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Arkema 4 on the starting line of the Pro Sailing Tour "Final Rush"

by Arkema Sailing 2 Aug 2021 01:45 PDT
The Ocean Fifty Arkema 4 © Vincent Olivaud / Arkema Sailing

Following episode 3 Las Palmas de Gran Canaria at the beginning of July, the Ocean Fifty class is preparing for the final episode of the Pro Sailing Tour: the Final Rush, due to set off from Toulon on 1st August heading for Brest. A long and demanding 1,600 nautical mile course that will decide the overall winner of this first edition of the Pro Sailing Tour at the end of a week's sailing. A mere 4 points behind the leader in the provisional general classification, Quentin Vlamynck and his two teammates hope that Arkema 4 will clinch the top step of the podium.

As fierce as a lion!

Following episode 3 around Las Palmas de Gran Canaria at the beginning of July, skipper Quentin Vlamynck and his teammates Raphaël Lutard and Étienne Carra ferried the Arkema 4 trimaran to the Mediterranean for the last episode of the Pro Sailing Tour. Team Arkema Sailing decided to make the most of the three weeks separating the two events by challenging the famous records of the Griffes du Lion, set by Kito de Pavant, from Port Camargue. "Sailing to the Mediterranean was not straightforward. We were sailing into the wind virtually all the time, and had a pretty tough night sailing into Port Camargue. Nevertheless, we learned a lot because these are typically conditions that we don't like to sail in!" Quentin Vlamynck explains. "Especially as it was one of the first major outings without Lalou!"

Following several outings in an idyllic setting and two attempts in the Tartine Cup - a sprint event between Port Camargue and Beauduc -, on 26 July the Arkema 4 crew secured a new reference time for the Griffes du Lion by covering the 20 nautical miles in 49 minutes and 10 seconds at an average speed of 24.16 knots. "We reached 27-28 knots for the first 12 miles, but the wind then clearly dropped for the rest of the course. This was still enough for us to break the previous record set by Pierre Mortefon in windsurfing. We really enjoyed this summer interval in Port Camargue and are already planning to come back next year to try other records." Now moored in Toulon, the Arkema 4 trimaran is ready to tackle the Final Rush of the Pro Sailing Tour.

Hunter on the hunt

In second place in the provisional general classification just 4 points behind Leyton, Quentin Vlamynck knows that he will have to fight to overtake Sam Goodchild's crew: "To take the overall lead in Brest, we'll have to finish ahead of Ciela Village and we need Leyton to finish two places behind us. After these few weeks sailing in the Mediterranean, we have come to grips with the specifics of this enclosed sea and the unreliability of the weather charts!" The first and major part of the 700 nautical mile course to Gibraltar will be very open strategically speaking as there are no mandatory marks along this part of the course. "This will clearly unlock the game of strategies, and it's highly likely that the fleet will split into two or three groups. For now, the forecasts show downwind conditions as far as the Balearic Islands, followed by a large high-pressure zone..." With no outside help for routing permitted, Quentin, Lalou and Étienne will have to run their own routing onboard the trimaran during the race and allow time to analyze the weather forecasts.

After sailing across the Mediterranean, it will take at least two days if not longer for the fleet to sail north off the Spanish and Portuguese coast. With wind and a big swell, in other words favorable conditions for the Ocean Fifty Arkema 4, the fleet will enter the Bay of Biscay for a final race to the finish in Brest.

"Winning the final stretch won't be enough to win the Pro Sailing Tour. The final result will also depend on the ranking of our competitors in this last leg. We will give our most faced with a fleet that is determined to fight it out! This promises to be a closely-fought battle on the water!" Quentin Vlamynck concludes.

The crew of Arkema 4 in the Final Rush:

Quentin Vlamynck, skipper
Lalou Roucayrol, co-skipper
Étienne Carra, crewmate

Pro Sailing Tour Ranking:

1. Leyton - 22 points
2. Arkema 4 - 18 points
3. Ciela Village - 15 points
4. Primonial - 12 points
5. Solidaires en Peloton-ARSEP - 11 points
6. Groupe CGA - 1001 sourires - 8 points
7. The Arch - 3 points

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