All change in the Moths as the full fleet gets afloat
Day 2 – 2018 Martinique Flying Regatta in Fort de France
Baie de Fort de France is proving itself to be a more consistent, Caribbean version of Lake Garda with day three of Martinique Flying Regatta providing yet another day of winds gusting into the low 20s, combined with relatively flat water.
The Moths today saw Benoit Marie release his grip on the class when his port wing bar broke terminally, with a similar fate for the former Mini Transat winner’s regatta. This opened the way for his training partner Anthony Rezzoug to prevail, winning the first three of today’s four races. However with discards being applied it is Switzerland’s David Holenweg who has taken the lead, two points ahead of Rezzoug.
“The boat was going really fast, so I have an advantage there and I didn’t make too many mistakes. I tried to keep it clean and be safe on the tacks and only go fast when it was necessary,” said Rezzoug, who is sailing a Mach 2 he heavily modified. “It’s the first time with my Moth in the Caribbean, which is really cool. I’m really enjoying Martinique and the event. It is very well organised. The place where we are is excellent with palm trees and the fort and the race course is amazing.”
Aside from being the largest, the Moth is also the most international class here. Among the top non-French sailors is Dutch former 470 Olympian, Kalle Coster. Coster’s day was less than ideal having had to dash ashore to fix his Exocet’s cunningham, causing him to miss the first race and be late for the second. As a consolation he won today’s round of the Karibea Speed Challenge.
“The third and fourth races I was getting better and faster and I know I can get close to the top guys – downwind they are a bit quicker, but upwind I am fast,” he said. “Today there was a bit less wind than the first day, but it was shifty and gusty, which made it a lot of fun. There were huge gains to be made on the left upwind and downwind it looked better to go left to get the breeze.”
In the Moth-like Onefly class, there was a change of leader today with Guillaume Pirouel scoring four straight bullets, taking over the mantle of his partner Julien Villion who won three out of three on Tuesday. The duo run the Beijaflore team on the Tour de France a la Voile.
“I made a mistake,” admitted Villion. “It was a close fight, but he always came out on top. He is younger than me so after four race I’m exhausted! But it was a lot of fun today – good conditions for us, with around 12- 20 knots – very gusty with the wind coming across the land.”
Due the arrival of a large ship in the race area, the KiteFoils sailed just one race. Never in the history of a sailing event has a pecking order been so clearly defined from the outset, with the IKA Kitefoil Gold Cup pros Axel Mazella coming first and Kieran le Borgne second, in all eight races, with Vendée Globe skipper Morgan Lagravière third, in all but the first race.
“I finished third again, but I am getting closer and closer in each race,” said Lagravière. “I did better than yesterday. I changed something on my board, so it is more stable, which is important, when you are doing close to 35 knots downwind. My goal is to finish second by the end of Saturday.”
In the Windfoil class, French RS:X Olympic sailor Trevor Caraes continues to lead, having scored a 1-3-1 today. He is enjoying Martinique Flying Regatta. “It is fun to sail with the kites and all the other boats which we don’t see in France. All of them look very good. The Moth and the Onefly look incredible when they are flying and the GC32s are very impressive.”
In their four races today, the GC32s catamarans enjoyed some of the closest racing across all of the classes. With only two boats competing here, their competition is a match race. Unfortunately for Norauto skipper Franck Cammas, he is facing a seemingly fearless 23-year-old, who is a three time French youth match racing champion. Robin Follin helmed Team France Jeune to three race wins today over the Volvo Ocean Race and Route du Rhum winner, to take the GC32 class lead overall by one point.
Follin was regularly applying his match racing skills, locking Norauto out at the race committee boat in race one and hooking him to varying degrees in the others.
“We won all of the starts and we were very fast,” said a very proud Follin. Two of the races were close when Follin maintained a tight cover on his opponent resulting in an America’s Cup-style tacking duel in the flying catamarans.
“The wind was tricky, so we couldn’t let Franck get far away from us when we were in front.” However he was more pleased with his team’s manoeuvring today saying that they only messed up one foiling gybe. The GC32s also recorded a new highest speed on the bay here, with a 38.1 knot average.
Tomorrow racing continues with a ‘long distance race’ around the Baie de Fort de France.
by Sailing Inteligence