In the 2013 Route des Princes, all the teams are locked in serious competition. After two intense days of racing in Valencia, Spindrift, one of the four MOD70s competing in the European tour, holds second overall race behind Edmond de Rothschild. A rival French competitor, Virbac Paprec, finished third while Oman Air-Musandam, but with a French skipper, Sidney Gavignet, lies fourth.
There was a wonderful spectacle for a Valencia public which came in droves to watch from the beach, but most importantly, this was a highly promising start for the Spindrift crew.
Competing on the famous race area used for the last two editions of the America's Cup, the 70-foot trimarans competing on this Route des Princes were revelling in close quarters competition and wonderful windy conditions.
On the opening Friday, after three races which included a win, Spindrift shared the lead on equal points with Edmond de Rothschild. Despite having to cope with a broken steering tiller on the first race on Saturday, Spindrift still managed to finish in second place overall thanks to a second on the last race what had been a total of six. But the faultless sailing of skipper Sébastien Josse and his Edmond de Rothschild team secured the lead.
Xavier Revil, standing in for Yann Guichard on the helm of Spindrift for the inshore races of this opening regatta of the series said: 'We sailed in fairly tough conditions and the close contact at the buoys was quite tense. There was one very delicate situation when there was contact at one rounding with Jean-Pierre Dick’s Virbac Paprec, who was just beneath us. We had to crash gybe in order to avoid disaster. As a result of this unexpected manoeuvre, while we were head to wind, a tiller broke, which meant we could not get back in the game.'
'The broken equipment was immediately replaced by the technical team, which allowed us to continue to compete in the last two races. That meant results for second day were positive as we progressed through the rest of the races.'
For Christophe Espagnon, tactician aboard Spindrift, the exercise what quite tricky: 'There was a lot of wind today for Xavier’s debut! In terms of positioning, the wind was very irregular and it was a little bit hit and miss with the gusts. But it ended well and we are super motivated for the future.'
Yann Guichard was racing in the Geneva-Rolle-Geneva race aboard the D35 catamaran Ladycat but joins his crew on Sunday morning, back at the helm of the MOD70 Spindrift, for its first big offshore race of the four-leg Route des Princes to Lisbon. Eight multihulls, including three 50-foot trimarans and led by the 80-foot Prince de Bretagne start at 14.00 for the first offshore race to Lisbon.
'I'm really very proud of my team after this first in-shore test,' he said. 'For me the main opponent was Edmond de Rothschild and we have finished just behind them, so the goal has been achieved. I take my hat off to Xavier Revil because he had quite a lot of pressure on his shoulders,' he added.
The MOD70s have 805 miles to race against each other, first through the capricious Mediterranean Sea and then up the Atlantic. They are expected to arrive in Portugal on Wednesday.
There is still a long way to go and the first edition of the Route des Princes promises to be exciting as the level and motivation are high.
Ranking at the end of the in-shore race in Valencia:
1. Edmond de Rothschild (Sébastien Josse) - 54 points
2. Spindrift (Xavier Revil) - 42 points
3. Virbac-Paprec 70 (Jean-Pierre Dick) - 42 points
4. Musandam Oman Air (Sidney Gavignet) - 30 points
Spindrift Racing website
Route des Princes website
by Virginie Bouchet
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11:53 PM Sat 8 Jun 2013GMT
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