At the Grand Prix Guyader, there was an stunning terrestrial display of just how completely unique an event it really is. With the presence of Francis Joyon, Michel Desjoyeaux, Sébastien Josse, Yves Le Blévec, Marc Guillemot, Bruno Jourdren, Luc Pillot, Laurie Smith, Jimmy Pahun, Bruno Peyron, Evgeniy Braslavets, Karine Fauconnier, Arnaud Boissière, Tommy Müller, Pascal Bidégorry, Jean Galfione and even his Royal Highness Prince of Denmark, the Grand Prix Guyader is once again host to a truly outstanding line-up at the port of Tréboul in Douarnenez.
The list of championship titles and medal-holders at the Grand Prix Guyader is quite spectacular, as is the sheer variety of nationalities and different classes represented in the competition. This passionate sailing manifestation is largely due to the Douarnenez Bay itself, but it is not the sole reason, as clearly demonstrated this morning by Bruno Jourdren, out on the pontoons without his Classe 40 (still in the boatyard and not able to sail for another two weeks),
'I have come here anyway. This is my Douarnenez week, and with or without a boat I never miss the Grand Prix. I’m going to try and get onto another boat as crew to make the most of the Bay all the same.'
A little luckier, Sébastien Josse on his MOD 70 Groupe Edmond Rothschild was delighted to be back in Douarnenez,
'We don’t come here nearly enough, and the Grand Prix is really great, a real sailing festival. And also ‘God’ is here and we are all his apostles!' The God in question is of course the one and only Michel Desjoyeaux, skipper of Foncia and the rival of Sébastien Josse or ‘Jojo’ in MOD 70, also going by the name of ‘professeur’.
'This is the fifth time I have come to sail on the most beautiful bay in the world and be alongside all the greatest champions in an absolutely fantastic atmosphere,' said an enthusiastic Arnaud Boissière, racing in Imoca on Akena Vérandas.
The Multi50 class has the most numerous fleet among the offshore boats. 'It’s great!' admitted Yves Le Blévec (Actual), 'we are all in great form, happy to be here and guaranteed the best sailing battles out on the water and the best nights out back on land.'
In the Dragons Gérard Blanc was the first Frenchman in yesterday’s classification (FRA 409). Due to lack of wind today he was still leading the French teams after no racing was held, and explained he had travelled almost 1500 kilometres to come to the Grand Prix Guyader, 'for the atmosphere and people.'
So, it is not just the racing that draws the sailors to Douarnenez, and a good thing for them and the Grand Prix Guyader, since today the beloved sailing battles were not possible for the whole fleet. Today the bay was the perfect image of a Swiss lake, a great big beautiful and calm blue lake, gleaming in the sunlight.
The offshore boats (Class40, Multi50, Imoca, Mod 70 and Idec) were the first out to the race course this morning at around 10.30. Race Committee President Loïc Ponceau, was able to hold a short 18-mile coastal race in spite of the lack of wind (3-4 knots). Three different starts were given, the first at 12.56 for the Class40, followed by the Multi50 and then the 60 foot and others.
After three hours of laboured racing, Foncia, Michel Desjoyeaux’s MOD 70 crossed the finish line right before the port of Rosmeur. The Dragons had a long wait in brilliant sunshine but after a few attempts, Jean Coadou decided to throw in the towel and the 75 participants returned to the port without racing.
Grand Prix Guyader website
by Veronique Guillou Le Bivic
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8:38 PM Thu 3 May 2012GMT
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