Please select your home edition
Edition
SOUTHERN-SPARS-OFFICIAL-SUPPLIER-52-SS 728-X-90 TOP

Groupama Race: First spinnaker start in history, and fleet recovers after strong southerly

by Nic Douglass 20 Jun 03:04 PDT 19-25 June 2022
Eye Candy and Poulpito have been neck and neck since the start - 2022 Groupama Race © Nic Douglass @sailorgirlHQ

The forecast for the start was a low pressure system with a front bringing gusts of up to 30 knots from the south. The 160 sailors all prepared for it, but what eventuated was a light northerly.

The seventh edition of the Groupama Race got away under spinnaker, for the first time in the history of the race.

The parade of colourful spinnakers delivered a magnificent spectacle in front of the 3,000 visitors present at the Rocher à la voile, or "Sailors Rock" in Noumea.

The start was won at the windward boat end of the line by Tosot Climitisation Ketal, a Sunfast 3200 and double-handed entry, and at the leeward end of the line by local favourites, BCI Brer Fox, a Miller 40.

Antipodes took the lead soon after the start, but it was Rushour who rounded in first position for the "Parade of Sail", a lap of the Harbour to involve the spectators.

In the battle of the Sydney 38s it was Eye Candy who won the first battle, leading the "Parade of Sail", the second battle however, to round Amedee was won by Poulpito MFS FCD; and the battle continues on both line honours and in the minor IRC placings.

Dock out show (English)

Live start (English)

Out at sea on day one

After clearing the lagoon, the first tactical dilemma arose for the fleet. It split into two around Ile Ouen. The majority aimed to use the favourable currents of the Woodin Canal, while the other half, including the multihulls in particular, bet on a more regular offshore wind.

Current line honours leaders Rushour took the offshore route, while Antipodes opted for the inshore.

The offshore route was the higher risk option, but those brave enough to take it reaped rewards, including Oceans Tribute - making good speed around the bottom of the island to move into the mix for line honours; particularly successful though was Poulpito MLS FCD, extending significantly in the Sydney 38 battle.

Of the double-handers, Motorboat II led Clockwork on line honours, after a back and forth dance throughout the "Parade of Sail" in the lagoon, another reaping rewards having opted for the offshore route around Ile Ouen.

A rough first night

At sunset on the first day, the 160 sailors on the 21 boats were hit by the front that was expected for the start, encountering heavy seas and winds varying between 25 and 35 knots while skirting the south of Grande Terre via the Havannah canal.

While many reported varying degrees of wear and tear, for the Australians of Ocean Tribute, the night was reported to be an "exciting ride". On board, everyone was impressed by the number of supporters present at Rocher à la voile to watch the start.

Once again the sailors were presented with a tactical dilemma;

    1. Opt for the direct rhum line along the coast, and thereby sail the shortest route possible.
    2. Continue towards the North-East and lengthen the route hoping for more wind offshore.

The majority of the fleet chose to move away from the coast.

This appears to have paid dividends for the multihulls. The Australians onboard Rushour, who opted for the most extreme trajectory, extended their lead on Line Honours overnight.

An individual distress beacon was triggered on board the Australian vessel Antipodes. Unreachable by VHF or satellite telephone, and continuing its course with an unchanged trajectory, a rescue operation was initiated with the MRCC in conjunction with the PC Course. Three sailboats were thus diverted for several hours, and rescue means implemented by the Maritime Rescue Coordination Center of New Caledonia. Around 0200 hours local time, the boat was able to be contacted, and the doubt on the whereabouts of the crew person was dissolved. The distress beacon had been triggered by mistake.

All of the sailors have been reminded that "each boat must maintain a listening watch on channels 16 and 77 from the start to the end of the race" as in Sailing Instruction 15.5.

Current leaders and heading into night two

While we all know that corrected time positions are continually changing, for most of the day, Tosot Climatization Ketal has led on IRC overall. They were one of the boats who chose to go inshore, with the more direct route perhaps playing to the strengths of the SunFast 3200.

BCI Brer Fox the Miller 40 is in second, while the three Sydney 38s, Guilty Pleasure (Speed Marine), Eye Candy and Poulpito MLS FCD are continually changing (but at the time of writing) w. the same distance from the next mark in the far north of Grande Terre, the big loser of the night being Axians Untouchable, who were in the lead at the start of the evening.

Line Honours is still held by Rushour a custom Drew 15, and fellow catamaran, Kalolo a Looping 56 GP is the first New Caledonian boat.

The wind continues to vary, as it has done most of the day, between 10 and 15 knots. The boats are still under spinnaker and are progressing in a much calmer sea as they head toward the north of the Island.

Recap of the start & Day one update (English)

Day two update (English)

Tracking is available here

Related Articles

America's Cup: Match dates released
AC37 Event Limited (ACE) have confirmed both the intended race area and the race dates for the Ameri AC37 Event Limited (ACE) have confirmed both the intended race area and the race dates for the America's Cup Match 2024. The 37th Match will start on October 12, 2024 and racing is scheduled to October 27, 2024. Posted today at 8:56 am
Cup Spy Nov 29: American Magic flies high
Motorsport mogul Roger Penske drops in on American Magic. USA and Italy clock up big miles. Motorsport mogul Roger Penske drops in on American Magic, and brings a fresh breeze to Pensacola Bay. USA and Italy clock up big miles on the water in Pensacola and Cagliari. Who will be the first to a 100nm day? Posted today at 6:39 am
Moth Worlds at Buenos Aires, Argentina day 1
Dylan Fletcher wins the only race on a light wind day The 2022 Moth Class World Championship, organized by the Yacht Club Argentino, got off to a slow start waiting for the wind. With 39 participants from 9 countries, the first day of racing had been eagerly anticipated. Posted today at 6:19 am
18ft Skiffs: Andoo sets the benchmark
A polished performance in difficult wind conditions in the NSW Championship opener The Andoo team of John Winning Jr, Seve Jarvin and Sam Newton have set a high benchmark to the rest of the 18 footer fleet competing in the NSW Championship, following a polished performance in very difficult wind conditions on Sydney Harbour last Sunday. Posted today at 6:10 am
Team Malizia's sailing crew is complete
And ready to compete in The Ocean Race Yann Eliès and Axelle Pillain join Boris Herrmann, Will Harris, Rosalin Kuiper, Nicolas Lunven and Antoine Auriol for The Ocean Race 2022-23. They will compete with the brand new IMOCA race yacht Malizia - Seaexplorer. Posted today at 12:41 am
Bacardi Cup and Star Class launch U30 Program
Partnership to support young Star class sailors For 2023, Bacardi in partnership with the Star Class is launching a focused commitment to the next generation of Star Class through the Bacardi Cup U30 Program. Posted on 29 Nov
Catherine Chabaud has double reason to celebrate
After Rhum Mono Class Second Place Catherine Chabaud completed a successful, popular return to ocean racing when she finished the 12th Route du Rhum-Destination Guadeloupe in second place in the Rhum Mono class. Posted on 29 Nov
GKA Kite-Surf & Hydrofoil-Freestyle Worlds overall
Brodel's brilliance - trail blazing to another Hydrofoil world title The Frenchman blazed his way to another hydrofoil world title, landing two moves for the first time in competition along the way. Posted on 29 Nov
Project Landspeed: Heading back to the drying lake
The land speed team will head back to Lake Gairdner this weekend and the prospect of 200km/h runs The land speed team will head back to the lake this weekend to set up for what is hoped will be a couple of weeks of dry lake speed runs in breeze forecast to be 20 knots + to help work Horonuku up closer to the 200km/h mark. Posted on 29 Nov
Golden Globe Race lifesaving regulations
Asteria sinking, lessons to be learnt Many people talk about the eye watering effort GGR entrants make to meet the tough safety and qualifying requirements of this gruelling mind game called the Golden Globe. When all the boxes are ticked, they finally receive a "green card". Posted on 29 Nov
Cyclops 2022 November Load Pin FOOTERHyde Sails 2022 Wuzzos - FOOTERJ Composites 2022 - J45 v4 FOOTER