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J Composites 2020 - LEADERBOARD

Doublehanded J/99's triumph in Duo Cat-Amania!

by J/Boats 10 Jan 2020 23:29 PST
The Duo Cat-Amania © Sylvain Huet

The Duo Cat-Amania, the premiere doublehanded offshore regatta in France, was hosted by the Yacht Club Crouesty Arzon (YCCA). An amazing fleet of fifty doublehanded teams participated in the event. The regatta is a combination of round-the-buoys plus point-to-point offshore racing legs. The 2019 edition started in Crouesty and headed to Quiberon. Then, from there they headed to Lorient. Next leg was then to Concarneau. Then, the fleet returned to Morbihan, with a stopover in Locmiquélic, then La Trinité-sur-Mer, then back to Le Crouesty for the finish and the awards party!

The J/Team contingent was well-represented in the week-long regatta. The winner of the 2018 edition, Philippe Girardin, was putting his title at stake on his J/120 HEY JUDE. The winner of the 2019 Armen Race, the duo of Philippe Baetz and Yves Chuberre on the J/112E MUSIX was anticipating a competitive outcome. Then, the two J/99's, both new entrants to the race, were hoping to match the competitiveness of their "J" stablemates.

In the end, the J/99 J-LANCE 14 sailed by Frederic Bouvier and Benjamin Dutreaux took the silver, while the J/99 GRASSI BATEAUX sailed by Olivier Grassi and Frederic Duthil took 5th place, then the Baetz/ Chuberre duo on the J/112E MUSIX ultimately finished 8th, counting a bullet and a deuce in their scoreline. Girardin's J/120 HEY JUDE managed a 13th in the tough fleet, bracketing their six-race regatta with a 1st in the initial race and a 4th in the final race. In short, it was an amazing performance across the board for the J/Teams. Here is how it went down over the six-day regatta.

Day 1

The first stage sent the fifty teams on a 38.0nm course from Le Crouesty to Port-Haliguen, Quiberon. It was a gorgeous day for sailing, with 15-20 kts of breeze under clear and sunny skies. Reveling in the conditions was the 2018 Duo Cat-Amania winner, Girardin's J/120 HEY JUDE, winning the initial race quite comfortably.

Jean-Philippe Cau, President of the UNCL, commented, "It was a super pleasant day. We left on time, with perfect conditions and a perfect course. There were boats everywhere in Quiberon Bay that we have crossed several times. Going to La Vieille on such a day is really great. These are real beautiful images, regattas like this one we would like to do more often. Clearly, my friends on the J/120 loved the conditions and managed to fare well. The teams paid dearly for just the slightest error in this kind of fleet."

Day 2

The second stage between Quiberon and Lorient was a very light air affair. Due to a complete "glass out" in the morning, the AP postponement flag was flown and the fleet was forced to motor under engines from Port-Haliguen for 40.0nm to just outside the harbor of Lorient. At that point, the PRO waited for a seabreeze to develop and around 1500 hrs, a wind of around 5.0 kts arose to permit the Race Committee to setup a basic 9.0nm course between Isle Groix and Lorient. As a result of a 5-4 after the first two days, the duo of Bouvier/ Dutreaux on the J/99 J-LANCE 14 were sitting in second place.

Day 3

The third leg of 38.0nm from Lorient to Concarneau was sailed in a light, but stable wind around 10 knots. There were a few surprising changes in the standings on what appeared to be a somewhat simple tactical/ navigational leg. The race proved to be the undoing of the J/99 J-LANCE 14 duo, posting their worst race of the regatta with a 20th. Nevertheless, they still managed to hold onto the bronze position at this stage of the regatta since everyone else was having an even harder time to maintain any degree of consistency.

Day 4

After a general recall, the competitors sailed another 44.0nm race in very light winds around 5 knots. It was a test of patience for virtually all of the teams as they made a loop around the Glénan archipelago and sailed under spinnaker to Guidel, where the Race Committee shortened the original 50.0nm course and sent them directly to Locmiquélic. The day was long and the competitors arrived at the port at the end of the day just before sunset!

Crushing the fleet was the Baetz/ Chuberre duo on the J/112E MUSIX. On elapsed time, they beat everyone home by more than thirty minutes and on handicap time won by a comfortable margin.

Commenting on their good fortune, owner/skipper Baetz said, "today was my day! We made good choices that paid off and we made a huge gain in the middle of the course. The boat is doing very well this season, after a podium finish at SPI OUEST-France and a victory in the ArMen Race in IRC B, I am delighted. With Yves (Chuberre), we never train as a doublehanded team, but he is part of the crew. After a few days of racing, we are taking automatic steps and no longer make the mistakes of the first days. Fortunately, there are a few days like this!"

Maintaining their position on the leaderboard was the Bouvier/ Dutreaux team on the J/99 J-LANCE 14, posting a well-deserved 4th to stay in contention for overall fleet honors.

Day 5

The fifth stage was sailed from Locmiquélic to La Trinité-sur-Mer. Under a strong sun and in a wind passing from very light in the morning to 20 knots by the end of the day, the duos completed a course of 46.0nm.

Taking advantage of these ideal conditions, the Race Committee sent them to do some sightseeing. A true tour of the splendors of the Morbihan coasts: a tour of the islands of Groix, the Birvideaux, the Foals at Belle-Ile, and finally the Béniguet, before reaching the finish line at La Trinité-sur-Mer.

Quiberon Bay proved to be a challenge for the J/99 J-LANCE 14 duo of Bouvier/ Dutreaux. Nevertheless, they pulled off a 3rd place by the finish line to hang on to 2nd place overall.

Day 6

After six days of racing along the Morbihan and Finistère coasts, the teams were ready to head back to the starting point of the regatta- Le Crouesty. Leaving Friday morning from La Trinité-sur-Mer, the fleet completed a 16-mile course in Quiberon Bay in around ten knots of wind. It was a beautiful finale, sunny, moderate breeze, and a nice way to close out the regatta.

Perhaps the most joyous celebration was that of the Bouvier/ Dutreaux duo on the J/99 J-LANCE 14; winning the final race by a comfortable margin! Finally, all that practice during the regatta paid off! As a result, the J-LANCE-14 J/99 team took home the silver. Also celebrating their final race good fortune was the Baetz/ Chuberre duo on the J/112E MUSIX, taking second place and making it a sweep of the top spots by J/Crews on the final day! That result enabled MUSIX to finish in 8th place. The other J/99, Grassi/ Duthil's GRASSI BATEAUX sailed a very consistent regatta after their first race debacle of 28th place, closing out the event with a 12-3-6-8-7 for 64 pts and taking 5th place!

Bouvier commented on their successful regatta. "All the races counted in the general classification," explained Fred. "Despite one bad decision in one race- a 20th- we always finished in the top 5 in front of larger sailboats than ours. In medium wind conditions, which normally favor large boats, we were successful and we managed to keep a good pace. Our second place reaffirms the versatility of the J/99 at all wind speeds and in all weather situations. The J/99 is a well-designed sailboat that is fully in tune for doublehanded sailing. The level of competition was extremely high in this year's Duo Cat-Amania. We are also delighted with the fifth place of another J/99, Olivier Grassi and Fred Duthil's GRASSI BATEAUX."

Perhaps most significantly from a competitive standpoint, this quartet of J/Duets beat out a number of "professional factory teams" from the following camps- JPK (960, 1010, 1030, 1080), Beneteau (Figaro 2s) and Jeanneau Sunfast (3200, 3300, 3600). For example, finishing in 6th place behind the two J/99s was the much-vaunted Daniel Andrieu design, the new Jeanneau Sunfast 3300 SAPRISTI (Daniel was sailing with Nicolas Andrieu- both professionals). And, another much-acclaimed boat in European offshore circles, the JPK 10.30 LEON (winner of the huge IRC 3 Class at SPI Ouest), was raced by her builder/co-designer Jean Pierre Kelbert (Mr. JPK), managing only a 9th place. In short, the all-around J/Boats designs were simply superior on every point of sail in a wide variety of weather and sailing conditions.

The Crouesty Arzon Yacht Club thanked its partners and volunteers for their commitment and support which made the regatta a great success. More Duo Cat-Amania Regatta sailing information here.

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