Englishman Quentin STRAUSS'S Team Gill, helmed by Stuart RIX, routed the home French teams with a double first on day one of the French Melges 24 Open National Championships which got underway at Larmor Beach, Lorient yesterday.
Hot on his heels is the Breton crew of Bruno JOURDREN aboard D'aucy and the Rochelais team of Jean-Francois CRUETTE sailing Scutum.
It was under grey skies that racing got underway and it was with wonder that the Southerners, who did such a lot of mileage coming from the Mediterranean, commented on what an incredible variety of grey was to be found on the French North Coast. Race one started impecably in 20 knots from 280 degrees on a perfect course set by PRO Jean-Gabriel Cleac'h and his Race Committee. The start was the occasion of a beautiful duel between Gill (Stuart Rix) and D'aucy (Bruno Jourdren), but it is Gill that takes the advantage and heads the fleet from the windward mark to the finish.
For the start of the second race the wind was up to 25 knots from the west but then it dropped off again during the race. The fleet was obviously full of good intentions on this opening day and achieved a second irreproachable start. The same scenario unrolled for Gill with the same outcome. The locals, in spite of the knowledge of the waters, do not manage to worry the English.
In the overall standings Gill leads D'aucy by two points with Scutum third, Euro-Voiles, helmed by Denis Infant fourth, Guy Hoquet Immobilier, helmed by Ronan Tressart, fifth and Liros Nantes Saint Nazaire, helmed by Remy Arnaud sixth.
Racing continues until 26th September. Full results are available on the event website at the address below.