Friday, August 30, 2013

J/120 Rhapsody- Her Fastnet Sailing Story

J/120 sailing fast under spinnaker (La Rochelle, France)- J/120 RHAPSODY V won the Rolex Fastnet Race IRC Class 3 and was third overall in IRC of nearly 200 boats!  Their program was launched two years ago by Jean-Jacques Godet (of the famous French cognac house of the same name) with a largely La Rochelle-based crew.

"It was a family and friends project," explains Tony Pike, manager of North Sails. "Jean-Jacques Godet bought the boat and then he came to see me to buy sails. I helped organize the crew and tried to make good progress."

In particular, they made use of professional sailors in "key positions" as part of the whole crew.  For the Fastnet Race, Tony convinced Yannick Bestaven (hoping defend his Class 40 title in the next Transat Jacques Vabre) to join the adventure.

The La Rochelle team has had a very successful summer racing offshore.  In Cowes Race Week they finished third in class on the Solent (the start for the Fastnet Race).  And, in May they won the Armen Race. So, the third overall finish in  Plymouth illustrates the remarkable progression of RHAPSODY V over the past two years.

It has been a great, heart-warming success for Jean-Jacques Godet, who had aboard his two sons (Maxime and Jean-Edouard). Other Rochelais sailors that were present included Tony Pike, Yannick Bestaven, Florian Floglietti, Augustin Frédéric Ruffle and Leclere.

M. Godet was able to attract experienced professional sailors of Yannick Bestaven's calibre because, beyond just the racing, the enormous numbers of IRC sailors are also potential customers for Bestaven's company-- WATT & SEA-- renown for making high quality, reliable hydro-generators for sailing yachts and offshore racing and cruising boats of all sizes.

Said Tony Pike of their experience, "What we want is that the owner has great fun both on the water and on land. We're here to help tactically, provide information on weather options, help on navigation, and fine-tune sail trim."  Clearly they achieved their goals while maintaining crew cohesion and a family-like atmosphere of cooperation!

The final stage of their season is the "Telegram" Regatta in Lorient, France. Next year the team will be sailing in the entire West Indies sailing circuit in the Caribbean!  For more about Godet's Fastnet experience, please read here.