Friday, March 30, 2018

40th SPI OUEST France Regatta Preview

J/112E sport cruiser racing boat
(La Trinite sur Mer, France)- The largest offshore keelboat regatta in Europe- SPI OUEST France- is the first major event in the spring for French sailors. It is always looked forward to with great anticipation for J/sailors, as it is a celebration of sailing and family over the Easter Holiday weekend.  Even more importantly for this year, it is a celebration of the 40th edition of SPI OUEST!  The regatta is hosted by Societe Nautique La Trinite sur Mer, located in the quaint seaside village of La Trinite sur Mer.  The sailing will take place from Thursday, March 29th to Monday, April 2nd on the Baie de Quiberon, one of the most famous places to sail in all of France.

Participating in this year’s event are over 100 J/Boats, ranging from J/70s, J/80s up to J/97s, J/109s, J/112E’s, J/120s, and J/122s.  The fifteen-boat IRC 2 class will have four J/Crews vying for class supremacy.  Last year’s winner, Didier Le Moal’s J-LANCE 12 from Societe Regate Rochelaises, will be working hard to maintain their momentum from last season.  Another new J/112E will hope to capitalize on lessons learned from J-LANCE 12’s success; MUSIX will be helmed by P. Baetz from the home club SNT S/Mer.  Two J/120s from Club Nautique Pornic will be up against those formidable 112E’s, one is P. Girardin’s HEY JUDE and the other is P. Tostivint’s LADY JANE.

In the twenty-one boat IRC 3 class are two J/97’s.  From SR Rochelaises is B. Fagart’s MISPICKEL V and from Societe Nautique Baie St Malo is JP Briand’s J L’AMOROSSO. These two crews will be battling an octet of JPK 10.10s and a trio of SF 3200s.  Another slightly lower-rated J/97 will be racing in the twenty-two boat IRC 4 Class, P. Mabo’s HALIOTIS from Club Nautique Piriac sur Mer.

In the OSH handicap class of fifty-four boats is a range of classic J’s.  The smallest and oldest is S. Gras’ J/24 JIBUS from YC Crouesty-Arzon.  Three J/92’s are sailing, including T. Bidon’s DR JEKYL from Club Nautique Lorient, M. Morvan’s J3M from CVF, and C. Roux’s LED ZEP from Societe Regate Turballe.  Joining them are four J/105s, including P. Allain’s BO GOSS from CN Pirieac S/Mer, three crews from the host club from SN Trinite S/Mer; JP. Peche’s J’RTOURN, P. Jomier’s J-SQUARED from SNT S/Mer, and F. Guillemot’s MISS J from SNT S/Mer.  In addition, the two “big boats” in class are S. Blevin’s J/109 JOKE from SNT S/Mer and P. Vidon’s J/111 J4F from SN Baie St Malo.

In the world of one-design, J’s continue to dominate the French scene, with strong turnouts for J/70s and J/80s.  In the sixteen-boat J/70 fleet several of the top J/80 teams from the past are most likely focused on the upcoming J/70 World Championship to be sailed in Poole, England in 2019.  Familiar names are racing, like Luc Sambron’s HEMON-CAMUS from APCC Voile Sportive, Herve Leduc’s PIERRE OCEANE from SR Rochelaises and Eric Vallliant’s TRISKELL from CN Narbonne.  A top Russian/ Spanish crew will be also participating, NEW TERRITORIES RUS 667 sailed by S. Alexei and Hugo Roche, sailing under the flag of YC St Petersburg in Russia.

Again setting the record for at least a dozen years as THE largest one-design class at SPI Ouest will be the fleet of seventy-one J/80s.  Such is the strength of the J/80 class in France that virtually ALL top yacht clubs/ sailing clubs have them as “club boats”; so juniors and women train on them all the time.  That continues to feed the used-boat marketplace for J/80s.  There are many fresh faces in this year’s fleet, as well as some of the grizzled veterans from European and World Championships.  Look for some of these teams to be at the top of the leaderboard; Ludovic Gilet’s NUMERO J fron CN Pornic, Andrew Hurst’s British crew aboard SEAHORSE MAGAZINE from Keyhaven YC, Simon Moriceau’s ARMEN HABITAT from APPC Voile Sportive, Madame Rousseaux’s CN ST CAST GRAND OUEST ETIQUETTE from CN St Cast, Luc Nadal’s GANJA from NDCV Angers,  and Simon Pellisier’s INTUITIVE SAILS from NDCV Angers.

Perhaps what is most notable for the J/80 fleet is the increasing number of women helms as well as a significant increase in the numbers of university sailing teams- at least ten! Sailing photo credits- Jean-Marie Liot. For more SPI OUEST France Regatta sailing information Add to Flipboard Magazine.