In the mouth of the France's Loire river, seven Open 60s and one Open 50 got off to a clean start in the Regatta de Rubicon, a fully crewed two stage race from St Nazaire to Yaiza in Lanzarote and then on to Italy.
Spectators in their thousands lined the St Nazaire harbour wall as the eight boats headed out to sea. The start was close as to be expected with several top inshore helmsman and America's Cup crew on board the boats, but it was Bernard Stamm's transatlantic record holder Bobst Group-Armor Lux which managed to get away the cleanest.
The boats headed upwind in a 20 knot building breeze, close tacking along the shore to a turning mark before going out to sea. Tiscale, the Italian Open 60 of Simone Bianchetti was first to the mark followed by Stamm, Jean-Pierre Dick's Virbac (the former PRB) and in fourth place, three minutes behind Tiscale, was Kingfisher.
Simone Bianchetti on Tiscale continued to show the potential of his new boat yesterday afternoon, which is none other than the ex-Whirlpool previously belonging to Catherine Chabaud, by holding the lead, where he still was early this morning. Tiscale has been re-fitted and re-branded in blue and white.
Chasing very closely behind Tisacle are Sill Plein Fruit and Bobst Group-Armor Lux literally a few miles back. Behind, hunting is organized knowing that the whole of the fleet seeks to gain in south-west towards the Cape Finisterre.
The weather situation ahead is fairly clear now, but later in the day a depression and strong winds are expected.