In the 2013 Route des Princes, there were parties on June 9 in Valencia, the MOD70 and Maxi80 then Multi50s have completed their tour of Europe land on Sunday afternoon in the Bay of Morlaix, having swallowed respectively 2450 and 2310 miles between Spain, Portugal, Ireland, England and France.
In each class, the fight was beautiful and it was not until the outcome of the fourth and final stage offshore to know the names of the winners of the event. In MOD70 is finally Edmond de Rothschild, Imperial at the races in the first onshore and offshore in the last act between Plymouth and Roscoff, which rises on the highest step of the podium. As for Multi50s is Arkema - Aquitaine Lalou Roucayrol which rises on the highest step of the podium after an incredible three-way battle throughout the course.
After 2450 miles of offshore racing, linking Valencia to Roscoff on the Bay of Morlaix via Lisbon, Dún Laoghaire and Plymouth and 16 inshore short course contests of which they won nine, Edmond de Rothschild are winners of the MOD70 class on the inaugural Route des Princes multihull race around Europe.
Skippered by Sébastien Josse, the Edmond de Rothschild crew won the crucial Leg 4 bonus points at the Roche Gautier mark this morning and then made sure of their overall race victory when they finished first across the finish line of the last offshore stage, the short sprint from Plymouth which started yesterday evening.
In the Multi50 class, the combination of second place into Morlaix and winning the bonus points on the last leg, was enough for Lalou Roucayrol’s Arkéma - Aquitaine Region to take overall victory on the first major race outing for the fleet’s newest Multi 50.
Edmond de Rothschild reigned supreme inshore, winning all the short course regattas contested, in Valencia, Lisbon and Plymouth. Leading by four points going into this final leg, ahead of the Sidney Gavignet skippered Oman Air-Musandam, the key to their overall win was to make sure of winning the 1.5 bonus points granted to the class leaders at the Roche Gautier mark this morning. That all but put victory out of reach of Oman Air-Musandam.
Just as the MOD70 race went to the wire, so also did the Multi5o class but theirs was a three cornered fight for the overall class win. Arkéma - Aquitaine Region’s second place finish this afternoon, added to their points bounty for being first to the scoring mark this morning, ensured they top the podium by 2.5 pts ahead of Erwan Le Roux’s FenêtréA-Cardinal which won the final leg, Plymouth to Morlaix today. The Multi50’s raced 2310 miles over their four offshore stages. Arkéma - Aquitaine Region won the first leg into Lisbon, finished third into Dún Laoghaire, second into Plymouth and second into Morlaix. And at three of the four bonus points opportunities it was Roucayrol’s team which pocketed the points.
Starting last night in Plymouth Edmond de Rothschild had a 4pts lead after winning the final inshores series, that meant Oman Air-Musandam – ideally – needed to win the bonus and win the leg. They lead Edmond de Rothschild but were never able to extend and as they ran across the channel from Wolf Rock to the Roche Gautier mark, Josse’s crew got to the east and were able to extend slightly.
And so as the MOD70’s docked in the new Bloscon Marina in Roscoff the satisfaction was obvious on the face of skipper Josse, whilst Gavignet – correspondingly could not conceal his disappointment. The loss of small points here and there since the 9th June start, was Oman Air-Musandam’s downfall, not least being taxed four points in the protest room in Dun Laoghaire from a relatively innocuous Lisbon start line incident with Spindrift. Josse’s final satisfaction – leading a team stacked with offshore talent and less multihull experience– was to cap their overall victory with an offshore triumph.
'It was a real motivation to finish with no excuses, to win the overall and the last leg.' Said Josse, ' It was a pressure to win the offshore leg. It was frustrating for us because we are offshore sailors. When you see the CV’s there are 15 Figaros, Orange Round the World with Florent Chastel, the Trophy Jules Verne, the Volvo Ocean Race but we never won an offshore leg, until now. We won the inshores and so something felt a bit wrong. So now we are pleased to have won one offshore leg.
Gavignet concluded: 'It is not just down to this last race, it is down to many points that we missed out or lost through the race, here and there. That part of the story of this race has been painful since the start of the race and it is still painful.'
Final standings Route des Princes
1-Arkema-Région Aquitaine, Lalou Ruycorel, 140,5 pts
2-FenêtréA-Cardinal, Erwan Le Roux, 138 pts
3-Actual, Yves le Blevec, 138 pts
4- Rennes Métropole – Saint-Malo Agglomération, 105 pts
1-Prince de Bretagne, Lionel Limonchel, 166,5 pts
1-Edmond de Rothschild, Sébastian Josse 167.5 pts
2-Oman Air – Musandam, Sidney Gavignet, 159pts
3-Spindrift, Yann Guichard, 147pts
4-Virbac-Paprec, Jean-Pierre Dick, 128 pts
Lalou Roucayrol, FRA, Arkéma - Région Aquitaine: 'We had a great run under gennaker between Eddystone and Minquier and really it was fun making 17-18 knots in the fog. It was the best sailing by feel, it felt like we were flying and we really were flying. And that let us get up with everybody again after we got stuck a bit of the start line. We got into the race and got passed them one by one. We passed the Minquier buoy in the lead to get the 1.5pts and then got ourselves into light winds and a bit of sea and it was tough then, but we stalled as little then and Erwan Le Roux got through us into the lead. In fact there was no significant chance to get back at them after that. We decided to stay close to the coast but were fighting the current, tacking with the Code Zero at ten metres off the rocks. It was difficult.
But it is the first event for the boat and the first big win. In total it a great reward for the 17 months of building and 22,000 hours of work. We are absolutely delighted to win, we are on cloud nine really. At the start we felt like we were just going on a training race to learn the boat and so on and here we are winning it. We were not expecting this. This is the result of a lot of hard work by many people. It is really incredible.'
Erwan Le Roux (FenêtréA-Cardinal): 'On this fourth offshore leg I think we had something close to the perfect race. We had to go for it and that’s really what we did. We did well out of Plymouth and attacked on the downwind to Minquiers with a lot of confidence, a little bit ahead of the other guys. But late at night we saw Lalou (Roucayrol) coming up on us, going like a rocket. I think the boat is made for going downwind and we could not do much against them. He did not miss much and managed to steal that infernal bonus points which would have allowed us the chance to win overall. But we did get back at him to win the leg, even if we could not win the Route des Princes overall. We did want to win the leg and pushed it close to the rocks to get out of the current. We did everything that we could. It was nice. I think we showed a good approach and I am very proud of my team. Anyway I am happy for Lalou. His is the new boat in the class and it has been good for him and his sponsors for sure. We kind of feel for Yves Le Blévec who has finished up third, but we will console him together.'
Sébastien Josse, FRA, Edmond de Rothschild: 'It is a good feeling to have won. I said before the start we had something to prove on this leg and we did it. So we were all very happy when crossed the finish line. There was a lot of satisfaction to have won offshore. We made a poor start. After that we stayed really calm on board and just concentrated on working hard. We had four people on the deck all night with no rest. And we just worked to close the gap with Oman and then took the lead. We just got past them when we are in contact with them this morning and pushed them a little bit more and we got to build a gap again. After that it is team work.
I am happy. I probably don’t realise how happy at the moment, it will sink in. It is cool to win the Routes des Princes because I know we have a good crew. We missed out on some result last year. Last year we had the potential but my crew were not multihull sailors. They are younger guys with no big CV in multihull sailing, but the deal was to make the team and grow up together over two years. Last year we did some good things right like the Krys Ocean Race Transat and not so well on the Tour de Europe. This year we know the boat, we have confidence in each other, we have confidence in the shore team. It is a really good. I am really proud because I know that when I made this team it was a good team. But it takes time to grow up together.
It was a real motivation to finish with no excuses, to win the overall and the last leg. On the water there are a lot of things can happen, you can lose the feeling, we lost that less than others and we won the leg.
It was a pressure to win the offshore leg. It was frustrating for us because we are offshore sailors. When you see the CV’s there are 15 Figaros, Orange Round the World with Florent Chastel, the Trophy Jules Verne, the Volvo Ocean Race but we never won and offshore leg, until now. We won the inshores and so something felt a bit wrong. So now we are pleased to have won one offshore leg.
Sidney Gavignet, FRA (Oman Air-Musandam): 'I am feeling a little better than ten minutes ago, better already but I am very disappointed to have come so close to winning but to finish second. It is not just down to this last race, it is down to many points that we missed out or lost through the race, here and there. That part of the story of this race has been painful since the start of the race and it is still painful.
We could have made some better navigation. It was pretty good, but sometimes you have a plan and you don’t execute. We could have done that better on this leg, that is down to confidence as well. You have to be confident to execute your plans.
Our plan was to move to the east of the others on the leg from Wolf Rock and Edmond de Rothschild did that well. We were very close during the night, at two boat lengths, but we could not execute to get to their east. They did. There was more wind there. This positioning, only half a mile, and little by little they got away.
On the inshores we could have been better, for sure. Though all my racing life I have been a poor starter and I feel we are better there. I think we made some good starts which is a result of hard work, but then we did not sail well. On the inshores the other teams are better for having big guys and tacticians for example and for us we don’t improve. We sail better with six than with eight. That is life, I am not complaining.'
Jean-Pierre Dick (Virbac-Paprec 70): 'We got close to Wolf Rock last night and it was a bit stormy and unpleasant and we had a few little suprises. From there we took a bit of a tack which was not so good and cost us. But we came back at Oman Air-Musandam on the downwind and were only seconds behind them at the Roche Gautier mark. But overall it is disappointing to finish third, but we have been close with some of the best names in the game and sailed in contact with them. But then Paris was not built in a day. It will take some time. We have learned a lot. In the transitions we still lack some fluidity and lost a little ground here and there, but hey that is small details. We are a bit disappointed to finish third, but we will move on quickly.'
Route des Princes website
by Sabina Mollart Rogerson
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7:05 PM Sun 30 Jun 2013GMT
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