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22 May 2005, 09:19 pm
Grouped Upwind Start
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Calais Round Britain Race 2005

Jean Pierre DICK (Virbac Paprec) lead the Open 60' IMOCA fleet across the start line at 1230 GMT today for this second edition of the 1850 mile Calais Round Britain Race, though it was Emma RICHARDS (Pindar Alphagraphics) that powered off, hungry for the top spot. Mike GOLDING (Ecover) overshot the start and headed into the race with just a very slender delay on the fleet after rounding the committee boat and crossing the line a second time.

The seven monohulls then headed westwards on starboard tack under one reef and trinquette in a 15/20 knot southwesterly wind, under an overcast sky, pierced with blue.

The highly international fleet kept trading places on their way down the 15 mile coastal course taking them past the shifty winds and currents off Blanc-Nez and Gris-Nez. The course culminated in the mark off Boulogne sur Mer, Roland JOURDAIN (Sill et Veolia) the first to round at 1510 GMT, hounded by the two Anglo-Saxon boats, Ecover and Pindar Alphagraphics. Currently on port tack in a southerly wind, the fleet will now have to decide whether to opt for the English or French coast as they make for the Scilly Isles off south west England. With a tidal coefficient of 95 and the complication of headwinds, there may quickly be some considerable gaps opening up and concentration will be crucial in this Channel section.

The mixture of overcast skies and sunny spells provided a dramatic backdrop for the start of the Calais Round Britain Race this Sunday afternoon. The fleet got off to a competitive start as they battled into headwinds, Ecover having to retake the start after jumping the line. Plagued by the current, the fleet took around 20 minutes to make the first course mark of Abbeville, 2.5 miles from the start. Roland JOURDAIN (Sill et Veolia) had taken the lead from Virbac-Paprec at this stage, passing the mark at 12h52m50s. Jean LE CAM (Bonduelle) was nearly 20 seconds behind at 12h53m09s, (Emma RICHARDS) Pindar Alphagraphics just 3 seconds behind at 12h53m12s. Mike GOLDING (Ecover) was nearly 3 minutes behind the head of the fleet at this point but was already up into joint third with Bonduelle. At Gris-Nez the fleet were all tightly bunched, only Sill et Veolia streaking ahead, Golding and Richards right in the thick of the action in second and third respectively, the strong headwinds in the Channel likely to make for a particularly eventful night.

Event Media. Image: Start, © Gilles Martin-Raget
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