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5 November 2001, 10:43 am
Multi Hull Start
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Photo:Gilles Martin-Raget

Transat Jacques Vabre
Le Havre

There was a traffic jam at the first mark after the Multi Hull start of the Transat Jacques Vabre. Groupama rounded in first position.
Following a manoeuvre by Alain Gautier & Ellen MacArthur (Kingfisher-Foncia) at the first mark rounding, the Paul Vatine buoy, off the beach at St. Adresse, Karine Fauconnier has lodged a protest against Kingfisher-Foncia.

Just six minutes into the race a folly of trimarans arrived at the inshore buoy all together. Groupama had just rounded ahead, followed closely by Fujifilm, but behind it was a real traffic jam!

Kingfisher-Foncia was to leeward, hardly a favourable position for rounding the buoy and setting off upwind towards the horizon. The pack was still a few boat lengths from the mark. Firstly, Gautier & MacArthur luffed in order to get to windward of Nautica (Y. Bourgnon/Y. Ravussin).

Unfortunately, during the luff, Kingfisher-Foncia accelerated and passing the buoy, her starboard float moved between the port and central hulls of Sergio-Tacchini. Fauconnier & Proffit tried to tack but didn1t manouvre the boat fully round in case they interlocked with Kingfisher-Foncia. The two boats continued to head towards the beach on port tack trying to separate from each other without touching. After about 100 metres it was Kingfisher-Foncia who got away and tacked off immediately, leaving Sergio Tacchini stuck in irons, drifting towards the beach.

With co-skipper Franck Proffit, Karine Fauconnier managed to get the boat round, but 9 other multihulls passed by ahead. Karine called the Race Committee over the VHF to indicate that she was protesting Kingfisher-Foncia. The ruling will be made by Standard C later on Sunday, Gautier & MacArthur risking a time penalty if the protest is upheld.

Mary Ambler/News Editor
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