Final offshore sprint to Morlaix to decide overall winners
Photo © Tom Gruitt Photography / www.tom-gruitt.co.uk
Route des Princes final leg start at Plymouth
The winners of the Routes des Princes will be decided on a final offshore sprint to Morlaix. Following victory in the inshore race series on Plymouth Sound, securing a perfect inshore record on Saturday afternoon, Sébastien Josse’s crew onboard Edmond de Rothschild go into Leg 4, Plymouth to Morlaix, needing only to win the bonus points available at the La Roche Gautier mark, 43 miles from the finish, to be sure of triumphing in the MOD70 class. With a two points margin in the Multi50’s Yves Blevec’s Actual needs to finish ahead of Arkéma – Aquitaine Region to be sure of overall victory, or even just to take the bonus points.
Josse’s team has proven to be the sharpest inshore. For the winners in Valencia, Lisbon and now Plymouth who credit their intense weeks of pre-race practice, there are several arithmetical combinations, which can work for them. They start the 250 miles final stage with a lead of four points. The points multiplier for the finale to Morlaix is times 1.5 and so if they can take the bonus, effectively 1.5 points at La Roche Gautier then Sidney Gavignet’s Oman Air-Musandam can no longer catch them.
Conversely Oman Air-Musandam, the best team offshore with wins into Lisbon and into Plymouth but third placed finishers on the Plymouth inshores now have to the bonus points and, ideally, to win the leg if they are to wrestle the outright victory from Edmond de Rothschild’s grasp.
The 265 miles course for the MOD70’s takes the three adversaries back passed Eddystone, eight miles out from Plymouth, out to Wolf Rock at Land’s End, around 70 miles reaching and upwind, then across the channel to the Cardinal La Roche Gautier mark to the NE of Paimpol, with a final loop at the bay of Morlaix between Roscoff and the Le Crapaud Cardinal mark which builds in the capacity for the Race Officers to shorten the course. The target is to have the multihulls finish into Morlaix between midday and 1400hrs Sunday, closer to 1400hr being ideal. The leg from Wolf Rock across the western channel which is about 100 miles should be in a mainly W’ly breeze which is forecast to veer more to the N and fade as they close to the French coast, so once again the advantage maybe with the chasers rather than those in front.
The Multi50’a race a more direct course, missing out Wolf Rock but instead turning at the NW Miniquier mark which is deep in the east of the Bay of Morlaix, returning against the wind to the finish line.
Compared with the 600-950 miles long offshore races, which have been contested so far linking Valencia, Lisbon, Dun Laoghaire and Plymouth the last leg is a sprint. Crews were stocking up on sleep Saturday afternoon between the end of the inshore races and the evening start, knowing that there this final sprint will be contested at maximum intensity. At 18 hours of racing, approximately, there will be no sleep until the battle is over.
The arithmetical options may be many and varied, but for sure winning into Morlaix has got to be the best and simplest formula for all of the teams, and everyone is out to win.
Plymouth Inshore Races Results:
1. Edmond de Rothschild, 10 pts
2. Virbac-Paprec 70, 8 pts
3. Oman Air-Musandam, 6 pts
4. Spindrift, DNS 4 pts
Overall Standings going into Leg 4: (Plymouth-Roscoff)
1. Edmond de Rothschild (Sébastien Josse) 136 pts
2. Oman Air-Musandam(Sidney Gavignet) 132 pts
3. Spindrift (Yann Guichard) 126 pts
4. Virbac-Paprec 70 (Jean-Pierre Dick) 104 pts
1 Actual 114 pts
2 Arkema – Région Aquitaine 112
3 FenêtréA-Cardinal 108pts
4 Rennes Métropole – Saint-Malo Agglomération 84 pts
By Route des Princes, www.routedesprinces.com