Ruyant est toujours à la recherche de partenaires afin de prendre le départ de la prochaine Route du Rhum, course qu’il a remportée en 2010 en Class 40. Il rêve également toujours de s’aligner au départ du Vendée Globe 2016.

Toute l’actualité du navigateur dunkerquois :

La Normandy Channel Race :

Alpari World Match Racing Tour : Alpari boost gives Swinton tour podium potential

Keith Swinton. Image copyright Brian Carlin/AWMRT

by Alpari World Match Racing Tour media

Australian match racer Keith Swinton has been knocking on the door of greatness since he first joined the Alpari World Match Racing Tour in 2012. With a new sponsorship from FX broker Alpari, we catch up with Keith to see if the new funding will give the Aussie team the extra momentum to challenge for the world title this year.

Keith Swinton and crew are the new Team Alpari FX. Following the move by last years Alpari FX skipper Adam Minoprio to the Italian America’s Cup Challenger Luna Rossa (Minoprio could well make an appearance in Francesco Bruni’s Luna Rossa crew on the Tour this year), 28-year-old Swinton from Perth has now taken over as the jockey for title sponsor Alpari.

After finishing 4th and 6th in the previous two seasons of the World Tour, Swinton hopes the extra support from Alpari will give him the momentum to make it on to the podium by the end of 2014.

Team Alpari FX with Skipper Keith Swinton (centre). Image copyright Christopher Lee/Getty Images

“In previous years we've been operating on a limited budget, but this season we are really fortunate to have Alpari’s backing,” says Swinton. “That's going to be a fantastic help for us to do some extra sailing, and also to have the funding to do the campaign properly. Getting Alpari’s support gives us the opportunity to do more events as a team, and not just the World Championship events. For example, we competed at the 50th Congressional Cup last month, which went quite well for us. We are also aiming to do some more training days before events, something we didn't do at all last year. We were simply turning up at events with little training. The extra time as a team is what will make the difference for us on the race course this season.”

With only two weeks away to the Alpari World Match Racing Tour season opener Match Race Germany, Swinton is marking Sweden and Chicago as his favourite venues on the Tour.

“We've done well in Chicago; the first year we went it was a Grade 1 event and we won. We finished 2nd place at a Grade 2 event there, and then finished second last year in a very close final with Taylor Canfield. We enjoy sailing in Chicago, we enjoy the boats and the conditions seem to suit us”

Keith Swinton going against Phil Robertson at the Semi Finals of Stena Match Cup Sweden 2013. Image copyright Brian Carlin/AWMRT

Swinton currently lives with his Swedish girlfriend just down the road from Marstrand, 50kms northwest of Gothenburg. Marstrand is the venue of the renowned Stena Match Cup Sweden, a flagship event of the World Tour and where nearly all of the world’s top match racers have competed including Russell Coutts, Peter Gilmour, Ed Baird, Dean Barker, Magnus Holmberg to name a few.

“Stena Match Cup Sweden is our favourite event” continues Swinton. "We knocked out Ian Williams last year in the quarter-finals. We've had a bit of time sailing those boats and we’ve got a good understanding of Marstrand and the conditions. Then, obviously I’m spending a fair bit of time in the country, so I've got lots of friends there that are supporting us for the event which is a great help.”

Swinton is most comfortable racing in the smaller, lighter boats, but knows the key to success is being able to adapt to any kind of boat, one of the unique challenges of the Alpari World Match Racing Tour. “We are slowly building confidence in the heavier boats, and we did well in the Catalina 37’s at the Congressional Cup for example, having never sailed the boats before against a lot of guys who have done more time in the boats. So we are certainly improving all the time. It has been a weakness, but we've been working on it hard, so hopefully it's going to become a more of a strength this year."

The other key to success on the Tour is a consistent team. Although he’s sad not to be able to secure the services of former crew man Kyle Langford, wing trimmer on board the Team Oracle USA AC72 in last year’s America’s Cup, Swinton is very happy with his new signing. “At the beginning of the year we were hoping Kyle would join us for some of the events, but we have signed on a new tactician, Ben Lamb, who will be with us all season.

It’s something that was really important for us was consistency. We had a few options for tacticians; our other tactician, Olaf Lundgren, who sailed with us previously, was available for some events, but we wanted just to have the same team at every event. And someone who could commit to do extra training as well, that's something that we made a high priority and unfortunately Kyle has commitments with the America's Cup, so it was difficult for him to commit. We are going with a fresh face, which is exciting. It doesn't hurt bringing someone new into the team, but importantly will be good to have the same crew for the whole year.”

Swinton won his first Tour event at the 2012 St Moritz Match Race. Image copyright Andy Carter/AWMRT

As for the 2014 competition, Swinton has his own thoughts : “I think Taylor Canfield is going to be the guy to beat again; there aren’t too many chinks in his armour. But you can’t underestimate Ian Williams either, he has a proven track record and will be up there this year chasing his fifth title. In between those two, it's going to be pretty tough, because there's plenty of other talent. Last year was tough enough but this year is going to be tougher.”

The 2014 championship gets underway at Match Race Germany on 5 June. The Alpari World Match Racing Tour is one of five special events sanctioned under the International Sailing Federation (ISAF) including America's Cup, the Volvo Ocean Race, the Extreme Sailing Series and the PWA World Tour.

2014 Alpari World Match Racing Tour Calendar
Stage 1: 5-9 June Match Race Germany, Langenargen, Germany
Stage 2: 30 June-5 July Stena Match Cup Sweden, Marstrand, Sweden
Stage 3: 31 July-3 August Sopot Match Race, Sopot, Poland
Stage 4: 17-21 September Chicago Match Cup, Chicago, USA
Stage 5: 21-26 October Argo Group Gold Cup, Hamilton, Bermuda
Stage 6: 25-29 November Monsoon Cup, Malaysia* (to be confirmed)
Note: dates denote scheduled race days

2014 Tour Card Holders
Taylor Canfield (ISV) USone
Ian Williams (GBR) GAC Pindar
Phil Robertson (NZL) Waka Racing
Bjorn Hansen (SWE) Hansen Sailing Team
Keith Swinton (AUS) Team Alpari FX
Mathieu Richard (FRA) LunaJets
Francesco Bruni (ITA) Luna Rossa
David Gilmour (AUS) Team Gilmour

Alpari World Match Racing Tour

Normandy Channel Race : Two days till the start - Low-down on the runners and riders

Class 40s set off on the Normandy Channel Race 2013. Image copyright Jean Marie Liot

by Kate Jennings

Just 48 hours remain until the 17 CLASS40s competing in the Normandy Channel Race take the start! We give you the low-down on the opposing armies!

Raring to go, the thirty-four skippers will have to sit it out for a further two days prior to knocking their boats into shape in the English Channel and then the Celtic Sea. Considered to be a tough event, racers compare the Normandy Channel Race to a cycle race consisting only of mountain passes!

This year the Normandy Channel Race 2014 has a top-level competitive line-up! We view the runners and riders from this edition:

Yannick Bestaven, winner of the Transat Jacques Vabre in 2011 and 4th in 2013, is sailing with none other than last year’s winner of the event, Pierre Brasseur, aboard the Class40 LE CONSERVATEUR in her brand new livery. “I haven’t yet had the opportunity to add the Normandy Channel Race to my list of accomplishments and, as usual, I make no secret of the fact that I’ll be heading out with some not so secret great ambitions,” he admits.

Bertrand Delesne and David Raison (winner of the Mini Transat 2011), two experienced mini sailors, will be competing aboard TEAM WORK. Eager to get going, this will be their first life-size confrontation against the rest of the fleet of 40 footers.

Former Olympic champion Jean Galfione, skipper of TEAM SERENIS CONSULTING, will be teaming up with an exceptional sailor, who needs no introduction: Roland Jourdain, double Route du Rhum champion in 2006 and 2010 with a plethora of other renowned races to his credit… Objective: to be in the top 5!

Competing for the 3rd time, Sébastien Rogues, winner of the last Transat Jacques Vabre and Class40 2013 champion, will naturally be part of proceedings on GDF SUEZ. He will be accompanied by Bertrand Castelnerac, who also boasts a formidable track record. Competing in their first double-handed race of the season on a boat built in 2013, the duo very much hopes to secure a podium spot.

CAMPAGNE DE FRANCE wouldn’t let a Normandy Channel Race go by without her and she’ll be skippered by the now famous Franco-British couple, Halvard Mabire and Miranda Merron. “This race is an event that is dear to us given our respective pedigrees, Anglo-Norman to be specific. We hope to make the podium once again, but the standard of the Class40 is continually progressing”.

The Class40 ERDF – Des Pieds et des Mains will also be helmed by a mixed duo, this one comprising Damien Seguin and the talented Figaro sailor Jeanne Grégoire. “To discover the Class40 circuit alongside a high performance skipper, who knows his boat inside out is a fantastic opportunity. It’s also excellent training for the Route du Rhum, which he covets. The podium is clearly a target,” says Jeanne.

Jean-Christophe Caso and Aymeric Chappellier on TEAM PICOTY – LAC DE VASSIVIERES are back after their first Normandy Channel Race and a 5th position in the Transat Jacques Vabre in 2013. They won’t be standing on ceremony in their bid to vie with this year’s firm favourites!

Pierre-Yves Lautrou is sailing with Thomas Ruyant, winner of the 1st edition as well as the Route du Rhum 2010 and the Mini Transat 2009. Together they’ll be racing on L’EXPRESS - TREPIA, the class’ most recent addition and a Finot/ Conq 2014 design. Making the boat reliable and racking up experience with a view to the upcoming Route du Rhum is Pierre-Yves’ primary focus.

A native of Lower Normandy, Louis Duc is bringing along a highly enthusiastic sailor and seasoned accident and emergency doctor, Damien Rousseau on ADVANCED ENERGIES – Carac. The plan is to rack up the race miles and continue to develop the boat with a view to the Route du Rhum/ Destination Guadeloupe.

Having previously secured fourth in the Normandy Channel Race, South African Philippa Hutton-Squire is co-skippering with vet Juliette Petres aboard CONCISE 2: “There’s nothing like a Normandy Channel Race as training for the Route du Rhum and with Philippa as co-skipper, I’m going to learn a lot!”

Brieuc Maisonneuve, company director, has chosen a Belgian with experience in the Class40 and the Mini class to “beat Halvard Mabire” he says gleefully. Rémi Aubrun, master sailmaker, is very much hoping to help Brieuc succeed in his ambitious challenge aboard the Lombard design GROUPEMENT FLO.

Aboard KOGANE, the 59-year old Franco-British duo wants to appreciate the sea and sailing as well as outdo the youngsters! Patrice Bougard and Richard Tolkien are hoping to prove that an amateur crew bordering on their sixties is capable of battling it out for an honourable place.

Ah LA BELLE EQUIPE 2! The boat may not be the youngest of the Normandy Channel Race 2014 fleet but one of her crew is! At 26 years of age, Loïc Coudret is getting some miles under his belt in readiness for the Mini Transat 2015. He’ll be alongside Bruno Rzetelny, 58, whose aim is to continue preparing the boat and take up the challenge to be in the top 10 of this edition!

Another duo with a few years between them, Maxime Sorel, 27, and Pascal Quintin, 54, both highly experienced Multi50 sailors, will be competing in their first Normandy Channel Race aboard MS-SAILING TEAM. In Maxime’s line of sight is the Route du Rhum/ Destination Guadeloupe!

The Lorraine-based sailors are back again this year on OBPORTUS 3! Olivier Roussey and Philippe Burger are seemingly stuck to one another: “After two years finding their way around the Class40 and a Transat Jacques Vabre full of lessons, the Normandy Channel Race is an opportunity to extend the adventure and battle it out with the most seasoned crews!” explains Olivier.

It’s also the second Normandy Channel Race for the Norwegian duo Rune Aasberg and Simen Lovgren. The race’s Vikings fully intend to finish in the top 5 with their 2006 Owen Clarke design
ROMERIKE ELEKTRO AS as “a new boat isn’t everything in the Normandy Channel Race, strategy prevails!” according to Rune.

Finally, this isn’t the first attempt for Paul Peggs and Roderick Knowles on SWISH either, but this time they hope to complete the race in a good position, whilst learning some tricks and having fun along the way!

There’s no doubt that the quality of this line-up bodes well for some fine battles in the English Channel and the Celtic Sea! See you on Sunday 25 May at 1400 hours local time when hostilities commence!

Class 40s moored up and waiting for the Off from Caen. Image copyright Sirius Evenements

In French: A deux jours du départ !

Encore 48 heures avant que les étraves des 17 CLASS40 inscrits cette année ne passent la ligne de départ de la Normandy Channel Race! Passage en revue des forces en présence!

Trente quatre skippers prêts à en découdre vont devoir patienter encore deux jours avant de dégourdir les coques de leur monture en Manche puis sur la mer celtique. Considérée comme une épreuve difficile, les coureurs comparent la Normandy Channel Race à un tour cycliste où il n’y aurait que des cols !

La Normandy Channel Race 2014 se dote cette année d’un plateau sportif relevé! Tour d’horizon des acteurs de cette édition:

Yannick Bestaven, vainqueur de la Transat Jacques Vabre en 2011 et 4ème en 2013, embarque avec lui le vainqueur de la dernière édition, Pierre Brasseur, à bord du Class40 LE CONSERVATEUR. « Je n’ai pas encore eu l’occasion d’accrocher à mon palmarès la Normandy Channel Race, comme d’habitude, je pars avec de grandes ambitions secrètes » confie-t-il.

Bertrand Delesne et David Raison (vainqueur de la Mini Transat 2011), deux ministes chevronnés, seront ensemble sur TEAM WORK. Pressés de partir, ce sera leur première confrontation grandeur nature avec le reste de la flotte des 40 pieds.

L’ex-perchiste champion olympique Jean Galfione, skipper de TEAM SERENIS CONSULTING sera avec un marin d’exception que l’on ne présente plus : Roland Jourdain, double vainqueur de la Route du Rhum 2006 et 2010 et de nombreuses autres courses de renom… Objectif : être dans 5 premiers !

Bien entendu et pour la 3ème fois, Sébastien Rogues, vainqueur de la dernière Transat Jacques Vabre et champion 2013 en Class40, sera de la partie sur GDF SUEZ, accompagné de Bertrand Castelnerac au palmarès également bien fourni. Première course en double de la saison sur un bateau construit en 2013, le duo compte bien monter sur le podium.

CAMPAGNE DE FRANCE ne laisserait pour rien au monde une Normandy Channel Race se passer de lui et aura à son bord le désormais célèbre couple franco-britannique Halvard Mabire et Miranda Merron. « Cette course est une épreuve qui nous tient à cœur compte tenu de nos pédigrées respectifs, anglo-normand en l’occurrence. Nous espérons monter une nouvelle fois sur le podium mais le niveau au sein de la Class40 ne cesse de progresser ».

Le Class40 ERDF – Des Pieds et des Mains aura lui aussi un duo mixte à sa barre avec Damien Seguin et la talentueuse figariste Jeanne Grégoire. « Découvrir le circuit des Class40 aux côtés d’un skipper performant qui connaît son bateau est une superbe opportunité. Et qui plus est un excellent entraînement pour la Route du Rhum qu’il convoite. Le podium est clairement en ligne de mire » annonce Jeanne.

Jean-Christophe Caso et Aymeric Chappellier sur TEAM PICOTY – LAC DE VASSIVIERES remettent le couvert ensemble après une première Normandy Channel Race et une 5ème position à la Transat Jacques Vabre en 2013. Ils ne se gêneront pas pour jouer aux grands favoris cette année!

Pierre-Yves Lautrou embarque Thomas Ruyant, vainqueur de la 1ére édition et accessoirement de la Route du Rhum 2010 et de la Mini Transat 2009 sur L’EXPRESS - TREPIA , dernier né de la classe, plan Finot/ Conq 2014. Fiabiliser le bateau et engranger de l’expérience dans la perspective de la prochaine Route du Rhum sont les leitmotive de Pierre-Yves.

L’enfant du pays bas-normand, Louis Duc, emmène à ses côtés le plus passionné et aguerri des médecins urgentistes, Damien Rousseau, sur ADVANCED ENERGIES – Carac afin de cumuler les milles en courses et continuer à faire évoluer le bateau en vue de la Route du Rhum/ Destination Guadeloupe.

Quatrième Normandy Channel Race pour la sud-africaine Philippa Hutton-Squire, co-skipper de la vétérinaire Juliette Petres à bord de CONCISE 2 : « Rien de tel qu’une Normandy Channel Race comme entrainement pour la Route du Rhum et avec Philippa comme co-équipière, je vais beaucoup apprendre ! »

Brieuc Maisonneuve, chef d’entreprise, à choisi un belge expérimenté en Class40 et mini pour « battre Halvard Mabire » comme il se plaît à le déclarer. Rémi Aubrun, maître voilier, embarque donc sur le plan Lombard GROUPEMENT FLO et espère bien aider Brieuc à réussir son ambitieux challenge.

A bord de KOGANE, le duo franco-britannique de 59 ans veut apprécier la mer et la navigation ainsi que battre les plus jeunes ! Patrice Bougard et Richard Tolkien prouveront qu’un équipage d’amateurs presque sexagénaires est capable de lutter pour une place honorable.

Ah LA BELLE EQUIPE 2 ! Le bateau n’est peut être pas le plus jeune de la Normandy Channel Race 2014 mais l’un de ses marins si ! A 26 ans, Loïc Coudret engrange les milles en vue de la Mini Transat 2015 aux côtés de Bruno Rzetelny, 58 ans, qui a pour ambition de continuer à préparer le bateau et relever le challenge d’être dans le top 10 de cette édition !

Autre duo que quelques années séparent, Maxime Sorel, 27 ans, et Pascal Quintin, 54 ans, tout deux très expérimentés en Multi50, vont effectuer leur première Normandy Channel Race à bord de MS-SAILING TEAM. En ligne de mire pour Maxime : la Route du Rhum/ Destination Guadeloupe !

Les lorrains sont de retour cette année encore sur OBPORTUS 3 ! Olivier Roussey et Philippe Burger ne se quittent plus : « Après deux années de découverte de la Class40 et une Transat Jacques Vabre riche d’enseignement, la Normandy Channel Race est l’occasion de prolonger l’aventure et nous pensons être de la bagarre avec des équipages plus aguerris ! » déclare Olivier.

Seconde Normandy Channel Race aussi pour le duo norvégien Rune Aasberg et Simen Lovgren. Les vikings de la course comptent bien finir dans le top 5 avec leur plan Owen Clarke de 2006 ROMERIKE ELEKTRO AS car « un bateau neuf ne fait pas tout sur la NCR, la stratégie primera ! » déclare Rune.

Enfin, Paul Peggs et Roderick Knowles sur SWISH n’en sont pas à leur premier essai non plus mais souhaitent cette fois terminer la course en bonne position tout en apprenant des nouvelles combines et en se faisant plaisir !

Nul doute que la qualité de ce plateau promet donc de belles batailles en Manche et mer Celtique ! Rendez-vous dimanche 25 mai à 14h pour le début des hostilités !

Discover the Normandy Channel Race 2013/2014 on:




Friday 23 May 2014

Mini en Mai : Podiums série et proto - mots de skippers

Damien Cloarec vainqueur en Série, le podium Série dans un mouchoir de poche
Damien Cloarec in 833 won the Series division of the Mini Class in the Mini en Mai race 2014. Image copyright Th.Martinez/Sea&Co

par SNT media

Damien Cloarec ( - 833) a coupé la ligne en vainqueur, en bateaux de série, 14 minutes devant son dauphin Jonas Gerkens (Netwerk - 821) et 53 minutes devant le 3è, Henri Marcelet (Yakamoz – 737). Depuis le départ 60 heures plus tôt, ils ne se sont pas lâchés, c’est dire si la bataille fut âpre et intense ! A leur arrivée, ils ne cachaient pas leur plaisir d’avoir bataillé à vue de bout en bout et leur satisfaction d’avoir testé leurs bateaux dans des conditions météo rudes, avec un vent forcissant parfois jusqu'à 50 nœuds dans les grains orageux.

Chez les Protos, Jean-Baptiste Daramy (Eki Haizea – 814) a coupé la ligne 3h30 après le vainqueur, Giancarlo Pedote. Le 3è, l’espagnol Fidel Turienzo (Satanas – 304) est arrivé plus de 8 heures derrière, mais il signe là une belle performance pour sa toute première course en solitaire et sa deuxième sur le circuit Mini : prometteur.

Baptême du feu

Start of the Mini en Mai off la Trinité-sur-mer. Image copyright Th.Martinez/Sea&Co

Pour sa première édition, la Mini en Mai a donné du fil à retordre aux organisateurs et aux skippers. La grande boucle de 500 milles initialement prévue entre la Trinité-sur-mer, la mer d’Iroise, l’estuaire de la Gironde et la baie de Quiberon a du être réduite compte-tenu de conditions météo difficiles. Un parcour de 336 milles a été mis en place entre les Glénan et l'île de Ré.

Après une première nuit de petit temps où les régatiers ont passé beaucoup de temps aux réglages fins, la deuxième partie du parcours s'est disputée dans des conditions météo rudes : ténacité, endurance et bonne préparation technique furent notamment les clés du succès des deux vainqueurs : Giancarlo Pedote en Proto et Damien Cloarec en Série.

Une course test

Parmi les 37 concurrents au départ, 10 Proto et 27 Série, dont une bonne partie de bizuths et d'amateurs qui font la richesse de ce circuit, 24 ont abandonné pour des raisons techniques et physiques d'abord mais aussi pour éviter les conditions météo très musclées annoncées. Des choix aussi raisonnables que respectables.

Coup dur

Coup très dur pour Patrick Girod (Nescens) qui, après avoir réalisé une très belle course, et alors qu'il était à quelques mètres de la ligne d'arrivée, en 3e position des bateaux de série, sur une petite erreur d'appréciation (une confusion entre le projecteur du bateau comité et une cardinale), le skipper suisse s'est mis sur les cailloux à l'entrée de l'étroite rivière de la Trinité-sur-mer. Son bateau a perdu son bulbe puis sa quille. Ce triste accident ne doit cependant pas masquer la très belle performance de ce jeune régatier qui a réussi à accrocher le sillage de coureurs au large aguerris dans des conditions météo très rudes.

Many more Minis started than finished the 2014 Mini en Mai, which saw very strong winds. Image copyright Th.Martinez/Sea&Co

Yves le Blevec, directeur de course :

« Le parcours de cette course est un tracé qui demande de l’engagement : 500 milles entre Ouessant et l’île de Ré, c’est du large, avec beaucoup de transitions, c’est une épreuve qui est difficile.
Avec des conditions météo dures et un parcours réduit, c’est resté une course engagée. Je suis content de la façon dont cela s’est déroulé, de la relation avec les coureurs et avec les autorités. Ca a été un moment très intense, une expérience riche.

Il y a eu beaucoup d’abandons et c’est logique, une bonne partie de la flotte est constituée de gens qui régatent pour leur plaisir, là nous savions que ce ne serait pas du tout une partie de plaisir : ils ont eu raison d’arrêter à Belle Ile. C’est tout à fait normal et légitime.
L’autre partie de la flotte, ce sont des coureurs qui sont là pour faire de la course au large. Ceux qui n’ont pas cassé ou eu des pépins physiques sont heureux d’avoir bouclé ce parcours, tous affirment avoir appris beaucoup de choses. C’est aussi une épreuve qualificative ... les conditions qu’ils ont rencontrées ici, ils sont susceptibles de les retrouver au large.

Je tiens à remercier pour leur confiance et leur soutien, la SNT, la Classe Mini et particulièrement les coureurs qui ont abandonné et qui se sont engagés pour le collectif. Nikki et Jeremy pour le pointage à l'île de Ré, et tous ceux qui ont permis de redresser le bateau de Patrick."

Mots de ponton

Jean-Baptiste Daramy (Eki Haizea – 814) 2e Proto : « Tant que j’étais sur le bateau, ça allait, mais là depuis que je suis à terre c’est comme si j’avais pris un coup de barre à mine sur la tête ! Je s uis moulu !

C’était vraiment fort, surtout sur la fin, il y avait 40 à 45 nœuds dans les claques, avec des vagues qui déferlaient… En ayant beaucoup de vitesse, ça allait. C’était un peu inquiétant quand même, mais ça va. Au passage de l’île de Ré ça allait, on était au portant, la mer était plate, ça glissait bien.

Le format de cette course est très sympa. C’est dommage que nous n’ayons pas pu faire le grand tour, mais là, ce n’était pas possible, les bonnes décisions ont été prises.

Nous ne sommes pas très nombreux en prototypes, donc mon objectif maintenant est de terminer le moins loin possible de Giancarlo ! J’avais 8h de retard sur lui à La Pornichet Select 6.50, là 3h30... ça progresse ! Et puis lui c’est son métier, moi c’est mon loisir. »

Fidel Turienzo Fuente (Satanas – 304), 3e Proto : « C’était ma première course en solo, ma 2e en Mini, c’est ma première année sur le circuit, je venais pour me qualifier pour Les Sables-Les Açores-Les Sables : une 3e place c’est très très bon ! Et je suis super content d’avoir pu finir la course dans ces conditions. C’était vraiment très dur, le vent était super fort.

Je pense que le parcours côtier en Baie de Quiberon était important pour la hiérarchie de la course, j’ai bien régaté, j’étais dans les trois premiers. Ensuite, en observant les nuages, on savait dès le premier soir, qu’on allait avoir du vent … c’était beaucoup de conduite, difficile. Mais voilà, c’est fait et je suis vraiment très très content d’avoir fini la course et en plus sur le podium ! »

Damien Cloarec ( vainqueur en Série : « Ca a été serré tout le temps, on a fait toute la course à vue. Sur la fin, mon pilote est tombé en rade, j’ai fait les 30 derniers milles à la barre, j’ai eu des hallucinations comme jamais : mon bateau me parlait il me disait, « à droite, à gauche… » et il me faisait des sourires ! On a eu des conditions super fortes : jusqu’à 50 nœuds dans les grains orageux. Toute la remontée, il y avait 25 – 30 nœuds établis et des rafales à 40 – 45 nœuds : on a pris cher ! Mais c’est un bon test pour le bateau et pour moi, mon poignet a tenu, c’est une bonne nouvelle. On a fait une super belle bagarre à 4 bateaux ! Une moiti&eacut e; du parcours a été hyper costaud, mais la première moitié était bien tactique, il fallait attaquer au bon moment. »

Netwerk (Jonas Gerkens) finished 2nd in the Series division. Image copyright Th.Martinez/Sea&Co

Jonas Gerkens (Netwerk - 821) 2e Série : « C’était bien costaud ! 30 – 35 nœuds en Mini c’est très impressionnant, surtout au travers comme ce fut le cas pendant toute la remontée, tu te prends des paquets de mer sur le pont en permanence qui sont de véritables uppercuts ! Mais c’était une chouette bataille avec Damien, on était à vue tout le temps : on a passé la porte de Belle Ile en même temps, à Ré on était 4 bateaux. Ensuite, sur le grand bord de reaching, les papys ont réussi à faire la différence sur es petits jeunes ! Damien a très bien navigué, il connaît bien son bateau, moi je découvre le mien (Jonas vient de passer du Pogo 2 au Nacira). C’était un bon test grandeur nature. A la fin, pour tenir, tu dois débra ncher quelques câbles au cerveau pour tirer sur la machine sans trop réfléchir… Après une année 2013 compliquée, ça fait du bien de faire une belle course et une belle place ! »

Patrick Girod (Nescens), abd en Série : « L’atterrissage n’est pas facile, au propre comme au figuré. Ça remet vite les idées en place un coup pareil, trop vite… Je ne suis pas parti en pleine forme et les incertitudes par rapport à la météo ne m’ont pas permis d’être dans un super état d’esprit. Même au passage de Belle Ile, je n’ai pas pu avoir de bulletin précis pour le parcours sur lequel nous partions. Mais jusqu’à Ré, ça allait, j’ai pu me reposer un peu. C’est sur le retour que ça a commencé à être difficile. La mer était tellement dure que ça m’a usé. Et à l’arrivée, j’avais pourtant rentré tous mes waypoint, quand j’ai vu ce feu (qui était en fait le projecteur du bateau co mité) j’ai cru que c’était une cardinale et je me suis échoué.

C’est un apprentissage, je suis un régatier, pas encore un marin. J’ai pensé m’arrêter pendant la remontée, ça m’a effleuré l’esprit, mais je me suis dit que ce serait encore plus dur à vivre de s’arrêter dans un port et de lâcher la course… Et puis j’ai pu prendre le bulletin météo de l’île d’Yeu qui m’a redonné confiance, la mer s’est un peu calmée et voilà…

Je vais d’abord aller remercier toutes les personnes qui m’ont aidé pour mon bateau et puis on verra. Mais cela ne remet pas en cause ma volonté de continuer la course au large. »

Les réactions de Giancarlo Pedote à son arrivée de la Mini en Mai:

Ordre d’arrivée


1. Giancarlo Pedote (Prysmian -747) à 17h 04m 40s le 22 mai
2. Jean-Baptiste Daramy (Eki Haizea – 814) à 20h 28m 06s le 22 mai
3. Fidel Turienzo (Satanas - 304 à 1h 30m 15s le 23 mai
4. Laurent Mechin (Micro Vitae – 667) à 2h 10m 57s le 23 mai
5. Olivier Jehl (Zigoneshi -629) à 3h 30m 37s le 23 mai


1. Damien Cloarec ( - 833) à 1h 52m 44s le 23 mai
2. Jonas Gerkens (Netwerk – 821) à 2h 06m 37s le 23 mai
3. Henri Marcelet (Yakamoz -737) à 2h 45m 25s le 23 mai
4. François Jambou (Berra Marine Service – 552) à 5h 57m 23s le 23 mai
5. Andrea Fornaro (Sideral - 857) à 7h 14m 50s le 23 mai
6. Simon Brunisholz (Mini Lab - 796) à 8h 35m 47s le 23 mai
7. Yann Claverie (Map Product - 579) à 9h 42m 50s le 23 mai

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Normandy Channel Race

TP52 Super Series : Coastal Race Falls Victim to Capri Calms

The TPs didn't make it far from the starting line around the Capri coastline. Image copyright Nico Martinez/52SuperSeries

by 52 Super Series media

The coastal race for the BARCLAYS 52 SUPER SERIES at Rolex Capri Sailing Week had to be abandoned before the fleet had reached the first turning mark this afternoon when the light breeze shut down and left the crews all but becalmed.

The leaders, Tony Langley’s Gladiator and Jim Swartz’s Vesper¸ were ghosting gently towards the windward mark off the rocky Faraglioni pinnacles at Capri’s SE corner - when the race committee announced their decision, based as much on the fact that there was no wind at all for their return into the Bay of Naples.

Vesper, with Gavin Brady calling tactics, had made the best start off the pin end of the line and were looking good early on as the leaders tacked upwind in the gentle SE’ly breeze. They were first to run out of the breeze, close in under the spectacular cliffs, which allowed Gladiator to pass.

Start of the abandoned coastal race for the 52s. Image copyright Nico Martinez/52SuperSeries

After erring slightly to the west on the beat – in fact only a very small distance to windward - Azzurra, Paprec and B2 became separated from the fleet in a different breeze. At one point they were under gennakers pointing in the same direction.

The decision received general approval all levels of the fleet.

Racing returns to windward-leewards Friday and Saturday.

Vesper’s tactician Gavin Brady reported:
“You come to Capri then you have to expect this, just like if you go to San Francisco you have to be ready for lots of tide and lots of wind. If you come here to Capri you just have to be ready for it, to be work through these light spots. We were ready for this three months ago when our owner Jim Swartz said he wanted to come here. We did not feel too bad when the race got banged off. You win some you lose some.”

“We were joking at the start of the day that whoever was leading at the last mark would likely be last across the finish. We were not holding our breath.”

Barclays 52 Super Series

IMOCA New York - Barcelona : 48 Hours until the race action starts

IMOCAs in New York awaiting the start. Image copyright Christophe Favreau/OSM

by Leslie Greenhalgh

While the two Hungarian skippers, Nandor Fa and Marcell Goszleth (Spirit of Hungary), are in the middle of the Atlantic after a short stop which delayed them in Gibraltar (they should still arrive in New York around May 29 according to the latest routing) , preparations are being finalised for the four IMOCA 60s moored in the docks of "Newport Shipyard." Whilst Gaes Centros Auditivos, Neutrogena and Safran seem to be ready two days before the Prologue Race that will take them to New York, there is still some work to be done on board of Hugo Boss, following their dismasting after 11 days of sailing, just 400 miles from Newport ... but nothing that will prevent them from competing in the main race!

Checking aloft. Image copyright Christophe Favreau/OSM

“In the middle of the night we broke the mast above the second spreader but luckily we did not do much damage to the sails, that allowed us the next morning to set up a jury rig, with 3 reefs in the mainsail and a small sail at the front. We managed to reach Newport in just four days after the damage occurred," recalls Ryan Breymaier who is replacing Alex Thomson as co-Skipper. Alex’s wife will give birth to their second child during the IMOCA Ocean Masters New York to Barcelona Race.

Final preparations on board. Image copyright Christophe Favreau/OSM

"Fortunately, the fact that we were in Newport to carry out the repairs was a real advantage because Newport Shipyard is used to dealing with such large boats. It is the ideal place to arrive with a broken mast as they have all the necessary skills! We took the mast out the same day as we arrived and found all the skills we needed by the next day. The only thing that slowed us down a bit was having to wait for the delivery of a vital piece - a broken piece of carbon cable at the second spreader , and that had to come from Sri Lanka. It should arrive tomorrow or the day after tomorrow. Apart from that, everything is ready to re-step the mast. Things will go quickly now, and although we will miss the prologue race, we will be ready for the start from New York, and we should re-join the fleet on the 27th of May, "concludes Ryan.

Last minute photos being taken on board. Image copyright Christophe Favreau/OSM

For Neutrogena, the trip was also a challenging one on the IMOCA 60 skippered by Spaniard Guillermo Altadill and the Chilean Jose Munoz but they avoided any technical issues. "Even though we crossed in very difficult conditions, with winds up to 55 knots, we looked after the boat, so as not to force anything and ultimately we did not break anything. We have a few matters to finish for the final preparations, mainly those which we did not have the time to deal with since the end of boat modification time back in March,” explained Spanish racing legend Guillermo Altadill, whilst he also praised the effectiveness of his shore team.

Safran's sailors. Image copyright Christophe Favreau/OSM

For Safran, the delivery trip also went well, actually really well according to the long time skipper Marc Guillemot. “It surpassed our expectations as we thought we would have to do more upwind sailing. We expected 80% of the trip would be into the wind but our decision to change our routing a bit more towards the south allowed us to do 80% of the trip with the wind behind us! We gained a whole day and a half by doing that, making the trip in only 11 days. And all that with a great atmosphere onboard. And it was the first transatlantic crossing for Morgan which allowed me to see how we would work together for the double-handed race from New York to Barcelona,” explained Marc.

The ones who probably had the easiest trip were Anna Corbella and Gerard Marin. Onboard ‘Gaes Centros Auditivos’, they enjoyed relatively mild weather. "Even if we had to cross three weather fronts, they were not very strong and we we managed to navigate safely and to get to Newport with a small list of jobs. So now we just have to tweak a few things. Even the food is ready! We loaded the entire food supplies before leaving Barcelona so now we just have to add in some fresh produce. This allows us now to focus on the weather, the sailing instructions, the routing and details around the areas of departure and arrival for the prologue between Newport and New York," said Anna within 48 hours to go before the initial prologue event starts which will see the fleet reaching New York - the City of departure.

IMOCA New York-Barcelona race/Ocean Masters World Championship

Mini en Mai : Incontestable Victoire de Giancarlo Pedote

Prysmian takes off at the start of the Mini en Mai. Image copyright Th. Martinze/Sea&Co

par SNT media

Le skipper italien Giancarlo Pedote (Prysmian) est le grand vainqueur, en prototype, de la Mini en Mai. Il a bouclé ce long parcours entre Ouessant et l’île de Ré (au départ et à l’arrivée de la Trinité-sur-mer) avec environ 5h d’avance sur son dauphin, Jean-Baptiste Daramy (Eki Haizea) attendu vers 21h. En bateaux de série, Damien Cloarec ( est toujours en tête. Il est attendu vers 2h du matin.

A tired Giancarlo Pedote, after winning the 2014 Mini en Mai. Image copyright Agence Kaori

51h de course pour parcourir les 336 milles de ce parcours d’Ouessant à Ré, en passant par Belle Ile et Yeu, dans des conditions très variées allant de 5 à plus de 40 nœuds de vent, avec des orages, de la mer... Giancarlo Pedote a largement mérité cette belle victoire, la 3e de la saison en 3 courses. Le skipper italien devance son dauphin d’environ 5 heures.

Giancarlo Pedote on Prysmian during the Mini en Mai. Image copyright Th. Martinez/Sea&Co

Giancarlo Pedote (Prysmian) : « Le plus dur ça a été les derniers 50 milles, j'ai eu plus de 40 nœuds de vent ! J’avais 3 ris et le Solent, le bateau était couché tout le temps... J'ai dû tout affaler à un moment donné, mais bon je me disais toujours qu'il y en avait un qui pouvait attaquer derrière, alors j'ai remis de la toile. Mais c'était chaud. Ça a été super impressionnant aussi au large des côtes vendéennes, il y avait énormément de mer.
Mais c’est un super parcours, c’est le même format de course qu’une étape de la Solitaire du Figaro, c’est super intéressant. Là, la météo était limite, mais c'est toujours intéressant de naviguer dans le gros temps. Je n'ai rien cassé, le bateau est bien préparé.
Je suis super content de cette victoire, c'est génial, ça valide tout le travail fait en amont, mais il y en a encore et toujours à découvrir sur ce bateau ! »

Giancarlo Pedote takes a well-deserved drink of champagne on arrival at the pontoon.... Image copyright Agency Kaori

12 bateaux sont encore en course. Une belle bagarre est notamment à suivre en bateaux de série entre Damien Cloarec ( et ses poursuivants : Jonas Gerkens (Netwerk), Patrick Girod (Nescens) et Henry Marcelet (Yakamoz). Les conditions de navigation sont encore dures… ces milles qualificatifs pour la course Les Sables-Les Açores-Les Sables, seront largement mérités.

... and then gives some champagne to his boat, Prysmian, and King Neptune, in grateful thanks for the victory. Image copyright Agence Kaori

La météo corsée de cette première Mini en Mai marquera sans doute les esprits, les solitaires sont attendus toute la nuit de pied ferme par les bénévoles de la SNT !

Pour suivre la Mini en Mai