Wednesday, June 15, 2011

J/80s & J/24s Grand Prix du Crouesty

J/80 one-design performance sailboat- sailing off France
(Crouesty Arzon, France)- It was a busy day for the 113 competitors in the Grand Prix when they started the regatta, nearly 50% of the fleet were J's- 42 J/80s, 7 J/24s, the J/97 J-LANCE in IRC 4, 3 J/109s in IRC 3 and the J/122 JOLLY JOKER in IRC 1.  "We are satisfied with the number of boats. We have very high quality sailors here, the best are present in J/80 and with 42 boats it should be very good racing," said Jacques Fily, President of YCCA.

The weather was absolutely perfect for the sailors.  Saturday, there were 3 races that were contested in a wind of ten knots and under a bright sun. The race committee abandoned late in the day the fourth race due to an unstable breeze.  For Sunday, there were 3 races also in a wind of between 15 to 25 knots and large seas, offering magnificent surfing downwind.  By Monday, there were two more races to settle out the winners in the Grand Prix, sailing in winds of 8-10 knots, a masterful job running the races by PRO Jean-Paul Vallegand.

J/80 one-design performance sailboat- sailing in waves off FranceFor the J/80s, it was clear the fleet was decidedly too eager to do battle on Saturday. First start was a general recall, then black flag with eight competitors having to pay the cost, including Eric Brezellec's Interface Concept 2.  Under these competitive conditions, consistency is an important asset and it is no surprise that Voilerie All Purpose, led by local Sylvain Pelissier was the winner of the first day with two second places and one fourth place. They were followed by Atlantis (Laurent Sambron).

By Sunday, it was clear that Pelissier's team were not going to easily sail away with the gold medal.  Laurent Sambron sailing ATLANTIS sailed beautifully on the windy Sunday to tie Pelissier with 12 pts after six races.  Lying with striking distance of these two was Eric Brezzellec on INTERFACE CONCEPT 2 with 9 pts.

J/80 one-design performance sailboat- sailing past French markHowever, on Monday the VOILERIE ALL PURPOSE team skippered by Sylvain Pelissier with crew Sébastien Simon, Damien Changey and Joris Cocaud were going to win by sailing so consistently compared to their competitors.  The ATLANTIS crew of Laurent Sambron and INTERFACE CONCEPT 2 sailed by Eric Brezellec completed the podium.  "For us it is a fantastic opportunity to sail with Sylvain, he teaches us so much each year," said the crew made up of youth aged 20 to 21, who usually sail F18, 420 and match racing . "We won only one race, but it pays to be consistent," says Sylvain, who won only  b a little bit, but fully enjoying the pleasure of beating the invincible Eric Brezellec, the early favorite to win the regatta.

In the J/24s, is became a "jackpot for MARTA".  At the beginning, MAJIC sailed by François de Herce was an early contender for the lead, having won a race on Saturday.  However, Pierre-Antoine Lemaistre and his classmates sailing MARTA were eager to get going on Sunday morning to enjoy the big breeze and big waves.  Sure enough, they won three straight races. With big smiles on their faces, Pierre-Antoine commented, "We had top speeds of 12 knots, we were never getting in trouble at the roundings. First race? Impeccable. Second race? Impeccable. Third race? Impeccable! Yes, it was an impeccable day! For us, it's conditions we dreamed about! The race committee was really great, we wish to take our hats off, it was just a fine day!"  After that extraordinary day of sailing, MARTA ended up winning the J/24s in "grand prix style".

Also sailing impeccably was Didier Le Moal on-board his SPI Ouest-France winning J/97 J-LANCE-R.  Didier's team started out winning the first race on Saturday and never looked back.  J-LANCE-R won their IRC Class 4 in "grand prix style" as well, winning their class by a large margin.   For more Grand Prix Crouesty sailing information