It's been a fast first offshore race as it only took 11 hours to the 37-boat fleet to cover the 104 miles between Dunkerque Grand Littoral and Dieppe. Jimmy PAHUN onboard Région Ile de France came home first after having been leading all the way.
But it was very tight racing as the defending champions Pierre Loïc BERTHET and his crew onboard Bouygues Telecom crossed the line only 30 seconds behind the winner.
Cap Sport, helmed by Kito de PAVANT (Solitaire du Figaro 2002 winner) came third but is still leading overall after having won the two inshore races in Dunkerque. The Aussies of Southern Sun Team Australia arrived in Dieppe in 12 position and stand in ninth place overall, The Joe Fly Sailing Team from Italy lie in 13 place overall after a disappointing 17 place in the offshore yesterday. Federico MICHETTI and his crew dropped form 5 to last spot after encountering speed problems. They think that they caught a plastic bag or something around their keel.
The gun had started on Sunday at 16h00 (local time) with a northeasterly breeze of 18 knots. The fleet sailed quickly to Calais and then off Cape Gris-Nez under masthead spinnaker. AT 20:00, Région Ile de France was ahead of the fleet with half a mile lead over Bouygues Telecom and Toulon Méditerranée-Provence- Coych.
The other boats were really close to each other except for Cap Sport, which passed a mark the wrong way and had to go and round it again. Soon after Cape Gris-Nez, the fleet split into. Some stayed along the coast when some sailed further offshore. The latter choice proved to pay. As the fleet approached Dieppe, the wind got trickier and the crews had to change sails many times. Région Ile de France and Bouygues Telecom have lead the whole way through. Unlike Cap Sport and Défi Partage who were far behind and managed to come back and to finish only a few minutes behind the first two.
Though tired, the sailors had a smile on their face after this fast and most enjoyable downwind leg in the Channel. The 37 crews have the day to rest in order to get ready for today's two inshore races off Dieppe. Then on Wednesday, the fleet will head for Cherbourg.
Full results are available on the event website at the address below.