Friday, July 13, 2018

APCC Voiles Sportive Top French J/80 Sailing League

French J/80 National Sailing LeagueMoriceau’s Team The Best in Brest Big Time!
(Brest, France)- Eighteen sailing club teams from across France participated in the first of three events in the 2018 French National Sailing League, supported by the F.I.V. (French National Sailing Federation).  The first regatta was hosted by USAM Brest, the next in La Rochelle by Societe Regate La Rochelle, and the third the SAILING Champions League qualifier in St. Petersburg, Russia from August 3rd to 6th.

Of the eighteen sailing clubs from across France, the three principal Brest clubs were participating- Societe Regate Brest, Crocs L'Elorn and USAM Brest.  Five teams were from Normandy- Club Voiles Saint Aubin- Elbeuf, YC Granville, YC Cherbourg, and the two Le Havre clubs- Societe Regate Le Havre and the Societe Nautique Pointe Le Havre.  Interestingly, five of the clubs are from the inland lakes, such as Club Voiles Saint Aubin-Elbeuf.

Day 1- Friday
It was around 12:30pm that the first race was launched under the beautiful sun off Brest. Picture perfect conditions awaited the eighteen crews in the northeasterly winds of more than 10 knots.

With a great big blue sky, the theme for the day could have been “Tropical Brest sailing” for the entire day. Twelve races were sailed, divided into four “flights”, each of the crews sailed four races.

French woman skipper at J/80 Sailing LeagueLast year, both sailing clubs from Le Havre (SNPH and the SRH) ended up tied at the end of the sailing league series, with NHP finishing in fourth place ahead of their rival club. This year, nothing has changed except the regatta location! Even far from their homeport, the two Le Havre clubs put on a good show and this time it was the crew of the SRH that took the lead with an amazing 1-2-1-2! Incredibly, behind them it was three-way tie on 7 pts each for second place between APCC Voiles Sportive Nantes (1-1-2-3), CV St Aubin- Elbeuf (2-2-1-2), and SNP Le Havre (1-1-3-2).

The Daily ”SAP" Statistic
121 meters. That was the distance where APCC Voile Sportive- Nantes team beat their closest opponent to the finish of the second flight of Flight 1. A considerable difference, when we know that the courses are rather short! Clearly, the people of Nantes are in Brest to get the win!

The Tactical Maneuver of the Day
That award goes to the young crew of YC Mauguio Carnon. Despite their fatigue, they arrived at 5am in Brest after more than 10 hours of driving on Friday to get to Brest! And, lack of experience in the J/80, the southerners made their talent speak for themselves, especially during a very nice maneuver during the 2nd race of the 1st Flight.

5th at the 1st mark, the crew of YC Mauguio Carnon managed to "slip under the buoy" to take the inside and pass three competitors. Then, by managing to slide below them on the starboard gybe, they managed to prevent them from being able to gybe as leeward boat. Holding them past the layline to the leeward mark gates, they gybed first and forced their opponents to gybe after them and, thus, to line up behind them. As a result, they took 2nd in the race!

Dolphin checking out J/80 sailing off Brest, FranceDay 2- Saturday
After an idyllic first day with perfect conditions in the Brest Bay, the 18 teams were back on the race track for another day of near perfect sailing conditions.  The goal was six races for each team!

At the end of the day, a big sun and a gorgeous northeasterly wind between 10 and 15 knots permitted the six races per team and a total of 18 races!

In the lead after the first day, the SRH's Le Havre fell behind on the rankings. On the contrary, their rivals at CV Saint-Aubin Elbeuf had a hot start with three bullets in three races!

Last night's arrival of Pauline Courtois, just off her podium at the Finnish WIM Series stage, was good for the CVSAE crew! But, despite this perfect morning, the CVSAE has the same number of points as APCC Voile Sportive.

Total suspense at the top of the rankings! The SNPH from Le Havre just one small point behind the leading duo, and just two points ahead of the crew from CV Saint-Quentin.

The Daily ”SAP" Statistic
31 seconds. During Flight 8 Race 2 was particularly tight. The 6 boats arrived almost at the same time and only 31 seconds separated the winner, the APCC Voile Sportive de Nantes, the 6th, USAM Brest. For comparison, during the same Flight, in the other 2 races, the gaps between the 1st and the 2nd were 51 and 52 seconds!

J/80 sailing league- Brest, FranceThe Tactical Maneuver of the Day
Flight 5, race 1. In regattas, it is often said that a good start is 50% of the job done.

The crew of CV Saint Aubin Elbeuf was able to prove it in the first race of the day. At 50 seconds before the start, the positioning of the boats suggested that the line was favorable to the right. At 30 seconds from the start, the CVSAE luffs to slow down, and not to arrive too early on the line. This maneuver forces the boat of the CV Saint-Quentin to luff too to not be penalized (the leeward boat being a priority over the windward one).

By a sort of "domino effect”, the crew of SR Brest is obliged to luff, too, and must wait for the boats to sink downwind. Priority, is therefore, the CVSAE that can afford to "trigger" its maneuver at the appropriate time. This is what the crew does 5 seconds before the start. They leave with more speed than the others and with two competitors in their backwind. A high-class departure!

J/80 sailing off Brest, FranceDay 3- Sunday
The third and final day of competition started off with a postponement on another beautiful day, but no wind!

Sitting ashore, here was an interview with regatta leaders- Edouard Champault (APCC Voile Sportive - Nantes):

What was your feeling about yesterday's conditions?

EC: Good races yesterday with still very good conditions. A little less wind than the first day, but the sun and no rain was great. It is very satisfying for us to be in the lead overall. The wind was there, too, so it was perfect!

How do you approach the last day of racing today?

EC: Today, it's much softer in the wind, so we'll see. Otherwise, no particular strategies.  The goal being to finish in front of as much as possible and look for the points!

J/80 woman crew hiking hard- Brest, FranceLike the previous two days, the sun showed brightly in the morning. But, the wind was again a “no show”- a complete “glass out” across the bay.

However, by 12:15pm a light breeze blew into the Brest Bay and allowed the Race Committee to launch two more flights and a total of six races.

In the light airs, the Nantais team from APCC Voile Sportive, led by Simon Moriceau and Pierre-Loïc Berthet, worked miracles and benefited from a poor performance by the crew of the CVSAE during Flight 11 (3rd place) to take the lead in the overall standings before the last race of the weekend.

It was a happy coincidence that both boats were in the same race during the 12th and final flight, which obviously gave a superb show on the water!

The Normans tried "to get" their rivals in the starting procedure (see "The Maneuver of the Day below), but the Nantes managed to get off the start, win the last race and first place overall!

French J/80 National Sailing League winnersAs a result of this regatta, APCC Voile Sportive Nantes and CV St Aubin-Eleuf have qualified for the SAILING Champions League Finale in in St. Moritz, Switzerland. In addition, SNPH (Le Havre) and the CVSQ (Saint-Quentin en Yvelines) have qualified for the second semifinal of the SAILING Champions League, scheduled from 3 to 6 August in St. Petersburg, Russia.  If these two teams finish 1st and 2nd, they also qualify to go sail the SCL Championship in St. Moritz, Switzerland!  “Vive La France”!

The Tactical Maneuver of the Day
Last Flight, Race 1. The most anticipated race of the weekend. One of the few battles between the two regatta leaders and, most importantly, making for a dramatic finish to the regatta!

Sitting just two points back in second place, the Normans of the CVSAE knew they had to put one or two boats between them and their rivals- the Nantais of APCC Voile Sportive.

Their goal was to “destroy” the start of their opponents. At 1:30 from the start, the CVSAE were “hunting” the APCC and made a 180 turn to put themselves in front of their bow. Cédric Château, the CVSAE helmsman, then managed to pass under his opponent, who then found himself in a delicate position, because the Normans then have the opportunity to “close the door” by putting their bow next to the stern of the RC boat. The APCC must wait until the Normans bear-off to start their race. But, just as Cédric Château turns to cut speed and cut-off APCC at the line, two other boats are battling in the immediate vicinity of the RC boat! He found himself obliged to pass under these boats. The APCC used that opportunity to slip through a mouse hole near the RC boat and to jump across the starting line at the gun and enjoyed a clear air start!  Luck?  Skill?  Perhaps.   At the first crossing between the two boats, it was the Nantes APCC team that had the advantage and who, in turn, "scored” a direct attack on their opponent, tacking on top of them with no escape! Real match-racing!

Not surprisingly, the winning team included a French J/80 Champion sailor as its skipper- Simon Moriceau.  His team members for APCC Voile Sportive were Simon Bertheau, Paul Medinger, and Pierre-loic Berthet.   Watch the French J/80 Sailing League video highlights on Facebook here.   Follow the French J/80 Sailing League on Facebook here.   For more French J/80 Sailing League information Add to Flipboard Magazine.