Different point of sail, different pace


Different point of sail, different pace


After setting sail early yesterday afternoon on a 1,280-mile sprint across the Atlantic, the thirteen duos competing in the fourth edition of the Guyader Bermudes 1000 Race Brest – Brest had a tricky first night, upwind, with very light airs and some significant currents to deal with, especially around Le Raz de Sein. Within this context, the daggerboard boats were able to hold off the foilers at the head of the fleet, before the latter powered ahead as the wind kicked back in shortly before the passage around the ‘Tout Commence en Finistère’ waypoint. 

Leader Charal 2 skippered by Jérémie Beyou and Franck Cammas rounded this virtual mark shortly after 15:00 hours local time this Monday before opening her sails slightly and continuing on towards the Fastnet lighthouse, which the front runners are expected to reach tomorrow, between 08:00 and 10:00 hours.

As forecast, the first few miles of racing in this fourth Guyader Bermudes 1000 Race Brest – Brest have been complicated due to a very light breeze accompanied by strong currents on the nose offshore of the tip of Brittany. “We powered off the start line aboard La Mie Câline. Unfortunately, after that we weren’t very inspired. We wanted to pass through Le Raz de Sein, but there was no longer any breeze and the current was simply too strong. We plugged on though, losing contact with the head of the fleet. In the early hours, we pulled on the helm to hunt down a pronounced wind shift, but it never happened. The grib files weren’t very in line with one another, so we had to adapt and some came off better than others,” commented Gérald Veniard, who got off to a blistering start, but was quickly overtaken by several of his rivals, starting with Benjamin Ferré and Pierre Le Roy (Monnoyeur – Duo for a Job), Scott Shawyer and Ryan Barkey (Canada Ocean Racing) and then Louis Duc and Halvard Mabire (Five Group – Lantana Environnement). 

These three crews with their daggerboard boats sailed a great race during the first night at sea. “Strangely, it felt as if we weren’t very quick. We sailed fairly high and things didn’t go too badly. The foilers found it hard to get the right angles for making headway. With our daggerboard boats, we had a slight advantage in that regard,” commented Louis Duc, who’s clearly already found his feet aboard this ‘new version’. “It’s a steep learning curve. Since the end of this winter’s refit, there have been a great many changes. We’re feeling our way around to find out when we need to put in a reef and when to change headsails… We’re doing lots of tests, but it seems to be going well,” explained the skipper from Cherbourg, with less than 15 miles between the leaders after 24 hours of racing. “Starting the race on a beat wasn’t very pleasant, but it’s great to see the fleet still bunched together so tightly!” says a delighted Louis Duc.`

En route for Fastnet

It’s the same picture for Benjamin Ferré (Monnoyeur – Duo for a Job). “We’re in the match, which is great. After a day at sea, we’re in the leading group with Charal 2, FOR PEOPLE and FOR THE PLANET. Our start has really paid off. It was a bit daring to set sail on port tack, but it came good. We managed to find a nice little vein of breeze to slip through, but it was a bit full-on. It earned us a spell on the top spot and allowed us to make good headway in a dying wind,” explained the former Mini sailor, who led the way for a considerable time before handing over the reins to Jérémie Beyou and Franck Cammas in the early morning. The first to tack in the wind shift associated with a small front, Charal 2’s men adjusted their layline slightly to make the ‘Tout Commence en Finistère’ waypoint with ease.

They led the way around the first course mark at 15:18 hours, just twelve minutes ahead of their closest rivals, Thomas Ruyant and Morgan Lagravière on FOR PEOPLE. Right now, the front runners are on a reach. Naturally pleased to have been able to open up their sails a little, the course as far as Fastnet won’t be as simple as it might appear. Indeed, there’s an extremely shifty W’ly wind together with a small ridge of high pressure, which translates as a series of wind shifts of up to 40°and numerous sail changes. “On this tack, we’re unlikely to have any straight-line trajectories. We’ll adapt them according to the conditions in a bid to remain quick and pull on the helm at the right moments,”  commented Jean-Marie Dauris (Maître CoQ V). The event’s weather consultant Christian Dumard confirms this scenario. “The wind is set to lift and then head. It won’t be easy.

The racers will have to be constantly on top of the trimming if they are to maintain a constant speed, so there are likely to be some gaps opening up between them.” The most experienced duos are sure to be more at ease and the foilers will be able to lengthen their stride more than the older boats. The good news for the latter is that this tack between 80 and 120° from the wind won’t drag on too long as the wind is set to reach up to 18-20 knots along the course, so the front runners are likely to make landfall at the legendary Fastnet lighthouse between 08:00 and 10:00 hours on Tuesday. 

Quotes from the boats:

Morgan Lagravière (FOR PEOPLE): “Everything went well on the first night. We’re continuing to find our feet on our beautiful machine. It was a lovely night with the moon and we had a lot of fun. We put in a long tack on port with FOR THE PLANET and Charal 2, which was a little bit more at ease than us. We’re beginning to get into the swing of things aboard and all’s well. We’re a few miles from the ‘Tout Commence en Finistère’ waypoint. From there, we’re going to switch onto a different point of sail. We’ve been on a beat since the start, so it’ll be nice to ease the sheets a bit before rounding Fastnet and hooking onto a building breeze. We’re very happy to get the chance to discover the new boat and we’re enjoying learning about how to trim her and the different aspects of performance. We’re in a dynamic phase.”

Yoann Richomme (Paprec Arkéa): “We’re on the discovery phase with this boat. As such, we got a bit left behind at the start of the night as we didn’t really know how to get the machine making headway in very light airs. Right now, things are going better. We’re managing to keep pace with the IMOCAs around us. We had a good nap this morning, so we’ll be fairly rested after the waypoint. The sea is gradually building. We’re making between 18 and 20 knots. We’re settling into life aboard and discovering how things work down below in the boat. We’re trying to find the layline that gets us to the waypoint. It’s not obvious, because not all the grib files agree. We’re coming up to a zone with lighter breeze, but we don’t have a very accurate position on that. Once we’ve gone around the virtual mark, it’s likely to be very light for a few hours, before increasing for a fairly quick reach to the Fastnet.”

Sam Goodchild (FOR THE PLANET): “We’ve just passed the ‘Tout Commence en Finistère’ waypoint and we made the most of the opportunity to overtake Monnoyeur – Duo for a Job whilst she was manoeuvring. We reckon we’ve got Paprec Arkéa in our wake, but the visibility isn’t great. It’s all grey. Other than that, all’s well aboard. The desalinator has been causing us grief and we’ve had to do some DIY, but everything’s okay!”

Team Canada Ocean Racing: “We have just passed the first course mark. After 24 hours of racing, we’ve crossed tacks with a number of boats and we’ve managed to hang onto them, which we’re thrilled about. Passing the first waypoint just behind the first daggerboard boat is a real positive for us. The fact that we’re in the same group as Maître CoQ V and Initiatives Cœur shows that we’re not too far off the pace for an older boat. All that remains now is to see if we can hang onto the latter during the long reach up to Fastnet.”

Order of passage at the ‘Tout Commence en Finistère’ waypoint

1. Charal 2 (Jérémie Beyou -Franck Cammas) on 8 May at 15h18’17 after 1d 01h 18min 17s of racing
2. FOR PEOPLE (Thomas Ruyant – Morgan Lagravière) at 15h31’04 – 1d 01h 31min 04s
3. Monnoyeur - Duo for a job (Benjamin Ferré – Pierre Le Roy) at 16h17’31 – 1d 02h 17min 31s
4. FOR THE PLANET (Sam Goodchild – Antoine Koch) à 16h20’31 – 1d 02h 20min 31s
5. Paprec Arkéa (Yoann Richomme – Yann Eliès) at 16h31’39 – 1d 02h31 min 39 s