Packing a punch from the get-go!

Three days before the start of the main event in this fourth edition of the Guyader - Bermudes 1000 Race Brest - Brest, the skippers competed in the traditional Défi Pom’Potes speed runs in Brest harbour. Enjoying particularly favourable conditions, certain crews managed to tease 40 knots out of their steeds! Charal (Jérémie Beyou and Franck Cammas) and FOR PEOPLE (Thomas Ruyant and Morgan Lagravière) finished the day as joint champions. The low-down on an afternoon at high speed!

The sailors were grinning from ear to ear dockside in Brest this Friday afternoon and not just because of the occasional clear spells. Indeed, throughout the afternoon, the 13 boats competing in the Guyader Bermudes 1000 Race Brest-Brest headed out into the Roads area to compete in some Défi Pom’Potes speed runs. Not as demanding or tough an exercise as offshore racing, it gave onlookers a real insight into a sailor’s passion for the sport as they return to the heat of competition. With a relatively shifty 20 to 22 knots of breeze, squalls and flat seas, conditions were perfect to put on a ‘big show’, according to Thomas Ruyant.

“It was all about hunting down the slightest sniff of breeze” (Beyou) 

The sailor from northern France was competing in his first official clash aboard FOR PEOPLE, launched just a matter of weeks ago. mis à l’eau il y a une poignée de semaines. “Today was a lot of fun,” he admitted, notably posting a peak speed of 39 knots: “I think it’s the fastest speed I’ve ever reached under sail,” he enthused. Teamed up with Morgan Lagravière, with Erik Orsenna of the Acadèmie Française crewing, he scored the best time in today’s speed runs (2 minutes and 13 seconds) to win the Défi Pom’Potes Trophy, as well as the best time over 500 metres at an average of 36.55 knots, to secure the Oceania Hotels Trophy.

Last year, just a second separated the first two boats in this competition (Louis Burton finishing ahead of Charlie Dalin). This time, the top two boats were absolutely neck and neck as Jérémie Beyou and Franck Cammas (Charal) also posted a time of 2 minutes and 13 seconds. “The guys on the grinder have smoking arms tonight,” joked Jérémie. The skipper, who is beginning his second season with Charal 2, relished the opportunity to “get their boats flying and nicely trimmed in crewed format. In terms of performance, the boats are similar so it’s all about hunting down the slightest sniff of breeze,” he adds.

“Incredible sensations” (Richomme) 

It’s a sentiment shared by Yoann Richomme, whose Paprec Arkéa made her ‘official’ debut after launching back in March of this year. He only discovered his third place (2 minutes and 28 seconds) on his return dockside: “It’s beyond our expectations! We came into this fairly tired from tweaking the boat, but we had some incredible sensations. We even reached the boat’s record speed with over 37 knots!”

​​“We all have a lot of fun in these types of conditions, beams  Arnaud Boissières (La Mie Câline). “It’s so nice to really go for it as a group,” enthuses Guirec Soudée (Freelance.com). The skippers certainly made the most of the day to invite team members, partners, media, as well as those from their entourage. 

For one duo, the event was also their baptism of fire in an official competition: Canadians Scott Shawyer and Ryan Barkey (Canada Ocean Racing). “It was a major first and it was really great, enthuses Ryan. We do a lot of work in the run up to this type of project and finally being able to reap the rewards of that, at sea, and slug it out with the others, feels really nice.” This is only the beginning though. In two days, at 14:00 hours this Sunday, everyone will head back out to sea for the main event: an offshore course between the Fastnet and the Gallimard waypoint at Cape Finisterre. It’s safe to say that the performances witnessed this afternoon are bound to whet the sailors’ appetites prior to the big day.

Added extra – The local young prizewinners in the Gallimard / Guyader Bermudes 1000 Race writing competition rewarded!

Invited to participate in an writing exercise on the theme ‘The ocean a mirror of our dreams’, alongside the authors from the Gallimard publishing house and the Guyader Bermudes 1000 Race Brest – Brest sailors, the students from the Brest Naval College and the 9-11-year-olds from the city of Brest and the Finistère region produced a wealth of work, which was then submitted to a jury comprising teachers and athletes, presided over by Faustine Merret, Olympic windsurfing champion.

The names of the prizewinners were revealed on 12 April and this Friday 5 May they each received their awards from Erik Orsenna in their own establishments: the naval college followed by the schools of Saint-Vincent and Guérin. The novelist and member of the Académie Française gifted each of the winners, as well as their classmates, a booklet entitled “The sea in poetry’, an anthology by Pierre Marchand and Vincent Besnier, illustrated by Mathilde Aubier. The children of the Ferdinand Buisson school, who were on a school trip today, will receive their awards next week.


Thomas Ruyant (FOR PEOPLE): “It was our boat’s very first confrontation. We had some incredible conditions within the fabulous Brest harbour. It was squally and gusty and we had both our partners and Erik Orsenna aboard. We had a lot of fun today. Together with Charal 2, we’re thrilled to have secured the best time. It’s just perfect! We’re still discovering our boat. The points of sail we had today weren’t supposed to play to our IMOCA’s strengths, so it augurs well for the future. You get the sense that she’s a boat of noble birth. She was making up to 39 knots, which is beginning to be pretty quick for a monohull! In fact, I believe it was my fastest speed. Today had all the ingredients of a showstopping spectacle!”

Jérémie Beyou (Charal 2): “It was a wonderful day. We had up to 22-23 knots of breeze. We were going so fast! We really got the boats flying well and nicely trimmed in crewed format. The Brest harbour speed base is just perfect as the seas are flat. Today, it was important to find the right weather window and it wasn’t easy because the wind strength was fairly shifty. We had a very fine third run. At the end, the wind kind of fell a bit flat. Ultimately, it was a very packed day with these three hours of runs. The guys on the grinder have smoking arms this evening! (laughs) We finished within the same second as FOR PEOPLE. The boats are similar in terms of performance and it’s really all about hunting down the slightest sniff of breeze. We were glued to the scores thoughout all the runs! Even in this type of exercise, it’s fair to say that we prefer to win!”

Yoann Richomme (Paprec Arkéa): “I am very happy with our result.  In fact, it’s beyond our expectations since we only did three runs before going on to do a sail trial. We wanted to save the team’s energy because the main objective is Sunday’s race. We reached the boat’s record speed at over 37 knots with an average of 35 knots for 30 seconds. These runs require a great deal of organisation, but the sensations you get from them are crazy! I finished the second run with my ticker pounding for five minutes. It was amazing. The boat was incredible! We came into this feeling fairly tired from tweaking the boat. It’s been a very hectic period with christening the boat, the sea trials… This is the hard bit, but we’re happy to have nailed a good result without forcing things too much.”

Christian Guyader, President of Guyader Gastronomie: “Last year, I was lucky enough to be aboard Bureau Vallée, which won this speed run event. This time I was aboard Charal, which also posted the best time. Jérémie Beyou’s monohull is an outstanding boat, even though she doesn’t have a galley aboard! (Laughs). Today, we benefited from some very good conditions, with some very fine performances. These IMOCAs are exceptional boats, driven by equally exceptional sailors. At the finish, I was not surprised to see that the top two finished within the same second, which just goes to show the high standard of the machines, sailors and their boat maintenance workers. When you take part in the runs, you realise that a tenth of a second counts. The top teams are really fantastic. It promises to be a battle royal during the main race, which is due to set sail on Sunday.”

Ranking after 7 runs :

1. FOR PEOPLE (Thomas Ruyant – Morgan Lagravière)

1. Charal 2 (Jérémie Beyou – Franck Cammas)

3. Paprec Arkéa (Yoann Richomme – Yann Eliès)

4.FOR THE PLANET (Sam Goodchild – Antoine Koch)

5. Initiatives Coeur (Sam Davies – Damien Seguin)

6. Hublot (Alan Roura – Simon Koster)

7. Maître CoQ V (Jean-Marie Dauris – Julien Pulvé)

8. La Mie Câline (Arnaud Boissières – Gérald Veniard)

9. Freelance.com (Guirec Soudée – Corentin Douguet)

10. Human Immobilier (Antoine Cornic – Jean-Charles Luro)

11.Fives Group – Lantana Environnement (Louis Duc – Halvard Mabire)

12. Monnoyeur – Duo for a job (Benjamin Ferré – Pierre Le Roy)

13. Canada Ocean Racing (Scott Shawyer – Ryan Barkey)