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Route des Princes - Foxall’s Oman Air-Musandam still out front

by Sabina Mollart Rogerson on 19 Jun 2013
2013 Route des Princes Marcel Mochet / Route des Princes
Route des Princes – For Ireland’s 19th century emigrants who were headed for a new life across the Atlantic in America, the Fastnet Rock became known as Ireland’s Teardrop. But for Ireland’s Damian Foxall this morning, passing the legendary rock was reason for Irish sailing’s most successful export to smile. Gilles Lamiré and his crew of Rennes Métropole - Saint-Malo Agglomération have decided to retire from Leg 2.

Not only did the iconic light mark Foxall’s return to ‘home’ waters, those that he cut his offshore racing teeth on some 20 years or more ago before he moved to France to further his solo and short-handed ocean racing career, but Oman Air-Musandam on which he is racing the Routes des Princes passed the Fastnet with a small, well-earned lead on this second offshore stage which started from Lisbon on Sunday.

Taking the two bonus points at the Fastnet was enough for Foxall’s Oman Air-Musandam to continue to lead the overall standings as the four MOD70’s were set to take on the final 200 miles to the finish, up the SE and E coasts of Ireland to finish off Dun Laoghaire where they are expected very early Wednesday morning

Light and fickle winds, mainly from the west but veering into the north during the night and towards the expected finish time, will make for a challenging final section. This afternoon less than two miles separated first placed Virbac-Papre 70 (Jean-Pierre Dick) from Edmond de Rothschild (Sébastien Josse). With such conditions expected the winner tomorrow could be decided by the final puff or gust before the finish line. Certainly a long last night at sea is anticipated. The time for sleep will be in Dun Laoghaire, especially considering the majority of the crews on the four MOD 70’s will recall that last year’s finish of the European Tour leg into the very same finish line with a similar weather picture saw just 77 seconds separate first from third.

On the 1600hrs UTC ranking, with 125 miles to the finish Oman Air-Musandam were one tenth of a mile up on Spindrift (Yann Guichard).

While the MOD70’s are having a four cornered battle for the honours into Dublin, the fight in the Multi50’s remains a straight duel, head to head to the finish line. Actual (Yves Le Blevec) lead around Fastnet this afternoon in front of FenetreA-Cardinal (Erwan Le Roux). Actual had extended to 2.85 miles of a lead after being second around Fastnet five minutes behind FenetreA-Cardinal at 1220hrs UTC.


Some sixty miles behind them, Arkema-Aquitaine struggles a little with some minor technical problems and Gilles Lamiré and his crew on Rennes - Saint-Malo Agglomeration are about continues 200 miles behind in fourth, so he has decided to retire from Leg 2 and head straight to Dun Laoghaire where he will have time to prepare for the inshore races over the weekend and the round Ireland speed record on Monday.

Maxi80 at 1600hrs UTC
1- Maxi 80 Prince de Bretagne, Lionel Lemonchois, 130.54 miles to finish

MOD70’s at 1600hrs UTC Tuesday
1- Oman Air - Musandam, Sidney Gavignet, 125.69 miles to finish
2- Spindrift, Yann Guichard, +0.11 miles to leader
3- Edmond de Rothschild, Sébastien Josse, + 1.66 miles to leader
4- Virbac - Paprec 70, Jean-Pierre Dick, + 1.85 miles to leader

Multi 50 at 1600hrs UTC
1- Actual, Yves Le Blevec, 164.91 miles to finish
2- FenêtréA - Cardinal, Erwan Le Roux, + 2.85 miles to leader
3- Arkéma - Region Aquitaine, Lalou Roucayrol + 88.63 miles to leader
4- Rennes Métropole - Saint Malo Agglomération, Gilles Lamiré, +269.95 miles to finish

Damian Foxall (IRL, Oman Air-Musandam): ' Last night was pretty nice conditions. Actually thinking back it was very nice conditions, not too rough. We were beating up the western approaches on the wind with a westerly current coming down the west coast and an NE’ly flow coming down the Irish Sea. So fairly early we decided we would favour the left hand side, we would be in the left hand shift approaching Fastnet, and the other guys went the other way. So we basically stepped off a little more to the left this morning to cover them. So we were shy reaching into the Fastnet in good conditions, but had a little bit of a scare – well not a scare but a little bit of a stressful moment before the Fastnet when we we were doing about 28kts and the rudder popped up. It must have hit something soft, like a Sunfish or something, but no stress, we slowed down and put it back in place. These central rudders are designed to kick up and so it was fine. Now it is going really light as we go around the Fastnet and the trick is when we start going NE whether everyone is going out into the SE’ly to try and step across. In the meantime all is going well. It is great to see the green fields of SW Cork and to see the Fastnet this morning.'

On being only Irish sailor in fleet and passing Fastnet in the lead?

' I think I said thank you to Sidney this morning. I certainly don’t take these things for granted. I am very privileged first of all to be racing these boats and also most importantly to be leading the fleet around Fastnet. And of course taking valuable points. Spindrift have got points from the Cascais mark, and we picked up this one. But there is meant to be a race re-start and we can see all the other boats around about us, so it does not really mean too much. We are trying to hang on in what is going to be a very difficult final 24 hours or so, round the SE coast and up the East coast of Route des Princes

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