The Ogre of Sein
Yesterday at 6pm, the 12th edition of the Marie-Agnès Péron Trophy started as planned, even though there was hardly any wind. Slowly, the competitors set sail towards the Raz de Sein, the first challenge on their route, past which they needed to get before the turn of the tide. Indeed, with such slight winds, it was essential to get through the Raz before its door slammed shut.
Not long after midnight, the Minis in the lead glided their way through the southern edge of the passage and in the following hour managed to swing past the critical point. About twenty others became trapped inside the jaws of the Ogre. Through the night, they soldiered on, worked frantically, tried everything, but all in vain. Without help from Aeolus, ruler of the winds, the Raz is a trap. Not before morning could the skippers at the tail end extricate themselves from this tangle. At this stage a few exhausted competitors made the wise decision, as good sailors would, to turn back towards Douarnenez, feeling somewhat bruised and battered.
For those in the lead, the weather caused a number of surprising developments. Most particularly in the Proto division, where the smiling Pablo Torres, the surprising Spaniard, lorded it on 431, his ‘old’ Manuard designed Mini from 2002, as he firmly maintained his lead position for the first part of the race.
It is only when he reached the Point Penmarc’h that Ian Lipinski regained the lead and gradually increased the gap between him and his chasers. Halfway through the race, his ‘Griffon.fr’ was way ahead of the rest as he sailed past ‘les Chats’, a route pointer south of Groix Island. Behind him, Pablo Torres boldly pushes on, holding on to second place 6 miles from the leader. He is 3 miles ahead of a trio made of Maxime Salle on 618, Gaultier Enguehard on 427 and Clément Machetel on 850.
A clear breakaway at the Jument rock
When it comes to Production boats, the publicised punch-up is well and truly underway, but things are not turning out as expected.
In the lead, Davy Beaudart on 969, ‘Le Fauffiffon Hénaf’ quickly pulled into first place. The four-time winner of the Trophy gave a thorough display of his great seamanship as he sailed past Sein and came first in the general ranking. It not until he reached point Penmarc’h that he was overtaken by the revolutionary Proto skippered by Ian Lipinski.
Some thought that the ‘Fauffiffon’ was on course for another easy flying victory. Especially as the main element of challenge came from older boats ( Vedran Kabalin’s Tip-top 704 ‘Eloa’, Etienne Fournier’s Argo 836, ‘Frates Pelouses’, and Louis-Xavier Laùiraud’s Ginto 479, ‘Woza Spirit’) which cannot keep up with Pogo3s when the wind starts to blow properly.
The other favourites, the pack of Pogo3 hounds, appeared to already be on bended knee in the first third of the race. It’s now quite clear that these bandits were simply play-acting and were sharpening their swords as they lay in ambush. Come 9am this morning, Pierre Chedeville on 887 dealt the first decisive blow and took first place in the ranking. This moment saw the emergence in the Production division of a quartet of four breakaways sailing in close formation. The race took on a much more predictable turn as this quartet is composed of four Pogo3s: 887, 869, 865, and 902.
Right now they are about to start sailing around Groix Island after which they will head back north, towards the finish line. We’re at mid-race and the ranking for the leading Production boats currently approaching the Basse Mélite, north of Groix Island is as follows:
- Pierre Chedeville on 887 ‘Blue Orange Games’ at 112,8 M from the finish line
- Davy Beaudart on 869, ‘Le Fauffiffon Hénaff”, à 112,9 M from the finish line.
- Gwenolé Gahinet 902, ‘Merci logways’, at112,9 M from the finish line.
- Erwan Le Draoulec on 895, ’Emile Henry’, at 112,9 M from the finish line.
- Tom Dolan on 910, ‘Offshoresailing.f’, at 113,0 M from the finish line.
- Yannick Le Clech on 906, ‘Dragobert’, at 114,5 M from the finish line.
- 7. Henri Lemenicier on 914, ‘Petit Tonerre’, at 116,1 M from the finish line.
- 8. Valentin Gautier on 903, ‘Shaman’, at 116,5 M from the finish line.
- 9. Guillaume Combescure on 905, ‘Mini Oiri’, at 118,1 M from the finish line.
- Tanguy Bouroullec on 909, ‘Pogo Partners’, at 119,0 M from the finish line.
- Jonas Gerckens on 882, ‘Volvo’, at 120,3 M from the finish line.
Obviously the race is far from over and it promises to be quite a battle royale.