Wednesday, May 22, 2013

COURRIER DUNKERQUE J/80 Grand Prix Ecole Navale Champion!

J/80 one-design sailboat- sailing off France (Brest, France)- The 12th edition of the Grand Prix Ecole Navale produced an "upset" of sorts in the French hierarchy of J/80 sailing, one of the largest regional one-design keelboat classes in all of France.  With hundreds of J/80s sailing in France over the past decade, it takes top teams years to migrate to the top of the class and maintain a continuum of success that is not easily achieved.  Last weekend, that status quo was upset by a relative newcomer to the J/80 class in France.

J/80 one-design sailboats off FranceAs if destined to win from the very beginning of the vent, COURRIER DUNKERQUE, skippered by Vincent Vandekerkhove managed a great performance to finish first and second in the last two races of the final day of racing, reserving their place atop the J/80 podium as Champions of the GPEN event!  In fact, they never looked back after the first two races, taking their place in the lead spot and never finishing out of the top ten in eight races!  Vandekerkhove dethrones Eric Brézellec and crew on INTERFACE CONCEPT who won the last three editions of the event.

J/80 one-design sailboat sailing upwind off FranceThe balance of the podium was comprised of Brezellec's INTERFACE CONCEPT in second place, winning a tie-breaker at 35 pts over fellow team-mate Simon Moriceau's INTERFACE CONCEPT 2, who had to settle for third place. The rest of the top five saw a brilliant performance by Bernard Hughes on ESPOIR PAYS DE LA LOIRE, sailing to a 3-3-1-3 in the first four races, only to "fall from grace with the sea"!  Their next four races were anything but brilliant, having to tack on a BFD-8-13-8 to drop them to 39 pts net, good enough for fourth overall.  Fifth is past J/80 champion Luc Nadal on GAN'JA with 44 net pts.

After four days of intense racing in the harbor of Brest-Morgat Crozon and Camaret, the 177 boats of the Grand Prix Ecole Navale and their 711 crew members completed their competitions on the last day in a moderate westerly flow of 10-15 knots.  Conditions were warmer than the day before and greatly appreciated by competitors after some cool days beforehand

The Grand Prix Ecole Navale event once again confirms the dynamic combination of expertise of the Naval Academy, the Navy and the French Sailing Federation, together with the participation of many volunteers Nautical center of Crozon-Morgat and Club Léo Lagrange de Camaret, led to fantastic regatta organization and on-the-water race management for one of the most famous in European yachting events.
Sailing photo credits:  Pierrick Contin- Jacques Vapillon-    For more J/80 Grand Prix Ecole Navale sailing information