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Route des Princes - Spindrift and Actual lead across the finish

by Sabina Mollart Rogerson on 20 Jun 2013
Spindrift wins leg 2 of the 2013 Route des Princes © Marcel Mochet
In the 2013 Route des Princes, out of the warming glow of a luminous Irish sunrise, it was Yann Guichard’s black and white hulled Spindrift which left their rivals fighting shadows as they led the MOD70 fleet across the finish line of Leg 2 early this Wednesday morning.

Crossing the line at 04h 37' 48' TU (05h 37’48' local time Dublin) Spindrift won the 990 miles stage which started from Lisbon on Sunday afternoon, adding 40 race points to the two bonus points that they landed at the Cascais scoring mark Sunday evening. Now the current 2012 MOD70 class champions top the Route des Princes leaderboard by six points from Sébastien Josse’s crew on Edmond de Rothschild.


Dun Laoghaire’s Dublin Bay finish lived up to its reputation among the MOD70 class for delivering cliffhanger finishes. Although Spindrift had a mile in hand with three to go, some of that margin was ultimately eroded by the intense duel behind but they slipped across the line to win by six minutes and 44 seconds.

From third place when they had a deficit of two miles behind last night’s leader Oman Air-Musandam, Edmond de Rothschild, Seb Josse’s team glided through to steal second across the line by just one single boat length – 33 seconds to be exact after 2 days and 15 hours of racing.

Just seven minutes and 17 seconds separated first from third.

For Oman Air-Musandam’s Damian Foxall, Ireland’s top ocean racer, it was not to be the fairytale homecoming for which a plotline seemed to be falling into place yesterday morning when Oman Air-Musandam lead around Fastnet Rock, just ahead of Spindrift racing.

The fleet compressed in lighter winds after the famous rock and, on the dock at the National YC this morning, Foxall admitted this morning that they perhaps lost some small distance when they stood too far out into the adverse current at Tuskar Rock – Ireland’s SE corner between Cork and Wexford – while their rivals stayed inshore.

For Yann Guichard’s ferociously consistent team, which races under the European flag, the triumph marks their first win of this month long tour which takes the grand prix multihulls from Valencia in Mediterranean Spain to Morlaix, France via stops in Lisbon, Dun Laoghaire and Plymouth.

Spindrift finished second in the inshore regatta series in both Valencia and Lisbon and were also runners up on the first offshore Leg 1 from Valencia to Lisbon.

Guichard, who has more than 20 years of multihull racing including a fourth place finish in the Tornado at the 2000 Olympic games, attributes a lot of their success to date down to good all round speed.

'The differences are very small but I think we are fast, we are always focused on the speed of the boat. It was really good from the start to the finish.' Smiled Guichard who, to some degree exorcised memories of a MOD70 finish into here a year ago when they lost out on victory in the final metres to the line.

'It feels really good to win coming in here. We were so pleased to cross the line and win because it was so tough with the other guys. I am happy for us as a team. It was close between us before Cork, downwind with so many gybes to control the other competitors and just after that we just took the lead and since then we just kept the lead to the finish. The wind was very unstable and we were always expecting the northerly wind during this morning and when it went ahead this morning we were OK.'

It proved to be a leg which was certainly richer in strategic and tactical options than the first stage. The transition of a low pressure system on the entrance to the Bay of Biscay required precision timing but all four MOD70’s emerged virtually within sight of each other with fast downwind sailing at speeds of up to 30 knots. On the beat up to Fastnet Rock Sidney Gavignet’s team on Oman Air-Musandam built a small lead again by holding west to use the more favourable current and gain the left hand shift first, but in the reaching and then beating scrap up the east coast last night, the combination of strategy by Spindrift’s excellent navigator Pascal Bidégorry – the only specialist navigator to have remained with the same team since last year – and sheer speed seems to have combined as the winning edge. Oman Air-Musandam’s Foxall and skipper Gavignet both confirmed this morning that they felt that Edmond de Rothschild have a superior speed mode in the light to moderate conditions.

'Edmond de Rothschild were pretty far back' recalled a drained looking Gavignet, 'And I think we just went into the wind range where they are pretty good. They have a powerful mainsail and could fly the hull and we were a bit stuck. But probably we stayed in Spindrift’s shadow for too long and Edmond de Rothschild got back to us. But we kept fighting all the way to the line and almost got them because they missed the last tack. But only almost…'


If the MOD70’s fight to the line proved close, it is the prolonged intensity of the duel between the top two Multi50’s Yves Le Blevec’s Actual and Erwan Le Roux’s FenêtréA-Cardinal which is incredible.

On the first leg between Valencia and Lisbon the duel was between Actual and Lalou Roucayrol’s Arkéma - Aquitaine Region with Actual coming off second best. This time it was Actual who prevailed, taking victory by just five minutes and 10 seconds after 3 days 16 hours 32 mins and 43 seconds of racing on their 1100 miles course which included a scoring mark to the west of Brittany before passing Fastnet which was not a points scoring opportunity for the smaller multis.

The duo separated significantly at Cape Finisterre when Actual went inshore at the DST traffic separation scheme, but they were together again at the scoring gate off the Raz de Sein only minutes apart.

'It was an incredible race! ' grinned skipper Le Blevec who has had past downhill skiing world cup winner Luc Alphand on his crew for the first two offshore legs. Actual won both sets of bonuses, two points at Cascais and Brittany to accumulate maximum points from Leg 2 and lead the overall standings by six points ahead of Arkéma - Aquitaine Region. Roucayrol’s team were handicapped by the loss of their big gennaker which split but lost out when they gambled off the Brittany coast. They finished fourth into Dun Laoghaire some four and a half hours after the leg winners.

Results, Leg 2 Lisbon to Dun Laoghaire:

Multi 50 all times TU (Dublin local time minus 1 hour)


1 Actual, Yves Le Blevec, finish 19/06/2013 06:32:43
2 FenêtréA – Cardinal, Erwan Le Roux - 19/06/2013 06:37:53
3 Arkéma - Region Aquitaine, Lalou Roucayrol - 19/06/2013 11:01:33

MOD70’s

1 Spindrift, Yann Guichard, 19/06/2013 - 04:37:48
2 Edmond de Rothschild, Sébastien Josse, - 19/06/2013 04:44:32
3 Oman Air – Musandam, Sidney Gavignet, - 19/06/2013 04:45:05
4 Virbac - Paprec 70, Jean-Pierre Dick, - 19/06/2013 - 05:12:02

Maxi80

1 Maxi 80 Prince de Bretagne Lionel Lemonchois - 19/06/2013 05:15:10


Yann Guichard (FRA) skipper Spindrift: 'It feels really good to win coming in here. We were so pleased to cross the line and win because it was so tough with the other guys. I am happy for us as a team. It was close between us before Cork, downwind with so many gybes to control the other competitors and just after that we just took the lead and since then we just kept the lead to the finish. The wind was very unstable and we were always expecting the northerly wind during this morning and when it went ahead this morning we were OK. The differences are very small but I think we are fast, we are always focused on the speed of the boat. It was really good from the start to the finish.

I only really realised we could win when I woke up two hours before the finish. I got some sleep to make sure I was on form for the finish. It was not finished really through until the final point when we had one mile in hand and then I really thought we could win this leg.

It is really good to be winning overall but we have to be focused for the inshore races.'

Yves Le Blévec (Actual): ' It was a pretty amazing race with FenêtréA-Cardinal. We did not let go of each other from the beginning to the end, except going to the other sides of the DST at Finisterre but we still came back together again. At the Raz de Sein we were within a few boat lengths of each other and then even again at the Fastnet where he was ahead. He seemed to disappear a little at night and then there he was again in the morning. We spent four days racing alongside each other really. There were times when we just felt we had built a little lead and it was enough for the time being but no, it never stopped.

Fortunately we had Jean Baptist Le Vaillant on board and he took control of them a bit. He worked hard and Luke, Ronan and I were with him. He was the coolest of us all and kept us all a bit more Zen, keeping the pressure down a bit. We had to stay focused and make sure we were making lucid decisions. It went well but it was not easy because it was light in the south of Ireland. Anyway this is nice revenge after the first leg and we lead overall. So that is all good.'

Sidney Gavignet (FRA), skipper Oman Air-Musandam: We put up a good fight but it is disappointing to finish third. But it is OK. We were covered by Spindrift and were very close to them. Gitana were pretty far back and I think we just went into the wind range where they are pretty good. They have a powerful mainsail and could fly the hull and we were a bit stuck. But probably stayed in Spindrift’s shadow for too long and Edmond de Rothschild got back to us. But we kept fighting all the way to the line and almost got them because they missed the last tack. But only almost….I feel tired but it’s OK.

Sébastien Josse (FRA) skipper Edmond de Rothschild: 'We are very happy to get in second. It was such a fight with Oman Air-Musandam over the last 40 miles, we are happy. We are third at 40 miles but had to catch up with speed and got closer and closer. We got close enough to start tacking at them and in the end I think we made five or six as we got closer to the finish line. We were lucky to win the finish line. We spent all night making manoeuvres and trimming so we are tired to get back to the lead, so I think we will sleep all day here.

Damian Foxall (IRL) Oman Air-Musandam: ' It is just important to be first across the finish line so I am disappointed. We all finished within a few minutes of each other and that is a good indication of how the race was, really. There were a lot of chances for everyone and in the end we were just in conditions which maybe did not suit us so much. Near the finish Gitana sailed through us which is pretty frustrating. It is disappointing. But everyone had second chances. I think we did a good job, leading the fleet for a significant part, lead around the Fastnet, had a really good day up the SE coast yesterday. We did not get past Tuskar rock very well we were out in the current a bit and the other guys managed to tuck in on the shore, and then coming up the east coast last night we had a good chance of getting into Spindrift. We figured we might be able to get to them and battle with them to the finish and maybe slide past, but they had a cover on us.

And ultimately the wind died and that seemed to favour Gitana. On the inshore races we have seen them go real fast in those conditions and we just don’t have that mode working well yet. There is a lot to be done. Anyway it is good to be back and in just in time for breakfast. I know a few places to go….!'


MOD70 stats:

Spindrift (Yann Guichard), first MOD 70 into Dublin - Dun Laoghaire:

At 04h 37' 48' TU (05h 37’48' local time Dublin), the MOD 70 Spindrift, skippered by Yann Guichard (FRA), crossed the finish line of the second stage of the Route des Princes (Lisbon-Dun Laoghaire) to finish first MOD70.
Spindrift’s elapsed time for the stage is 2days 15hours 37mn 48sec.

Their average speed over the theoretical course 990 miles is 15.4 knots.

They actually sailed 1178 miles on the water at an average speed of 18.51 knots.

Last Sunday evening, not long after the fleet left Lisbon, Spindrift also collected the two bonus points for passing the C1 mark, by Cascais, in first place. At the second scoring point, yesterday (Tuesday) morning at Fastnet Rock, they lay second 20 minutes behind Oman Air-Musandam.

Spindrift racing now lead the overall standings by six points.

Edmond de Rothschild (Sébastien Josse) second MOD 70 in Dun Laoghaire, Oman Air-Musandam (Sidney Gavignet) third.

At 04H 44' 32' TU, the MOD 70 Edmond de Rothshchild, skippered by Sébastien Josse took second place in the MOD70 class when they crossed the finish line of the second stage of the Route des Princes (Lisbon-Dun Laoghaire) line 6 minutes and 44 seconds behind the first MOD 70 Spindrift.

Edmond de Rothschild’s elapsed time is 2d 15h 44mn 32sec.

Their average speed over the theoretical course 990 miles is 15.37 knots. But they actually traveled 1180 miles on the water at an average speed of 18.51 knots.

Oman Air-Musandam (Sidney Gavignet) with Ireland’s Damian Foxall on board finished across the line in third place at 04H 45' 05' taking 2d 15h 45mn 5sec. Their average speed for the 990 miles theoretical course is 15.37 kts. They sailed 1158 miles at an average of 18.16kts. Oman Air-Musandam finished seven minutes and 17 seconds after leg winner Spindrift and just 33 seconds behind Edmond de Rothschild.
Route des Princes

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