A fantastic effort from Chris Sayer and Pierre-Yves Moreau, in NZL 403, to win all three legs of The Open Demi-Cle Race.
General Ranking Of The Race (pos 1-3: click for full results):
Rgs Ident. Concurrents Grp/Cl HH:MM:SS Club / Pays
1 NZL 403 (SAYER CHRIS, MOREAU PIERRE YVES) 6.5/PROTO 6j.11:22:23 RNZYS
2 198 KAREN LIQUID (HARDY ADRIEN, LEBOUCHER PIERRE) 6.5/PROTO 6j.20:06:04 A P C C NANTES
3 433 PARIDIS (DOUGUET CORENTIN, HENSEVAL ERIC) 6.5/PROTO 6j.20:22:06 WINCHES CLUB
This is Chris' account of the races:
The race start was just outside Lorient on a perfect day. 10 to 12 knots of wind. We did not get a great start and were on the wrong side of the first wind shift but sailed very well during the first night to be in 2nd place by the morning. It was upwind all the way to La Raz de Sein but from La Raz to the Four (inside Ouessant) was 2 sail reaching. We at this stage we had 265 (Vecteur Plus) just in front and 419 (Legallais.co.uk) and 433 (Paridis) close behind. After the Four we were running with the big Southern Spars spi all morning and slowly we passed 265 only to fall over. We were quickly back in the lead, this time with the number 2 High Modulus spi and going faster. It was a great ride up the coast often hitting speeds of 15 to 18knots. Then it was back to 2 sail reaching for the leg into St Quay Portrieux. We finished 1st with 433 close behind. The windy down wind sailing was costly with Vecteur Plus and Fujifilm breaking their new carbon masts.
The second leg was very light to start with... (cont.)
and the Code 0 was used all the way out of the bay. We had a good start and were in the top few boats from the beginning. It was the big spi for the early part of the night before the new breeze kicked in and we were again beating, often with 198 close by. We just layed past Lizard Point and from there stayed very close to the coast all the way to Lands End to stay out of the tide. 433 led around Lands End but we got our number 3 Spi up first and rolled them. We both did 3 sail changes in a few miles as we rounded the headland and were both soon running with the big spis up. 433 were sailing deeper and not much slower than us and as both PYM and I wanted to stay between them and the finish we decided to pull the pole right aft and to our surprise in the lumpy sea state found that we then had much better VMG. It was a good run all the way to Cardif, only changing to the number 2spi for a while in the Bristal Channel due to stronger wind and 3 plus knots of tide against us. Very nice to finish over an hour ahead of 433, but still with 500Nm to go we were only half way.
Not such a good forecast for the 3rd leg, upwind all the way with very little wind to finish in. Again we got off to a good start and were 2nd boat out of the bay. Once in the Bristal Channel it was just a matter of using the tide while it lasted and then rock hoping while it was against us. Have learnt the lesson as to why one must have detailed charts for racing in these areas nice to know what’s what in the dark!
Daylight found us heading slowly offshore on port tack not even close to laying Lands End. We were in 3rd spot with 433 and 427 slowly passing us, yes weed on the keel; time to go swimming again. We tacked early to stay close to the coast and once the tide changed against us we dived right into the bays often going inside of rocks sometimes with a knot of back edde with us.
After Lands End it was just a matter of slogging to France. Not such nice sailing we were down to 2 reefs in the main and a reefed jib for a while. We had the tide with us going through the Channel du Four but got to the Raz to late and stopped. Not willing to wait for a couple of hours we decided to pass inside of La Plate as it was impossible to get around the outside due to about 4knots of tide and very little wind. Certainly got the heart rate up sailing between rocks in the dark with braking waves everywhere in very light winds while sailing at 4 to 5knots but at times only doing 0.5knots over the ground. Still this gave us almost an hours jump on the next boat.
Due to the fact there was very little wind the course got shortened so we were no longer rounding L'Ile dYeu it was straight back to Lorient. We had enough wind to keep going past Pointe de Penmarch and to within 1.5Nm of La Jument the last mark of the course. There we sat for about 4hours untill finally a puff of wind got us around and once wind the Code 0 up and cracked sheets we were doing about 4knots for the finish. But with just 10Nm to go the wind died again and it was a long 8 or so hours before we crossed the line.
A very nice race, once again with some very close racing. Nice to win all 3 legs. Pierre-Yves Moreau was fantastic to sail with and I hope to sail with him rather than agaist him again one day. The organisation of the race was superb and Locmiquelic, Saint Quay Portrieux and Cardiff great places to stopover.
So no more races for NZL403 this year. It is back to work for me and most importantly, time to find a naming rights sponsor if I am to do the Mini Transat next year. Have to keep trying!
Set sail for Port La Foret in a couple of hours as that is where work starts tomorrow.