Monday, April 4, 2016

J/112E Revels In Stormy SPI Ouest

J/122E sailing SPI Ouest France regatta (La Trinite sur Mer, France)- The 38th SPI Ouest France regatta sailed on the Bay of Biscay was an experience no one expected just three days before it all began over the Easter Holiday weekend.  Organized and hosted by Société Nautique de la Trinité-Sur-Mer, the sailors in the 360-boat fleet were expecting a rather benign weather forecast.  But, as can happen in the spring in the eastern extensions of the blustery North Atlantic, and by extension the Bay of Biscay and its little bays along the western coast of France, things can change— rather faster than most anticipated.  A severe depression off North America deepened rapidly and raced across the Atlantic to toss a rather unpleasant mixture of powerful wind, rain and violent squalls across the fleet.  What was supposed to be a family-friendly Easter Egg Hunt on the beaches Sunday morning, with chocolate bunnies, chocolate croissants and Nescafe’au’lait at the cafes instead became a battle for survival. “C’est la vie, c’est la guerre,” one might say. The powerful storm front moving through the area forced event organizers to cancel the remainder of racing for Sunday and Monday.

As it was, the regatta marked the debut of the brand new J/112E at SPI Ouest France. The J/112E was racing against all of the latest European IRC rule-beaters.  Commented her designer Al Johnstone, “the new J/112E and her crew battled through a first race starting line traffic jam to finish fifth on corrected time in her first competitive race ever. She was competing in the nineteen boat IRC 2 fleet with very tight rating band including 11 boats rated within a few seconds of each other.  IRC 2 started on the same line as the IRC 1 for a total of 31 boats on the same start line.  Crazy.  But, needless to say, it was important to get off the line clean.

J/80s sailing SPI Ouest FranceJ-LANCE 12, skippered by Didier Le Moal, dominated the class in the next two races in moderate 12-15 knot breeze with finishes of 1-1 and in the final race on Saturday in 25-30 knots finished second. This feat was accomplished against well-oiled and very well-practiced ‘factory teams’ and optimized IRC program boats.  IRC 2 competition included a handful of A35s, a First 40.7, a Grand Soleil 37, a few JPK 10.8s and a couple of Sun Fast 3600s, and Elan 400.  The reports from the J-LANCE 12 team are that the J/112E was fast upwind with enough power downwind to hold off some of the lighter and wider flat bottom, wedge-shaped boats.  There is no question she has proven herself at this debut event to be a tough competitor and will be gunning for the top of the IRC 2 class going forward this spring in France.  Not a bad start for a comfortable sport cruiser!”

Behind J-LANCE 12’s terrific performance in IRC 2 Class were several classic J’s finishing consecutively next to one another. The J/120 HEY JUDE helmed by P Girardin was 13th, the J/120 LADY JANE skippered by P Tostivint from CN Pornic was 14th, and the J/109 CNP1 J’VOLE skippered by P Barouch was 15th.

J/80s sailing SPI Ouest France regatta In other IRC handicap classes, the J/133 BLACKJACK sailed an excellent series in IRC 1 Class (big boats) in the insanely challenging conditions, compiling an incredibly impressive 2-3-3-4 to lose the tie-breaker for first place!!  Kudos and congratulations to owner Eric Malouin Gicquel and his crew for a fabulous performance.  For the lone J/team in IRC 3 Class, Fagart’s J/97 MISPICKEL VI took 8th place.  For IRC 4 Class, J Croyere’s J/92 RUBAN VERT took 16th place in a 30-boat class.

In the OHS handicap classes, there were three teams sailing OH1 Class.  Reveling in the gale conditions was P. Guennal’s J/111 J4F taking a 2-2-2 for 2nd place in class!  Just behind them was Kerscaven’s J/88 PL YACHTING with a 3-4-5 overall for third overall! P Jomier’s J/105 J-SQUARED was 7th in class.

Finally, in the OH2 Class the J/24 teams crushed!  Winning was F De Herce’s MAJIC with a 2-2-1!  His good friend finished third- A Garcia’s INSULARIS with a 3-3-4.  Fifth was V Maldonado’s REGATTA COPA MEXICO EUSKADI and in 8th was B Le Marec’s EL NINO.  What a great turnout for the J/24’s in this classic event in La Trinite and a great outcome, too! Next time, “Vive Le France J/24s!”

J/70s sailing SPI Ouest France regattaOn the one-design side of the ledger, the twenty-boat J/70 class had excellent competition with the winner being determined by a tie-breaker after three races.  Again, the Spanish teams are making their presence felt and the winner was Jose Maria “Pichu” Torcida’s NOTICIA followed by fellow countrymen on Hugo Rocha’s NEW TERRITORIES. Familiar names to you? Should be.  They are both former J/80 World Champions!  Third and fourth places were filled by French teams- Guigen’s VIRTUAL REGATTA 70 and Luc Sambron’s HEMON_CAMUS, respectively.  Another Spanish team was fifth- Jesus’ PETIT PALACE HOTELS.

Another familiar team popped onto the top of the J/80 leaderboard, the French Champion Eric Brezellec on COURIER JUNIOR.  Just one point back taking the silver was yet another top Spanish team- Jose Maria Van Der Ploeg on NAUTICA WATCHES (yet another J/80 World Champion).  The Spanish team on ONO-EUROFRITS-A VIKO (de La Pedraja) was third followed by two French teams- Riou’s ECOLE NAVALE CV AILEE in fourth place and Luc Nadal’s GAN’JA in fifth position.   Sailing photo credits- Jean-Marie Liot   For more SPI OUEST France sailing information