It was a very wet and gloomy day to begin the Guyader Grand Prix in Douarnenez yesterday, but the 58 boat fleet all survived the dismal conditions to start this highly competitive series. The first start was recalled then, with the Black Flag introduced for the second start, the PRO Jean Gabriel Le Cleach called the line “all clear” ….. and the 58 boats got away cleanly.
The wind was very light from a direction of around 145 degrees and the pin end of the line was slightly biased which allowed those boats who made a good start the option of tacking or continuing further to the left. One of the boats who trusted their “transit” to make an excellent start was GBR 780 “Louise” helmed by Grant Gordon, crewed by Kasper Harsberg and Ruairidh Scott. Kasper told me “We had good speed and were confident with our transit which enabled us to get clear air and continue for a third of the beat on starboard. When we tacked onto port we held our lane all the way to the starboard lay line, to round the top mark 5th.”
Also having an excellent race was GBR 761 “Jerboa” helmed by Gavia Wilkinson-Cox, crewed by Mark Hart and Paul Fletcher. This experienced team challenged the leaders throughout the race and chose to take the opposite “gate mark” each time to keep the UAE 20 team on their toes right to the finish. Gavia told me “After our good start we mainly played the right on the first beat and then the left on the second beat. The top 5 boats had a super race with many place changes. At the end we thought we may even pass UAE 20 but they took the small bias on the finish line to win the race”. What did she think of the course? Gavia said she thought it was a very fair race course with even sides to the beats. “We had a nervous time on the second run as the wind filled in from behind. This allowed NED 309 Gus de Groot to make a gain by sailing lower with more pressure”. Having kept their cool, Jerboa secured a well deserved 2nd.
Top Corinthian Team was NED 309 “Furie” Guus de Groot, crewed by Richard Van Rij & Hay Winters. With an excellent final downwind leg, Guus and his team secured 4th place despite not being able to keep his “Cigar” lit throughout the 2 hour race….
So 57 boats managed to finish the first race with just one boat GBR 801 “The Wealdstone Raider” helmed by former World Champion Lawrie Smith who had to make a mad dash back into the harbour to make use of the “rest room” facilities ! Maybe it was not such a good idea to have celebrated his crew Joost Houweling’s birthday with Tim Tavinor the night before quite so vigorously with copious helpings of the seafood platters……ah well some people never learn!
Higher, Faster, Longer………….. Stavros. (GBR 585).
Thanks once again to Top Professional Ricardo Pinto, for these fabulous photo’s…