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Magic Marine Solo Nation's Cup at Yacht Club de Carnac - Day 1

by Will Loy 13 Jul 12:42 PDT 13-16 July 2019
Magic Marine Solo Nation's Cup in Carnac day 1 © Will Loy

Day 1 dawned with the sun piercing through my transparent curtains, a faint waft of breeze soothing my already glowing face. I shed my North Sails pyjamas and grabbed my reassuringly expensive Goretex long john; if the breeze was up, I would be ready.

My 15 minute shuffle to the club took me past the purposefully built hotel lake where terns continuously swooped to pick off insects while a solitary Cormorant sat atop its plinth with wings outstretched. The wind shadow across the eastern quadrant of the stagnant pond confirmed that WindGuru was right again. The forecast was for the wind to swing west during the afternoon so the PRO was taking no chances and demanded that sailors stay off the water and near the bar until it had stabilised. With the tannoy blaring out some cool vibes, friends reacquainted and language barriers were overcome as the fleet sat and enjoyed the ambience of Carnac YC. After two hours the AP was dropped and the 80 sailors headed out to the bay with the breeze at 5-6 knots.

Race 1

The course would be sausage-triangle and just one lap which worked out just about right in the overall race time target of 45-50 mins, though it would be significantly longer for those at the back.

With the breeze still tracking west there was no surprise that the first effort was recalled and, following say 20 minutes of delay or twelve Tuc biscuits in my case, the fleet were away.

The split across the bay was one that a 360 panoramic shot would have trouble catching in full, such was the distance from one side to the other. James Boyce controlled the fleet to the top after popping out with Charlie Cumbley a third of the way down the line and tacking back to cover the main bunch.

The next three around were Martin Honnor, NED 600 Marleen Gaillard and Andy Fox who had spent the previous week acclimatising. Certainly a good reason to come here a week early next time. Rich Lovering, Pete Mitchell, Richie Bailey and Ted Bakker NED and first beat specialist Patrick Burns completed the top ten.

The leeward gates were busy but Madame Babet was on hand with her whistle and scary face which kept the sailors from being naughty. Boyce extended on the next beat while Bailey, who had gone further right than Cumbley, moved into second. Gailliard, Honner and Mitchell held position while Fox and Burns waved the fleet through as they soaked down to the wing mark. The positions remained unaltered but Lovering had, at one stage, been ahead of Mitchell... unfortunately he had been whistled which must have cost him a point and maybe later some pints.

Race 2

Breeze down to 5-6 knots but with some pressure building upwind. This time Cumbley would lead into the top after playing some shifts up the middle of the course, conservative but minimising risk. Those that chose the right would face a series of yellow boys which were for oyster pots so a further problem to negotiate.

Back at the front and it was Nigel Pybus who would be centre stage at last, rounding behind Cumbley and ahead of everyone who took the mick out of his singing career. Alex Butler, Honnor, race 1 winner Boyce, Mitchell and Hans Duets NED were next with Tunnicliffe, Mark Maskell and Mark Lee completing the top ten.

The run and leeward gate was evenly negotiated as the breeze increased to 10 knots while the sun still poured down on the competitors and race team. I splashed some of the Atlantic over my golden parts, flexing what muscles I have left to try and be at one with the fleet. My driver Yannick and Drone pilot Blake looked out to sea, doing their best to avoid eye contact.

With the triangle completed the finishing order was Cumbley, Boyce, Butler, Honnor and Mitchell which meant that overnight James Boyce would be leading the Nation's Cup with defending champion Charlie Cumbley second and Martin Honnor third. Joao Rodrigues POR is a creditable eighth with Han Duets NED tenth. Alex Butler is, I believe, first Junior in 14th, and Marleen Gaillard is first Lady in 29th.

Tonight the fleet will meet for an informal welcome though the allure of the local restaurants that surround the town of Carnac are very tempting.

Results available at: www.yccarnac.com/national-solo.html

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