The forecast for Sunday's start of the Calais Round Britain Race is for 10 knots of NNE making for some very technical sailing as the 11 strong fleet head out into the channel on what has unanimously been decided will be a clockwise circumnavigation of the British Isles.
Like Friday, the second prologue will not count towards the general rankings and again, the 100 minute race saw Vincent RIOU (FRA) return to port victorious. The skipper of PRB shared the podium with Jean LE CAM's (FRA) VM Matériaux and Jérémie BEYOU's (FRA) Delta Dore. The latter had a very poor start as did Artemis Ocean Racing driven by Jonny MALBON (GBR).
'We had a great prologue yesterday,' said MALBON (fifth placed on Friday) last night. 'We really worked well together, chose the correct side of the race course, the right sails and so on and we were really pumped. Today was the flipside of that.'
He continued, 'We thought we had the start sussed and were preparing to tack over the line at the last minute but we bailed out of that move just before what was a rather wishy-washy start sequence and gybed instead. We ended up getting stung by a flag penalty. We completed what we thought was a 360 turn but the Committee weren't happy with that and we had to do it again. We probably should have stuck with our first decision. After that we did manage to claw back some ground and overtook two other boats. It's not good though because when we were racing in Antigua recently we'd really got our starts down to a fine art. For tomorrow's start we just want to get into our rhythm as quickly as possible and I'm really happy to sailing with all my friends.'
Clearly Artemis was not the only one having problems on Saturday. A nonetheless relaxed Yann ELIES (FRA) spoke of their really good start and their excellent speed upwind but added to that was a problem with their gennaker. 'The gennaker kept getting stuck and it may cause us problems throughout the race now, but it's clearly too late to sort it out now. It's not the end of the world though because conditions are very varied on this course so we won't have to use that sail all the time. It's a victory just to have made it to the start line of 'the Calais'.
'We don't have any particular sporting objectives - our aim is to learn how to use the boat and learn her faults. We're only using 80% of the boat's capacity at the moment as we're not at full trim. Our goal tomorrow is to give it 100% in the first few hours and the first night of racing as it'll be important to free ourselves of the Channel traffic. The wind is likely to be coming from the west later on so the further down the course you are the more wind you'll have. Essentially this trip is about giving everyone who has been working so hard on this boat a present.'
The legendary and equally as relaxed Nigel KING (GBR) on Aviva Ocean Racing was just as complimentary of the boat's crew skippered by Dee CAFFARI (GBR). 'We have to face facts that we can really only measure up against boats which are of the same age and yesterday was the first time we'd all sailed together, but we're just going to take little steps forward each day and sail as best we can. For me the important thing here is that I wanted to sail with good sailors and that's exactly what I'm doing. We sailed a lot better today and really pushed together so we're moving in the right direction.'
Last night there was a unanimous vote by both the race management and skippers to race clockwise around the British Isles. The explanation is left to the brilliant winner of both prologues, RIOU, 'It's easy, in the other direction we had three days of upwind sailing in the North Sea, this way we will have a stretch of reaching which will take us up to the west of Ireland. At the start, it will be a bit messy, with little wind, but a northerly air flow should quickly establish itself on Sunday evening.' According to the routing software, the finish may take place on 10 June, whereas in the other direction it could well have been 11 June.