FRA and RUS tied at the top, with GBR hot on their heels at the Laser SB20 Eurocup

FRA and RUS tied at the top, with GBR hot on their heels at the Laser SB20 Eurocup

The Laser SB3 Eurocup fleet was thoroughly tested with four races today, the second day of competition for this second stage to the Grand Prix Ecole Navale in Morgat. In contrast to yesterday’s sun and light airs, the Bay of Douarnenez today saw overcast conditions and rain, with 20+ knots gusting through the 20-boat fleet, resulting in mainsails flogging and a few boats struggling to stay on their feet during the kite hoists.

After six races there is a tie at the top, with both DIRECT SAILING (Thomas Rouxel, FRA) and TEAM RUSSIA (Rodion Luka, RUS) so far scoring 12 points (after one discard), British boat DOOLALLI (Colin Simonds, GBR) lies in third on 14 points, with RIGGING GURUS (Mark Richards, GBR) fourth on 18 points.

Rouxel and his French crew, which includes fellow Figarist Eric Peron, had the best of the day with three wins, coming sixth in race four whilst the bullet went to the Ukranian helm of TEAM RUSSIA, Rodion Luka, who also picked up a second, third, and fifth.

The day was marked by lots of place changes with skippers attempting to play 20-degree shifts up the beat, then hoping to catch the gusts downwind for more overtaking opportunities. Several boats picked up penalty turns attempting to lay the windward mark and squeeze in amongst the pack, and as the crews returned to shore on-water arguments were being resolved over the promise of an onshore beer!

Other incidents included an unscheduled swim for one member of crew on ‘SAIL ARMY – ENGINEERING’ in between races, a minor injury onboard HUTTONS as the crew wrestled with the loaded spinnaker halyard, and a quick repair job LIESL II, who made a brief pitstop to repair a broken halyard.

However the most dramatic day belonged to Chris Darling and crew on DARLING ASSOCIATES, when the spreader bracket on their mast broke before the first start. The team made a hasty return to port where, with the assistance of some tools from Belgian crew TACKTONIC, the local French chandleries and organizers, and a bit of measuring against the Russian boat, there were able to fashion a replacement part from steel, re-step the mast and return to the racecourse in time for race five. Apparently unfazed, the team scored a second place, and then went on to repeat the score in race six.

This evening the crews will be able to relive the day’s races as eight boats were carrying Race-Trax GPS trackers, which recorded their course enabling it to be replayed after racing on a giant screen. The competition resumes tomorrow morning with another full day’s racing scheduled.

QUOTES (GBR unless mentionned)

Thomas Rouxel (DIRECT SAILING):
“In such weather conditions as we had today we really need to work on the fine tuning of the boat, although the boat was lent to us by Direct Sailing in very good shape, Eric Peron and myself have the experience of sailing on very different boats so we adapt fairly quickly. Tomorrow we should have a bit more wind, it should be a little bit more right-handed, but it will be very unstable in direction and when we are in the pack it’s very tight racing. Tomorrow we’re going to try to play the shifts correctly, because when it’s so shifty it’s difficult to be in control.”

Rodion Luka (TEAM RUSSIA):
“The French did very well, and I hope for tomorrow we can do better, because I feel like we still have a lot of potential, making too many mistakes. We broached maybe three times today, and we had to do a 360 (penalty turn), so it was quite tough. The first two races were really good, and then we have some things to develop further. But it’s okay, we finished in the top three about from one fifth, so not too bad. I like this kind of shifty conditions, you have to think – it’s not all about boatspeed, and it’s more fun. Of course we don’t have too much advantage because our team got together not a long time ago, so we just started sailing together, but we are happy with our speed and I call the tactics – that’s how I always sail. We beat the British team in every race today I think, so tomorrow we’ll focus on the French!”

Chris Darling (DARLING ASSOCIATES):
“We went out for the start of the first race and hardened up, and then Bang! The spreader bracket broke, so we sailed in and we were thinking we’ll be going home. But we found a piece of steel that we could use to fix it with. So we de-rigged, took the mast out. Alastair Shaw, who’s our onboard engineer came in very handy, he basically fashioned a new spreader bracket, and then we riveted and bolted it on, taped it up, re-stepped the mast, hoisted the sails… and we were just in time for the third race! We managed to have a good start and we were pretty much second place all the way round. The last race, the fourth, was really exciting because we were about ninth at the first mark but downwind we managed to get up to second, and then we had a proper ding-dong with the Russian boat and the French boat Thomas Rouxel. It was very close all the way round, three boats just a couple of lengths apart. So we managed to get two second places, just when we were thinking it was regatta over, so it’s really been a memorable day. The French organisers were ever so helpful, I think we’ve got to go and buy quite a few beers now.”

Peter Saxton (ROLA-TRAC):
“I’m knackered! It was very good racing – very irritating because it was very difficult! Things would look good, but with 20-30 degree shifts going upwind you would be underneath it on minute, and then you’d be on top of them, and bands of breeze downwind. We could kind of ignore the bits where we went from 5th to 3rd, but the bits where we went from 3rd to 7th were very upsetting! Just all over the place. The same old guys still seem to be doing quite well, we’re just too inconsistent at the moment. Up the left-hand side of the beat was quite choppy, I think that was the attraction of coming inshore, but then if you happened to be on the wrong side of the shifts… And there were some quite big lulls as well, it’s just really difficult!”

GPEN – Laser SB3 EUROCUP after races 4, 5 and 6 today (5 to count.)
Teams are GBR unless mentionned
1: “Direct Sailing”, Thomas Rouxel (FRA) 12 points (Races: 7,3,1,6,1,1,)
2: “Team Russia”, Rodion Luka ( RUS ) 12 points (Races: 1,5,2,1,5,3,)
3: “Doolalli”, Colin Simonds 14 points (Races: 2,1,5,2,7,4,)
4: “Rigging Gurus”, Mark Richards 18 points  (Races: 4,2,3,7,4,5,)
5: “Rola-Trac”, Peter Saxton 27 points  (Races: 6,4,14,4,3,10,)
6: “Sail Boat Spares.Com”, Sarah Allan 29 points  (Races: 9,6,4,5,8,6,)
7: “Darling Associates”, Chris Darling 38 points  (Races: 5,8,DNF ,DNC ,2,2,)
8: “Huttons”, Ben Williamson 41 points  (Races: 11,10,9,3,11,8,)
9: “Excuse Me Gents”, Ann Jackson 51 points (Races: 3,13,OCS ,8,6,BFD ,)
10: “Seriously Bonkers 3”, Martin Ceppage (IRL) 53 points  (Races: 8,9,11,13,16,12,)
11: “Laserperformance”, Philippe Peron (FRA) 54 points  (Races: 10,7,16,14,10,13,)
12: “Morpheus”, Edward Russo (FRA) 54 points (Races: 14,11,13,11,12,7,)
13: “Cheeky Monkey”, Ian Sullivan 56 points  (Races: 13,15,8,9,15,11,)
14: “Tb4e”, Geoff Gritton 56 points (Races: 18,18,10,10,9,9,)
15: “Eric”, Martin Wedge 58 points (Races: 12,16,6,12,13,15,)
16: “Liesl II”, Bertrand Stuyts (BEL) 67 points (Races: 15,17,7,DNF ,14,14,)
17: “Tad’minus”, Sebastien Bresson (FRA) 73 points (Races: 17,12,12,15,17,19,)
18: “Sail Army – Engineering”, Mike Barham 81 points (Races: 16,14,17,17,18,17,)
19: “Spartacus”, Charlotte Leguillette (FRA) 85 points (Races: 19,19,15,16,20,16,)
20: “Tacktonic”, Cedric de Bleye (BEL) 93 points (Races: 20,20,18,18,19,18,)

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