Wednesday, June 15, 2016

VITEL SAILING Tops J/80 Normandy Cup

J/80s sailing off France (Le Havre, France)- With favorable winds and diversified sailing areas (harbor, estuary, coastline) that allow a wide navigational/ tactical challenge, Le Havre Bay offers exceptional conditions for the student of sailing. Looking forward to those learning experiences were an enthusiastic fleet of J/80 teams, many of whom had their sights set on training for the upcoming J/80 World Championship in Sotogrande, Spain in a few weeks time.  After their three-day weekend regatta, it was Damien Michelier’s crew on VITEL SAILING Team that took the overall prize for the J/80 class.

On Friday, the first day of competition, the fleet was raced near the beaches of Le Havre and Sainte Adresse. Patrick Maurin, the J/80 PRO warned his flock of sailors at the morning briefing, "We are considering three races today. We will offer you courses about 50 minutes, on W4 windward-leewards, which means, more maneuvers, more work. Clearly, you'll get your money’s worth today!” And, indeed, the J/80 sailors enjoyed their long day on the water with some excellent racing.

The first race was started at 1140 hrs in 7 knots of north-northeast breeze, a little chilly, but the racing quickly warmed up the sailors. Ecole Navale went first to the leeward mark followed closely by Paprec. At 1230 hrs, the first boat crossed the finish line- Frédéric Hauteville’s ECOLE NAVALE, followed by VITEL SAILING Team in 2nd and HOPE PAPREC in third.  The favorites were quick to set the tone!

A second race was started immediately, shortly before 1300 hrs. At the transition of leeward gate, ECOLE NAVALE was leading and ended up maintaining their position to win the race.

As promised, the PRO Patrick Maurin launched a third race at 1400 hrs. Less than an hour later, ECOLE NAVALE again won the race with VITEL SAILING in 2nd and HOPE PAPREC in 3rd.

J/80 sailing off Le Havre, FranceAs there was enough time to get in a fourth race, the PRO again fired off the start just after 1515 hrs.  This time it was Sébastien Petithuguenin’s PAPREC RECYCLAGE that won the race followed by LOCAPONTON ECOLE NAVALE in 2nd and SMART GRID ENERGY in 3rd.

After this first day of racing, the J/80 sailors were understandably exhausted, but elated they got in four great races on the first day of the regatta!

Saturday’s racing saw four more races take place.  In a repeat of the first day, the two PAPREC crew were dueling for the top of the podium.  After the first day, they were tied at 10 pts each.  However, it was Damian Michelier’s VITEL SAILING team that prevailed and took the overall lead after eight races.  ECOLE NAVALE dropped into 2nd place and the two PAPREC’s were just behind them.

As Sunday morning dawned with a beautiful sunny day forecast, the mist over Le Havre Bay slowly cleared and the fleet, again, was treated to yet another gorgeous day of sailing.  Michelier commented, “it’s no secret this last day would be tense.  The races are just 50 minutes at most, the start fast and it’s easy to make mistakes.  We must stay focused to the very end if we want to retain the overall lead in this hotly contested fleet!”  Indeed, that is what happened as the J/80 PRO managed to get one more good race in before he sent the fleet home to enjoy the awards ceremony.  In the end, VITEL SAILING won, followed by ECOLE NAVALE in 2nd and HOPE PAPREC in 3rd. Michelier (Vitel Sailing Team) was obviously happy with the outcome, “we are obviously delighted! Also, delighted with the way things unfolded. The Committee did a great job by starting the races quickly without waiting, in spite of the variable weather conditions. As for us, we were consistent and managed to get out of bad situations, that is what allowed us to win the Normandy Cup! Thank you to the PRO Maurin for such an outstanding regatta!”  Sailing photo credits- Jean-Marie Liot  For more J/80 Normandy Cup sailing information