MOD70 European Tour Leg 1 – Dramatic grand finale

MOD70 European Tour 2012
Chris Schmid/Spindrift Racing
MOD70 European Tour Leg 1 - In a nerve wrecking, dramatic grand finale in Dublin Bay three big MOD70s trimarans battled in light air shortly after 1am last night.

After 1.238 miles of hard sailing in five seas, from Kiel in the Baltic sea, through the North Sea, the English Channel, the Irish and the Celtic seas no trimaran managed to create a decisive gap. On top of the fleet since rounding the northern tip of Denmark, Guichard’s Spindrift racing knew that anything could happen until the very last miles. Little did he know as he sailed past Land’End with a five miles edge over Foncia that the final décision would come within the Bay of Dublin. As the wind progressively died on him, both Foncia (Michel Desjoyeaux) and Groupe Edmond de Rothschild (Sébastien Josse) closed up on the big black and white trimaran. As the very light breeze shifted to the south west, it is Michel Desjoyeaux who very cleverly managed to slip to windward of Spindrift racing, making good his escape by a couple of hundred yards. Guichard and his five men crew fought to the last yard and ended up in second place, 31 seconds behind Foncia.

The crew’s disappointment only lasted a few minutes as the European Tour goes on without respite. Tomorrow will see the start of the Dublin City races. These short courses regattas have been very much to the liking of Guichard and his men. A chance to dispute Foncia’s leadership at the overall ranking.

Yann Guichard, skipper Spindrift racing: 'That was a pretty nice finish, three boats within one hundred metres of each other, but we would have preferred to have come in first ahead of Foncia! Foncia passed us at the finish and there was just nothing we could do. We knew that we would hit a wind hole towards the finish and then we did manage to get out fifty metres ahead but they passed us to windward downwind and were just faster in the light breeze. They really sailed well. Us leading boats managed to break away and maintain their margins except for on the finish.

We were in the lead pretty much from the start and this is really what makes these boats so special. We are very close on speed and that after four days of being at sea we come in within two minutes of each other is pretty impressive. We are a tiny bit disappointed, but then we could just as easily have come in third, so we hold on to the second place just behind Michel.?There pretty much was every type of condition, upwind downing, strong wind and then all those course marks that needed to be respected with the intense and fast sail on the south coast of the UK where we would sail right up close to the piers and shave the rocks almost like on the Figaro. It was a great race with a good high speed sailing with some changes so the fleet would open up and close up. We did the right thing sailing on the southern course, it was interesting but now we are all pretty shattered.?We have to go off in three days and have not yet thought about the weather. It is going to be pretty taxing over the course of six weeks but also lots of fun. Being consistent and working hard is what is going to count to win the European Tour.?We had a small issue with our central rudder, which means that we head off to the right, but will try and resolve this problem.'

Ranking of Leg 1:
1. Foncia (3d 10h 49m 9s)
2. Spindrift racing (+31 s)
3. Groupe Edmond de Rothschild (+ 1m 17s)
4. Race for Water (+ 35m 16s)
5. Musandam-Oman Sail (+ 1h 34m 51s)

General results:
1. Foncia (65 pts)
2. Spindrift racing (58 pts)
3. Groupe Edmond de Rothschild (54 pts)
4. Race for Water (46 pts)
5. Musandam-Oman Sail (43 pts)

Spindrift Racing website
MOD70 European Tour website