Yacht Racing World Newsletter – Issue 36
Yacht Racing Life – A new boat and the force driving Jérémie Beyou back to the Vendée Globe
Having started four Vendée Globes and finished two of them, once on the podium in third place, once after starting a second time nine days late, you would think that Jérémie Beyou had done enough. But not so – writes Ed Gorman.
The 46-year-old skipper from Finistère in northwest France is certainly nowhere near finished with the IMOCA Class and nor with the Vendée Globe, and gets out of bed every morning driven by the goal of finally winning a race that has so far eluded him.
In a few days, he will launch his new IMOCA, Charal 2 – this time from the board of Sam Manuard with its signature scow bow – and the goal for this boat is crystal clear, as Beyou told the Class when asked what it was that is driving him on.
“Getting back to the Vendée Globe and winning it,” said the man who won justified acclaim for the way he stuck to his guns when finishing 13th last time out, having started as one of the favourites. “That’s what’s driving me and I think I have the ability to do it and the team to do it and I really have a really strong motivation, so that’s it.”
Classe Mini – Full house for SAS Race
The growing popularity of the Classe Mini has continued with the upcoming Les Sables - Les Acores - Les Sables (SAS) being oversubscribed for the first time in its history.
The high level of interest in the bi-annual event also includes a record number of female sailors confirmed to compete this year. The success comes as the Mini 6.50 class has also seen the highest number of participants ever across both the prototype and production boat classes for this year’s series.
Following the prologue, the first leg of the 2,600nm SAS race, starting on July 19th, will see the fleet of 72 boats set sail for Horta with the first arrivals due in the Azores around July 27th. The fleet of production and prototype boats will then head back to Les Sables on August 4th.
So far this season, the leaderboard has been dominated by French sailors with Bruno Lemunier, Jean Marre and Hugues de Premare in close contention in the production rankings. Victor Mathieu, Anne-Gaël Gourdin and Hubert Marechal currently lead the prototype table.
Amélie Grassi, president of the Classe Mini, said: “The unprecedented interest we have seen in the class this year has continued with over 30 sailors on the waiting list for places in the SAS.
“As an amateur class we are proud to be a breeding ground for the next generation of professional sailors who can hone their skills on some challenging circuits against tough opposition. We also encourage diversity in the sport of sailing and welcome the increased number of female sailors taking part this year which will hopefully lead to a greater number of women athletes competing in the sport in future.”
The record for the distance travelled in a Mini 6.50 was set in the second leg of the SAS in 2010 as Bertrand Delesne covered 304.9 miles in 24 hours with an average speed of 12.7 knots in the prototype 754 Prati'bûches. Delesne had covered 1,300 miles in 5 days 13 hours and 27 minutes.
Ian Lipinski is one of an illustrious list of sailors who developed their skills or were ‘born’ in Classe Mini. Lipinski, who took part in the SAS in 2012 and 2014, has gone on to achieve success as a record- breaking professional sailor.
He said: “The first of the two editions of the SAS gave me exceptional memories. It was the first time I had taken part in a long offshore race aboard a mini. I remember feeling a mixture of excitement and apprehension when I left the pontoon of Les Sables but I really enjoyed the experience and what I learnt from that race in high summer when the days are long and the nights are short. It's an opportunity to fully experience your first struggles and the best preparation for a career in sailing.”
The starting line up of the last edition of the Vendée Globe saw no less than 18 former mini sailors in contention for the offshore racing title. A roster of previous Classe Mini competitors includes Yannick Bestaven, Thomas Ruyant, Ellen MacArthur, Sam Davies and Clarisse Crémer.
PlanetSail – Three ways to become a world champion
For some classes it’s not unusual for a world championships to look much like their normal racing programme. But when the Swan One Design World Championships rolled into the Spanish city of Valencia for theirs it was clear that this would be different;
But what makes this event particularly special with owners and crews is Swan's recipe that combines amateur with professionals to deliver some impressively close racing across three very different types of boats.
PlanetSail was there to report on how the Swan One Design worlds played out, why it works and how three teams became world champions.
Pieter-Jan Postma lifts Finn World Masters title in Helsinki
Just two months after winning his first ever Finn Gold Cup, Pieter-Jan Postma, from The Netherlands, has become the first person in history to also win the Finn World Masters in the same year. He has put together a picket fence score line this week in Helsinki, Finland and has had an amazing time with the Masters fleet. Laurent Hay, from France held on to second while Peter Peet, from The Netherlands was third.
The Netherlands was a major prize winner tonight at the Helsingfors Segelklubb, taking the Nations Cup, and the Club Cup, for Het Witte Huis, as well as many individual prizes in addition to Postma.
The final day of racing was always forecast to be light, and never more than 5-8 knots, and it took nearly an hour to get the fleet away in the fickle breeze. Postma started in the third row but was leading at the top, but couldn’t break away from the fleet with Székely Antal from Hungary, never far behind. Gert van der Heijden, from The Netherlands was third.
Strong international line-up for upcoming Lagos GC32 World Championship
Following on from mid-June’s GC32 Lagos Cup, the GC32 World Championship, annual highlight of the GC32 Racing Tour and the only official World Sailing-endorsed championship for foiling catamaran ‘yachts’, will take place over 13-17 July in Lagos, Portugal.
The 10 teams, from afar away as Australia and the USA, comprise the most competitive GC32 fleet ever, including America’s Cup winners, challengers and SailGP teams. Among these a favourite is Alinghi Red Bull Racing. Red Bull Sailing Team won the last GC32 World Championship when it was held in September 2021 in Villasimius, Sardinia, while Alinghi won the previous World Championship two years earlier, also in Lagos. However, although Red Bull has come on board with Alinghi to challenge for the 37th America’s Cup, Alinghi Red Bull Racing’s GC32 crew exclusively comprises members of its AC sailing squad.
Looking forward to the 2022 GC32 World Championship by Icarus Sports
“We love Lagos – we have sailed here four times and won four times,” says Alinghi Red Bull Racing’s Arnaud Psarofaghis, who steered the Swiss team both to GC32 Lagos Cup victory two weeks ago and to its 2019 GC32 World Championship title. “We couldn’t be in a better spot for the World Championship. I am sure everyone will push hard.”
Of the World Championship following the GC32 Lagos Cup, the effective pre-Worlds in the same venue, Psarofaghis acknowledges: “It always harder if you return to a place for second time: You understand the wind more and everyone will sail better. I think the fleet is improving every day. In fact right now it is the most competitive GC32 fleet we have ever had. For the Worlds it will be really interesting to see how it unfolds.”
PlanetSail – Is the Pro Sailing Tour the future for multihull racing?
The fifty foot trimarans of the ProSailing tour have proved themselves to be nimble and potent performers inshore and offshore. Small enough to be sailed single handed or by a crew of five, yet big enough to be a handful.
The fleet has plenty of accomplished sailors – among them Sam Goodchild who skippers Leyton.
As the fleet arrived in Cowes at the end of an offshore leg from Brittany PlanetSail’s Matt Sheahan caught up with Goodchild to find out more about this class and a circuit that is on the rise.
Pro Sailing Tour – Arkema clinches 2022 season win with final leg victory
It could hardly have been any closer. The final standings in the 2022 Pro Sailing Tour remained in the balance until the closing moments of the ‘Final Rush’, when Quentin Vlamynck on Arkema crossed the finish line off Roscoff to take a hard earned and well-deserved victory.
The French skipper, at 28 the youngest skipper in the history of the Ocean Fifty class and the Pro Sailing Tour runner-up in 2021, went into the finale of offshore sailing’s most exciting new competition a single point ahead of defending British champion Sam Goodchild on Leyton.
With all to play for the high-intensity season came down to a challenging 940 nm course from Cowes to Roscoff which Vlamynck and his crew of Etienne Carra and Mayeul Riffet took in their stride to claim the overall prize.
“It was very intense, and we were match-racing from the start – it came down to pure speed,” said Vlamynck. “Along the English coast we had to fight hard, Leyton got caught in a patch of light air and were able to take advantage and move into the lead. Then we tried to control the situation, but each time Leyton came back.
“We had a 14-mile lead on the way down from Ireland and when we arrived in Penmarc’h, we were not going to hang around! We had a lot of doubts about strategy and had to really stay focused. It was a constant race and we just had to keep on top of it at all times.”