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Grand Prix Guyader

Le Cléac’h wins Imoca division in Douarnenez

mercredi 2 mai 2012Redaction SSS [Source RP]

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Once again a fabulous display in the Grand Prix Guyader today with racing from the Dragon, Imoca Imoca #IMOCA , M34 M34 #M34 , Longtze, Open 7.50 and Mach 6.50 classes. More than ever a true sailing festival provided for the general public by the event organizers and their partners. This morning saw a particularly special and timely welcome for events with the arrival of the Danneborg, the Danish Royal family’s yacht that docked in the port of Rosmeur.

The return of the good weather. “April showers bring May flowers” declared Michel Mazéas this morning whilst studying the skies of Douarnenez Douarnenez #Douarnenez  ; skies that hide no secrets from the man who was mayor of the town for 25 years (until 1996). And while during the early hours of the morning the sailors were forced to don boots and foulies, by ten o’clock the wind had shifted south with the sun breaking through the clouds and announcing the return of the good weather.

Three committees were still out at work on the water today for the different races of the day with the monotypes (M34 M34 #M34 , Open 7.50 and Mach 6.50), the Dragons and the Imocas. Coastal races for some and windward-leewards for the others created a particularly lively and beautiful closing event for the first act of the Grand Prix Guyader.

The Imocas were the first to leave the docks at Tréboul this morning to head out to the race course, with an additional sixth competitor in the fleet after the arrival this morning of Arnaud Boissière and his 60 foot Akena Vérandas, who reached Douarnenez Douarnenez #Douarnenez Bay at 8am in perfect harmony with the Dannebrog.

The 60 mile coastal race was started by the Race Committee, headed by Jean Coadou, at 10.30am. The elegant and powerful fleet of six monohulls headed quickly offshore led by three very fast front runners.

“The start was superb,” explained the Committee President Jean Coadou,”both aesthetically and competitively. The three leading boats Banque Populaire, Safran and PRB crossed the start line with absolutely remarkable timing, right on the gun.”

A clearly inspired Armel Le Cléac’h and crew held onto the lead from the start through to the finish to take the race of the day, a wonderful result for Banque Populaire as the subsequent overall official winner of the Grand Prix Guyader.

Every bit as elegant as the Vendée Globe boats, it was a completely different ball game for the Dragons today, and one of great delicacy, much more comparable to a game of chess than to a speed race. After weather conditions had stirred up trouble yesterday among the Dragon fleet competing for the Coupe Crédit Mutuel de Bretagne, and almost half the boats returned to the dock without racing, today saw a much more peaceful scenario.

The Coupe Crédit Mutuel Bretagne was thus concluded with three races and two Danish teams on the podium ; quite a timely national tribute to their home country’s royal yacht recently docked in Douarnenez. Out of Bounce (DEN 405) was the winning boat and their fellow countrymen on African Queen (DEN 406) were third. German team Dragoni Holly (GER 1036) took second. The first French team home was Little Hook (FRA 387), 17th in the general classification.

For the M34s it was a tough battle right down to the very last tack. The 8 Tour de France à la Voile boats were able to sail a total of seven races, and having aimed to sail as many as possible, a particularly happy fleet of sailors will now head off to the next event in their Volvo DRIVe Race circuit.

For one team in particular today was quite the occasion to celebrate. Overall winner Daniel Souben and his crew on Courrier Dunkerque 3 gave a stunning peformance in the Grand Prix Guyader.

“We are even happier with our result having started off so badly. We broke the mast in training on the first day and had to get one delivered here, have it fitted and prepared before the first race. We were third and fifth on the first day of racing and today with the exception of one which we messed up on the start, we won them all. We had to really fight right down to the very end because it was all so close and we just couldn’t afford to make any mistakes with the disqualification. So the victory tastes even sweeter !”

Last but not least The first part of the Grand Prix Guyader thus came to an end today, making way for a beautiful and even more numerous fleet of Dragons with a couple of dozen additional teams joining the competition and gathering together some of the very best on the circuit for the Grand Prix Guyader Dragon.

The monotypes Longtze, Open 7.50, Mach 6.50 and M34 M34 #M34 are all off on other adventures whilst among the Imocas, Banque Populaire, PRB, Cheminées Poujoulat and Macif are about to head off to Barcelona for the start of the Europa Warm’Up, their first important meeting before the Vendée Globe.

Safran, AKENA Vérandas and Maître Coq will compete in the offshore racing on Thursday and Friday, followed by the Défi Nautic on Saturday and Sunday, and will be joined by the Multi50 Multi50 #multi50 , Mod 70 (Foncia has already arrived), Class40 Class40 #Class40 and Francis Joyon’s Maxi IDEC.

Classement général du Grand Prix Guyader

  • 1 – Banque Populaire (Armel Le Cleac’h)
  • 2 – PRB (Vincent Riou)
  • 3 – Safran (Marc Guillemot)

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