St Michel - Virbac Skipper Jean-Pierre Dick

St Michel – Virbac Skipper Jean-Pierre Dick

Friday the 13th might be unlucky for some, but not for British skipper Alex Thomson who has pulled back 85 crucial miles on Vendée Globe leader Armel Le Cléac’h in the last 24 hours.

Thomson revealed yesterday that in order to stand a chance of overhauling French skipper Le Cléac’h before the finish of the solo round the world race he must get to within 50 miles of him in the next few days. At the 1400 UTC position report yesterday Thomson’s Hugo Boss was 216 miles adrift of Le Cléac’h’s Banque Populaire VIII as the pair passed to the west of the Cape Verde Islands. At the same time today that deficit was down to 131 miles as light winds forced Le Cléac’h to slow to just one knot compared to Thomson’s eight knots. Thomson too will see speeds drop as he hits the dead spot but with several days of light-wind sailing ahead before stronger south-easterlies fill in near the Azores even the smallest of gains were welcome.

Photo sent from the boat St Michel - Virbac, on January 12th, 2017 - Photo Jean-Pierre Dick

Photo sent from the boat St Michel – Virbac, on January 12th, 2017 – Photo Jean-Pierre Dick

Thomson was not the only one with reason to celebrate. Crossing the Equator yesterday 13 days, three hours and 59 minutes after rounding Cape Horn, Jean-Pierre Dick set a new race record for the passage. Incredibly he shaved almost 16 hours off the reference time of Vendée 2012-13 winner François Gabart of 13 days, 19 hours and 29 minutes. In fact, Dick was just the first of four skippers to beat Gabart’s time. Thomson posted a time of 13 days, five hours and 30 minutes, Yann Eliès took 13 days, seven hours and 20 minutes while Jean Le Cam was just 37 minutes behind. In stark comparison, race leader le Cléac’h was almost 32 hours slower than Dick over the same distance, but his woes did not stop there. His losses caused by a painful crossing of the Doldrums were today laid bare. Fifteen of the race’s remaining 18 skippers made gains on Banque Populaire over the past seven days. Frenchman Eric Bellion has been by far the biggest winner in the last week, pulling back 641nm on Le Cléac’h, with Jean-Pierre Dick was next in line making back 388nm. Only Thomson and 17th-placed Pieter Heerema lost ground on Le Cléac’h, Thomson dropping 26nm to the leader and Heerema losing 10nm.

The Vendée Globe finish line is now within 1,800 miles of Le Cléac’h, and his ETA in Les Sables remains Thursday January 19th. Race HQ has now moved from Paris and is set up in Les Sables ready for the opening of the race village tomorrow. Doors to the village, at Port Olona, open to the public at 10am local time and visitors can enjoy an exhibition on the race, shop for official Vendée Globe merchandise or relax in the race’s legendary bar and restaurant, the VOG. A huge screen will show the arrivals live from the finish line to the pontoon, and skippers will then be interviewed on the main stage.

Tune in to the Vendée Live show tomorrow on the race website at 1200 UTC for the latest news from the Vendée Globe.

RANKINGS TODAY 

 

Passage des ecluses pour les concurrents de la Route du Rhum-Destination Guadeloupe 2014 - Saint Malo le 01/ 11/14  (Photo © ALEXIS COURCOUX)

Passage des ecluses pour les concurrents de la Route du Rhum-Destination Guadeloupe 2014 – Saint Malo le 01/ 11/14 (Photo © ALEXIS COURCOUX)

The weather forecast for the first few days of La Route du Rhum-Destination Guadeloupe seems to suggest that the 3,542 miles from Saint-Malo to Pointe-à-Pitre will be quick. But first up there will be an active frontal system to cross before Ushant.

Sunday afternoon’s start will see the SSW’ly breeze at around 15-18kts with some squally bursts perhaps. But the first three days of racing will be quite tough for the 91 solo skippers competing on this legendary Transatlantic. And with such a promising forecast it seems there might be every chance the outright race record of 7 days 17 hours 19mins 6 secs of Lionel Lemonchois, set in 2006 on Gitana XI, might fall.

It had to happen some time. The blocking high pressure system which has provided summer-like weather for most of the times in Saint-Malo will give way to more usual Autumnal conditions, an Atlantic low pressure arriving on cue for Sunday’s start. The weather will worsen progressively along the Brittany coast and there will likely be rain just after the 1400hrs local time start gun.

Passage des ecluses pour les concurrents de la Route du Rhum-Destination Guadeloupe 2014 - Saint Malo le 01/11/2014 Fleet (Photo Passage des ecluses pour les concurrents de la Route du Rhum-Destination Guadeloupe 2014 - Saint Malo le 01/ 11/14  (Photo © ALEXIS COURCOUX))

assage des ecluses pour les concurrents de la Route du Rhum-Destination Guadeloupe 2014 – Saint Malo le 01/11/2014 Fleet (Photo Passage des ecluses pour les concurrents de la Route du Rhum-Destination Guadeloupe 2014 – Saint Malo le 01/ 11/14 (Photo © ALEXIS COURCOUX))

The 91 solo skippers gathered for their final meteo briefing this morning as Meteo Consult provided them with their final weather analysis. Sunday afternoon will see SSW’ly winds of around 15-18 kts but with some much bigger gusts. The breeze will veer more west behind the front, easing slightly initially but it will always be gusty. The air temperature will be around 13-16 deg C. The Ultime leaders might well have passed Cap Fréhel ahead of the front but for most this will mean headwinds.

The soloists will have a long port tack to get out of the Channel. But around midnight a second, more active front will bring a big increase in wind strength from the SW, gusting to 40-45kts with a chaotic sea. And this will be one of the key phases of this Route du Rhum-Destination Guadeloupe. Approaching and around the tip of Brittany there are a powerful combination of big untidy waves, busy maritime traffic and gusty winds, so the real strategy here will be trying not to break anything whilst still keeping the pace on.

By daytime Monday the biggest Ultimes should be into the brisk NW’ly which will make for a fast descent to Madeira which they should reach by Tuesday night. But meantime for the first part of Monday the IMOCA and Multi 50s will have a pretty tough time trying to find the right tempo across the first part of Biscay in an unruly, nasty sea making a messy, stressful passage to Cape Finisterre for Tuesday morning.

Overall it is quite a promising forecast. Class 40 and the Rhum fleet will need to take it more carefully but there really is only one general route south and the fleets should enjoy more of a speed rather than strategy race.

In the Class 40 fleet Briton Conrad Humphreys says he has never been better prepared or felt as good before a race start but the pressure will be on from the start. There is a critical stage early on where the skippers must time their approach through Sunday night’s front to make sure they can get comfortably inside the Ushant traffic separation zone, or not. There is a tactical danger in being squeezed out to the west by the zone when the main opposition is inside, able to cut the corner and get south across Biscay earlier.

assage des ecluses pour les concurrents de la Route du Rhum-Destination Guadeloupe 2014 - Saint Malo le 01/11/2014 Fleet (Photo Passage des ecluses pour les concurrents de la Route du Rhum-Destination Guadeloupe 2014 - Saint Malo le 01/ 11/14  (Photo © ALEXIS COURCOUX))

assage des ecluses pour les concurrents de la Route du Rhum-Destination Guadeloupe 2014 – Saint Malo le 01/11/2014 Fleet (Photo Passage des ecluses pour les concurrents de la Route du Rhum-Destination Guadeloupe 2014 – Saint Malo le 01/ 11/14 (Photo © ALEXIS COURCOUX))

“The critical thing will be how far west you get and whether you are positioned inside or outside the separation zone at Ushant. If you are caught half way you can’t cross the separation zone. And so the timing of that shift is important. After that the Bay of Biscay is going to be quite lively. I think the sea state will be one of the worst things, 4-5m swell with waves on top and then a lot of rain. The further south we get the High will have an effect and it will start to calm down a bit, but I think for most of the first 24-36 hours it will be quite wild. It is so critical to be with the pack and to get through that first shift with them. If you don’t they can be going quite fast and the ones who don’t will be still on the wind, have less runway to get around Ushant and so on. I have to say you will have to sail quite aggressively.”

In boisterous sea and wind conditions, with rain showers passing through, the start itself holds the possibility is problems. Indeed that is the phase that concerns Miranda Merron (Campagne de France) most immediately. The France-based English soloist said after the weather briefing:

“It’s November. You are going to take a kicking some time and this first bit looks tough, but it is the start with all the traffic and stress around that worries me most. I just want to get away cleanly and safely.”

They said:
Ari Huusela (FINLAND) – Rhum Class, Neste Oil:
“It is a victory to be here. In total we have had almost 20 people involved in the project at home in Finland. It is my passion to sail alone, that is why I want to do this race. This is the pinnacle. I have had this boat two years after it took me seven years to realise my dream. I think the boat is good, I am going to enjoy it as much as possible.”

Yann Guichard (Ultime) – SPINDRIFT 2:
“Everyone knows that the start phase is always critical. I know that if I have to do an emergency change of tack, it can’t be done in two minutes. The first twelve hours are going to be complicated. It looks like we’re going to have to do two changes of tack. This isn’t where the race is going to be won, but it is where it can be lost.”

Loïck Peyron (Ultime) – MAXI SOLO BANQUE POPULAIRE VII:
“The start is never easy for anyone. And here it’s going to be violent. There is going to be wind and lots of rain: typical sailor’s weather. This will make things a bit more dramatic, as we’re straight into the rough stuff.”

To follow the race on click La Route du Rhum-Destination Guadeloupe

 

assage des ecluses pour les concurrents de la Route du Rhum-Destination Guadeloupe 2014 - Saint Malo le 01/11/2014 Fleet (Photo Passage des ecluses pour les concurrents de la Route du Rhum-Destination Guadeloupe 2014 - Saint Malo le 01/ 11/14 (Photo © ALEXIS COURCOUX))

assage des ecluses pour les concurrents de la Route du Rhum-Destination Guadeloupe 2014 – Saint Malo le 01/11/2014 Fleet (Photo Passage des ecluses pour les concurrents de la Route du Rhum-Destination Guadeloupe 2014 – Saint Malo le 01/ 11/14 (Photo © ALEXIS COURCOUX))

Race For Water and Foncia at Newport Pologue Race Start (Photo by George Bekris)

Race For Water and Foncia at Newport Pologue Race Start (Photo by George Bekris)

The MOD70s are back…Brest to New York!
The countdown begins here…there are 300 days until the start of the second edition of the KRYS OCEAN RACE which will take the MOD70 fleet from Brest to New York.
Three hundred days for a chance for revenge for the fleet after the 2012 edition saw Spindrift, skippered by Yann Guichard, speed to victory from New York to Brest in a record time of 4 days 21 hours and 8 minutes. A rapid run across the North Atlantic provided a race of rare intensity on an oceanic scale.
The KRYS OCEAN RACE, starts on May 11, 2014 from Brest

Two years ago Brest gave the race an extraordinary welcome for the first edition of the KRYS OCEAN RACE by placing it at the heart of the Tonnerres de Brest (the Brest Maritime Festival) with its 700,000 visitors. For the start of the second edition, Brest will beat to the rhythm of the KRYS OCEAN RACE from May 3-11, 2014 with a program of sporting and cultural celebrations and many other entertainments (Brest City Races, a ‘Krys Match’, a brass band festival and street shows). “Brest, the harbour of departure for the great explorations of Laperouse and Bougainville and the major records of the Atlantic and circumnavigations, is the ocean gateway to the Atlantic and the Americas,” Jean-Claude Lardic, Vice President of Brest Evénements Nautiques, said. “The Krys Ocean Race from Brest to New York continues this great history with an exciting competition.

36 storytellers, 6 boat owners and 2,950 miles of suspense

The KRYS OCEAN RACE will mark the return of the MOD70 fleet to the ocean for a rematch to New York, from east to west, against prevailing winds and currents. “After a very successful 2012 edition, we are pleased to host the second edition of the Krys Ocean Race,” Marco Simeoni, President of Multi One Design S.A. said. “It will take place in May 2014 and will take the fleet from Brest to New York. With the support of Krys opticians, the city of Brest and New York City, this transatlantic race is fast becoming a major international event in the sailing world. The participation of the one-design oceanic multihulls, the MOD70s, will guarantee a top-flight show.”

The MOD70 fleet which will line up for the start of this second edition will each have on board six sailors, including the greatest multihull skippers of our time.
Krys opticians, at the heart of the adventure

The second edition of the race, already being dubbed “the Krys”, is a major event for its title sponsor, Krys, who have been in sports sponsorship since 2012 after backing this event. The KRYS OCEAN RACE embodies the values of Krys’s 850 opticians: teamwork, sharing, generosity, and technical expertise.

The Krys Ocean Race has become a not-to-be-missed race for the MOD70 class and the teams involved and it is also equally anticipated by the 850 teams in the Krys stores,” Franck Deschamps, marketing director of Krys, said. “More than 3,500 eye specialists are going to see their brand travelling to New York. The great pride and enthusiasm are things we recognise in these sailing teams, who, like us everyday, work on precision of movement to ever improve performance. We saw some great human stories during the Krys Ocean Race in 2012. We look forward to renewing those feelings and sharing with our customers the big time thrills and dreams of this second edition. See you in May 2014 for the start of the second Krys Ocean Race.”
The Sea, the other lung

The Multi One Attitude Foundation, which fights for the preservation of water on our planet and in particular ocean conservation, will be the charity partner of the KRYS OCEAN RACE again. In Brest, from May 3-11, there will be a space dedicated to the Foundation with a set of events and interactions for the public.

 

Two events you should not miss:
– Official presentation of the KRYS OCEAN RACE and the teams at the Paris Boat Show, December 2013
– May 11, 2014: the start of the KRYS OCEAN RACE from BREST to New York City

 

KRYS OCEAN RACE 2014 figures:
– Departure: Sunday, May 11, 2014
– 2,950 miles from Brest to New York City
– Opening of the Brest race village: May 3-11
– Probable arrival in New York City: May 19 or 20
– 6 MOD70s expected to start
– 36 sailors racing
– 850 opticians and their 2500 staff supporting

MOD 70 Musandam - Oman Sail in NYC for the KRYS Ocean Race (Photo by George Bekris)

 

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Oman Air - Musandam (Photo by Lloyd Images)

La Route des Princes. Valencia. Spain. Oman Air – Musandam MOD70 skippered by Sidney Gavignet (FRA) at the start of the first offshore leg from Valencia – Lisbon

Oman Air-Musandam MOD70 gains two points on first offshore leg from Valencia, Spain to Lisbon, Portugal after a good start on Sunday and a fast race to the Benicarlo turning mark and scoring gate.  According to skipper Sidney Gavignet who leads a mixed crew of seasoned professionals and trainee Omani crew, the team has settled in to their watch system and is enjoying the conditions off the coast of Spain.

Sidney Gavignet at start of Route des Princes onboard Oman Sail - Musandam (Photo by Lloyd Images)

“We had a great race from Valencia to Benicarlo,” he wrote from the boat last night as the sun was setting over Valencia. “Then the wind dropped and our lead dropped with it, but we just managed to get our nose out in front a mile from the buoy and won the points! We needed to!

“Then we raced back towards the south again in the setting sun and at moments like this you feel privileged to have such a job!

Oman Air - Musandam Crew Underway (Photo by Lloyd Images)

“All the guys are in good shape, we are into our watch system. Damian [Foxall] and Fahad [Al Hasni] are recovering and Neal [McDonald] is driving with Gilles [Favennec] and Thomas [Le Breton] is trimming the boat. I am writing but I keep an eye on the instruments. I am obsessed with the percentage polar right now and with keeping our performance optimal.

At noon today, the time of writing, the Oman Air MOD70 is sailing at 18knots off Cartagena in the south of Spain and in approx 15 knots of breeze. The six-man team has a 21nm lead on the rest of the highly competitive MOD70 fleet and hopes to hang on to it to gain another bonus point through the Gibralter gate.

Oman Air - Musandam (Photo by Lloyd Images)

 

To stay posted on Oman Sail and Oman Air-Musandam, please go to www.omansail.com

To watch the latest Oman Air-Musandam web clip, click here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d3khSeoMl-8

 

Oman Air-Musandam MOD70 2013 racing calendar

6-30 June: La Route des Princes (Valencia-Spain, Lisbon-Portugal, Dun Laoghaire-Ireland, Plymouth-UK, Roscoff-France)
8 August: Cowes Week Artemis Challenge
11-13 August: The Rolex Fastnet Race
3 November: Transat Jacques Vabre

 

Start of the Route des Princes (Photo by Lloyd Images)

Oman Air-Musandam MOD70 2013 race squad

Sidney Gavignet (FRA) – offshore
Thomas Le Breton (FRA) – offshore
Fahad Al Hasni (OMA) – offshore
Mohsin Al Busaidi (OMA)
Neal McDonald (GBR) – offshore
Damian Foxall (IRE) – offshore
Ahmed Al Hassani (OMA)
Gilles Favennec (FRA) – offshore

Oman Air -Musandam Crew 2013 (Photo by Lloyd Images)

Francois Gabard relentlessly pushing (Photo by FRANCOIS GABARD / MACIF / DPPI / Vendee Globe)

 

Fleet News:

– Sansó on the charge again
– The Last day in the Pacific

Armel Le Cléac’h (Banque Populaire) may not have made any impression on the 263-mile lead of Francois Gabart (Macif) overnight, but he staunched the losses and south of them the other duels ebbed and flowed. Dick-Thomson, Le Cam-Golding and the trio Wavre-Boissières-Sansó are all locked in battle. In the Pacific, De Broc-De Lamotte are living their last day on the largest ocean in the world and gap between the two continues to decrease. They look like forming a new duet as the begin the long climb up the Atlantic, adding a little suspense for the final weeks of the race.

Approaching the latitude of Buenos Aires, Mike Golding (Gamesa) in sixth place, had one of the best nights even though he was only making 12 knots. Ahead of him to the northwest, his arch-rival, Jean Le Cam (SynerCiel), could only average 8.4. Golding, covering 33 more miles overnight, has now whittled Le Cam’s lead to just over 41 miles. Six days ago Golding was 247 miles behind. Both men are now on the edge of an anticyclone, but Golding has benefitted from staying east.

As the road to the finish shortens, the opportunities to strike back at the leader Francois Gabart (Macif) decline. He continues to set the rhythm and though Armel Le Cléac’h (Banque Populaire) kept pace overnight as they pass the north of Brazil in temperatures approaching 30 degrees in the shade, he could make no impression on the deficit. Although he only lost 0.1 mile overnight this time.

Le Cléac’h has been the slightly faster in the last hour, but considering that this time yesterday it was thought that Gabart might slow a little, the ranking may be more depressing. In the last 24 hours the advantage is still to Macif 429 miles against 420 for Banque Populaire. It is a situation that is likely to continue at least until the Doldrums.

Jean-Pierre Dick (Virbac-Paprec 3) and Alex Thomson (Hugo Boss) have been dropped by Gabart with even more ruthless speed. Dick has lost 300 miles in three days and is 708 miles from the leader, but he managed to dig a little deeper away with Thomson. Hugo Boss is now 132 miles behind – compared to the distance to the finish, but they are at about the same latitude, just north of Rio. Thomson’s easterly route, hugging the coast of Brazil, has won him miles on Dick overall and was tactically the best decision for him, the figures are still brutal; three days he was in third place, just 295 miles behind Gabart, now he is 835 miles behind – 540 miles lost in three days.

Dominique Wavre as the sun sets behind Mirabaud (Photo by Dominique Wavre / Mirabaud / DPPI / Vendee Globe)

The international trio are stuck in a permanent fight on their on their own postage stamp in the South Atlantic. Less than 30 miles separates the Swiss Dominique Wavre, the French Arnaud Boissières and the Spanish Javier Sansó after Sansó, the furthest east, won back 50 miles on Wavre overnight.

The Last Days In the Pacific

With 184 and 335 miles to go to Cape Horn, Bertrand de Broc and Tanguy de Lamotte will have a high voltage day monitoring icebergs and deciding on the best time for last jibe before the rock of Cape Horn. De Broc will also be conscious that he is being hunted. In the last four days De Lamotte has won back 130 miles.

Pending his first Horn, De Lamotte sent an email overnight. “Last day in the Pacific before passing Cape Horn … I passed the longitude of Progresso (Mexico, the finish of the Solidaire du Chocolat that I won in 2009 in Class 40 (Incidentally, the boat is for sale …) and also the longitude of Miami (hello to my cousins ​​…)” The two sailors are in a northwest wind of twenty knots.
Behind them, Alessandro di Benedetto is in a north-northwest wind of 25 knots, 1113 miles from Cape Horn.

Watch web tv Vendée Globe LIVE every day at midday GMT to watch the latest news LIVE from the race track.

 

 

ARMEL LE CLEACH' BANQUE POPULAIRE

Banque Populaire (Photo by ARMEL LE CLEACH' / BANQUE POPULAIRE / DPPI / Vendee Globe)

Yann Guichard and The Spindrift Racing Crew celebrate inagural win on the MOD70 Championship (Photo by Lloyd Images)

Yann Guichard and The Spindrift Racing Crew celebrate inagural win on the MOD70 Championship (Photo by Lloyd Images)

 

Winners of the Krys Ocean race in June and second overall in the MOD70 European Tour, Yann Guichard and the Spindrift racing crew triumph in the 2012 Multi One Championship. 
 
Yann Guichard and Léo Lucet appreciate the results all the more because a year and a half ago, the Spindrift racing project was a sporting, technical and logistical idea jotted down on a blank sheet of paper. The boat is solid and reliable, the technical team is competent and expert, and the pure talent of the heavyweight sailing team are the ingredients of certain success. The sleek black and white trimaran showed its mettle throughout the different exercises, from the transatlantic race to the long coastal races, through speed runs and inshore courses. Léo Lucet, executive director of Spindrift racing and Yann Guichard are more than satisfied with this resoundingly successful entry into a class that they sincerely hope will develop and grow internationally.
 
Victors of two of the five legs, two City Race victories, Speed Match victories and bonus points at the departure of each leg, as well as a New York-Brest transatlantic crossing that was achieved in a record time… the whole team on sea and land can be complimented on a remarkable job. “The human aspect of the project is amazing,” states Yann Guichard. “It was a collective adventure, gathering together competencies on the water and logistical talent on land, and it all worked according to the high standards I set. No individual egos or guest stars in this group. I have built a story with people who are engaged and committed to the project, who share my drive and motivation and way of working.”
 
The program for this first MOD70 season was ambitious, with the Krys Ocean Race and the European tour, made to measure for the international potential of a new class of boats that must seduce a host of new partners. “This format is fantastic,” claims Léo Lucet. “It’s an exceptional international communications tool which worked wonderfully in New York and at every European tour city stopover. VIPs and journalists alike were able to sail with us, and the general public, a stone’s throw away from the boats, really enjoyed the show. The objective, which we reached, was to make the discipline spectacular to demonstrate the excellent visibility it offers to sponsors and partners.”
 
“It was a real sporting pleasure,” adds Guichard. “Exhausting, demanding – exactly what we, sailors, want.” Guichard, Lucet and the whole sailing team on the black and white catamaran, Pascal Bidégorry, Yann Eliès, Erwan Tabarly, Jacques Guichard, Sébastien Marsset, Jean-Baptiste Levaillant, Devan Le Bihan, Thierry Douillard, Kévin Escoffier, Christophe André, Frédéric Brousse, Nicolas Charbonnier as well as the team on land, Philippe Echassoux, Tim Carrie, Florent Le Gal, Nicolas Débordès and Astrid van den Hove rose to the 2012 challenge.
 
With its solid team, proven knowhow and indisputable talent on the water, Spindrift racing has climbed the charts in record time. The most immediate next challenge for the young company is to find a partner for MOD70 Nr 05, in order to share strong and motivating values. “Given our results, our media successes and the public’s enthusiasm for this new class, we hope to succeed in this too,” comments an optimistic Guichard.
 
The five trimarans all finished the races brilliantly, with no more serious incidents than the usual encounters with unidentified floating objects. This year Spindrift racing will have sailed some 15,000 miles, with an astounding mean speed of 28 knots last summer. No small feat and quite a reference in terms of dependability.
 
We still aim to progress further”, concludes Guichard, “in all areas – sports, technical, human. We are optimistically and impatiently looking forward to 2013.

Spindrift Racing in Newport (photo by George Bekris)

General classification Multi One Championship 2012
1 – Spindrift racing EUR (Yann Guichard, FRA)
2 – FONCIA, FRA, (Michel Desjoyeaux, FRA)
3 – Groupe Edmond de Rothschild, FRA (Sébastien Josse, FRA)
4 – Race For Water, SUI (Stève Ravussin, SUI)
5 – Musandam, Oman Sail OMA (Sidney Gavignet FRA)

Rank Krys Ocean Race 2012
1- Spindrift racing (Yann Guichard) 
2- Groupe Edmond de Rothschild (Sébastien Josse) 
3- FONCIA (Michel Desjoyeaux) 
4- Musandam, Oman Sail (Sidney Gavignet) a
5- Race For Water (Steve Ravussin) 

Rank MOD70 European Tour 2012
1- FONCIA avec 284 points
2- Spindrift racing avec 282 points
3- Race For Water avec 244 points
4- Musandam-Oman Sail avec 242 points
5- Groupe Edmond de Rothschild avec 228 points

 
 

MOD70 2012 Speed Trials in NYC (Photo by George Bekris)

Musandam's Crew , Skippered by Sidney Gavignet, celebrate winning Offshore Leg 4 (Photo by Mark Lloyd)

 

man Sail’s flagship boat Musandam-Oman Sail hurtled across the finish line in Marseilles today to celebrate their first win of an offshore leg in the MOD70 European Tour and lift them to third overall in the rankings.After battling with light winds from the start of the leg in Cascais on Thursday, the final few hours saw an altogether different struggle as Sidney Gavignet’s triumphant Omani and European crew encountered 35 knot winds which almost caused them to capsize just ten minutes from the finish.“We were going very fast – sometimes too fast,” said an emotional Gavignet.

Musandam - Oman Sail's skipper Sidney Gavignet flashes a smile after winning Leg 4 (Photo by Mark Lloyd)

“It was a bit scary going at those speeds in the black night. We almost capsized in the bay. The wind was dropping but we were caught by a 40 knot gust. The boat reared up – it was so sudden.”

This jolt came on top of discovering as they approached the finish that another 40 mile upwind stage had been added to the 1030 nm course making it an action-packed closing stage to a dramatic leg.

They completed the course from Cascais to Marseilles in 3 days 16 hours 11 minutes and 34 seconds, crossing the line two hours and 23 minutes ahead of second placed Steve Ravussin’s Race for Water and two hours and 45 minutes ahead of sailing legend Michel Desjoyeaux on Foncia.

The result was a great testament to the developing skills of the Musandam-Oman Sail crew, Gavignet said, making special mention of Omani helmsman and trimmer Fahad Al Hasni, Khamis Al Anbouri also from Oman and navigator Jeff Cuzon from France.

“Fahad is a great example of what we are trying to do at Oman Sail. He has grabbed the opportunity of being part of Oman Sail and is running with it.

“He still has a lot to learn but he is becoming a serious offshore sailor, both technically and in terms of his energy. He is very positive and contributes to the team, which for me is almost more important than whether they are good or bad sailors.

“Being part of Oman Sail is a platform for doing something great and he is really making the most of his opportunity.

“We are all making progress especially Jeff Cuzon who has been doing a great job in the nav station. He understands better and better what these boats can do and what is and isn’t dangerous from a navigation point of view.

Crew of Musandam (Photo by Mark Lloyd)

“Khamis came in and replaced Mohsin Al Busaidi for this leg but Mohsin took it the right way and although Khamis was seasick, his energy was impressive. I think he may have been our lucky charm.”

“I am so happy for the team – very proud of them and of our flag,” added Al Hasni.

“I always felt we could win because each time we finished a leg, we discovered something new and added to our experience. In this leg, we discovered we were very fast in the light winds, which has given us a lot of confidence.

“We have beaten some of the best sailors in the world by a long distance and that makes us proud,” said a tired Al Hasni who was planning on a big 24 hour sleep, waking up only when he needed to eat.

For Khamis al Anbouri, it was his first experience of sailing offshore after a career spent mainly racing inshore, during which time, he has posted a win against MOD70 European Tour rival Yann Guichard in the Extreme 40s

“It was my first offshore race and winning the stage was amazing. It shows we are competitive. I was seasick just for an hour but I was able to keep on working because I was so happy to be on board for the leg.

“I love to compete and win especially against these sailors because they are the best. I have now beaten Yann Guichard twice – one in the Extreme 40s and now this.

“It would be nice one day to see an Omani sailor skippering one of these boats and I shall be working very hard towards that aim.”

In Cascais last week, Michel Desjoyeaux, one of most admired and respected offshore sailors in the world commended the Musandam-Oman Sail crew on their progress in the European Tour.

“Sidney (Gavignet) and Oman Sail has improved fast as a team,” he said.

“It’s a very hard job to win because the delivery is very high on all the boats, and because the boats are one design it is difficult to be first.

“My advice for the young Omanis back home is that they have the opportunity today for some of them to sail on the MOD70 but it is the highest they can achieve at the moment. They have to consider that it is a real chance for them but to learn sailing they must sail as much as possible.

“They must sail every kind of boat they can, every race they can and don’t hesitate to take the chance to change boats and sail all kinds of boat, small boats, big boats, boats with full crew, short crew, offshore, inshore to get more experience.”

The Musandam-Oman Sail team will now get some rest ahead of the Marseille City Race which starts on Friday.

 

Leg 4 Cascais to Marseille


1. Musandam Oman Sail finish time: 07h 11m 34s  (3 days 16 hours 11 minutes and 34 2 seconds)

2. Race for Water: 2h 23m 7s from winner

3. FONCIA: 2h 45m 32s from winner

 

Coming up:

28/09: Marseille City Race

29/09: Marseille City Race

30/09: Start of Leg 5 Marseille – Genoa

Oman Sail's MOD70 Musandam skippered by Sidney Gavignet (FRA) crosses the line and wins the offshore leg between Cascais - Marseille (Photo by Mark Lloyd)


Sidney Gavignet and Musandam Crew Celebrate 3 Wins (Photo by Ricardo Pinto / S.A.MOD70)

Sidney Gavignet and Musandam Crew Celebrate 3 Wins (Photo by Ricardo Pinto / S.A.MOD70)

Musandam-Oman Sail, skippered by Sidney Gavignet with his international crew became the third different team to win City Race series in successive stops of the MOD70 European Tour when they triumphed in the sixth race in Cascais, Portugal.
 
Musandam-Oman Sail won three of the six races sailed over three days, almost all in light breeze, which proved somewhat contrary to Cascais reputation for reliable strong winds. Smarting after losing second place to FONCIA in the final half mile to the finish of the offshore stage from Dun Laoghaire at dawn in very light airs early on Wednesday morning, Gavignet and his crew realised then they had a small deficit in speed to Michel Desjoyeaux’s crew. They made changes accordingly and, aligned to steady starting and some strong tactics from Jean Francois Cuzon, have remained very consistent, complementing their three wins with two thirds and a fifth to win ahead of Yann Guichard’s Spindrift racing.

Musandam-Oman Sail collect 12 precious points in the chase for the MOD70 European Tour while second place for Spindrift racing ensures they increase their overall lead in the general classification. 

Race 5
From a race which was contested in only a very light and patchy SW’ly breeze that never topped more than 6kts and faded to almost nothing in areas, Yann Guichard’s crew on Spindrift racing took the winning gun for Race 5 of the City Race series. With Musandam-Oman Sail finishing fifth, Spindrift racing temporarily had the overall series lead by a single point. Although it was Sébastien Josse’s team on Groupe Edmond de Rothschild who made the best start and lead to the first offset mark, on the upwind leg, they ran out of wind pressure in the middle right of the leg.

Spindrift racing and FONCIA chose to stay closer to the Cascais shore where they found some localised acceleration of the wind and were able to round the top mark in first and second.

With the breeze fading and developing big holes, although the MOD70’s moved with impressive efficiency in the light winds, Race Direction chose to halt the race after one round of the triangle course.  This time the triangle course was upwind-downwind as opposed to the downwind-upwind format of yesterday and Friday.

Race 6
It was in Race 6, the final inshore contest of Cascais, that cemented the overall Cascais City Race series for Musandam-Oman Sail, winning by two points ahead of Spindrift racing.

Three boats were called over the start line early, FONCIA, Race for Water and Groupe Edmond de Rothschild.

Musandam-Oman Sail emerged from with the lead and were able to stay ahead around the two lap course.

Race for Water restarted smartly and made a smart good recovery at the top end of the first windward leg. In the end they were able to push Musandam-Oman Sail hard at the finish line.

Results after six City Races
1- Musandam-Oman Sail (Sidney Gavignet) : 10+10+12+12+8+12 = 64 points
2- Spindrift racing (Yann Guichard) : 11+11+9+10+12+9 = 62 points
3- Groupe Edmond de Rothschild (Sébastien Josse) : 12+9+10+9+9+10 = 59 points
4- Race for Water (Stève Ravussin) : 9+12+8+8+10+11 = 58 points
5- FONCIA (Michel Desjoyeaux) : 8+8+11+11+11+8 = 57 points

MOD70 European Tour Standings. After two offshore stages and three City Race series.
1- Spindrift racing (Yann Guichard) 11+47+12+52+11 = 133 points
2- FONCIA (Michel Desjoyeaux) 12+53+10+46+8 = 129 points
3-Groupe Edmond de Rothschild (Sébastien Josse) 10+44+11+41+10 = 116 points
4- Musandam-Oman Sail (Sidney Gavignet) 9+34+8+42+12 = 105 points
5- Race for Water (Stève Ravussin) 8+38+9+35+9 = 99 points

Sidney Gavignet, FRA skipper Musandam-Oman Sail (OMA): “ We are happy, we won three races from six which is pretty good.  It is great, just great. What is good is that we just work on making progress and we did not need to make big progress, but to just keeping making progress step by step all the time wherever you start from and we started pretty low. We lost crew on the first race in Kiel. We broke the daggerboard in Dublin, so we were starting from quite low, and had some problems. But we kept working. We kept the positive spirit and little by little we get more cards to play the game with. What we learned here, if we had those two cards on the way in, we would have been second from Dublin. One is easy we could not pass the battens across in the light winds and the other is speed with the gennaker. So for sure we are making progress and growing in confidence and that affects the others who lose in confidence, we need to keep progressing.
We have a contract with ourselves, we said our goal was to finish mid fleet, so a podium, and it is start. The points for winning here are not much compared to winning offshore, but it’s a step in the right direction. So we are kind of into our stride. We are better organised.
Jean Francois Cuzon is the tactician and does it all. I am just the helmsman. We are still not at 100% confidence and sometimes we are just looking at the others to see how to go fast. I think one thing we have done well is if you want the tactician-strategist to do the job well you have to leave them the space to do it well. For the Omani’s I am sometimes a bit hard on them, over their shoulders, and that is not good because I am not doing my job so well. And I am putting pressure on them, So on the first day we regrouped a little, and each one is doing their job well. Now I let everyone do their job. »

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17/09 
8h30   : Skippers’ Briefing
11h00 : Start Leg 3
18/09  : Arrival Leg 3
20/09  : Start Leg 4 Cascais – Marseille