12 June 2017
The 13th Marie Agnès Péron Trophy will be remembered for its intensity. Skippers went all out to complete the route, keeping to a very fast pace, using up pretty much all their mental and physical energy in the process.
Mini Class skippers are well used to prolonged efforts, yet a race of over 24 hours, with no down time and other competitors always on the attack, requires skippers to dig especially deep to remain in the race and competitive.
In Proto: a challenge on the cards
Once past Penmar’ch on the return leg of the race, Ian Lipinski must have told himself it was time to focus and move things up a gear when he caught sight of the amazing Erwan Le Méné about to overtake him on his starboard side. It can be tempting to let down your guard when you are used to leading races unchallenged. Ian clearly demonstrated the power of his prototype designed by David Raison, however he also kept a watchful eye out for Le Méné, a Morbihan-based skipper with no money but heaps of talent. No doubt that constant pressure from le Mené’s 800, ‘Bon mais pas un rond’ played a part in bringing about the Trophy’s new record finishing time, achieved by Paris-born Lipinski in 1 day 4 hours 21 minutes and 43 seconds. The former record was held by Giancarlo Pedote.
Erwan Le Méné crossed the line only 35 minutes after Lipinski’s 865.
934, a ‘big nose’ designed by Etienne Bertrand, made a strong impression on her first real outing, which points to many exciting battles to come. A challenge to the previously untouchable Griffon.fr could be just around the corner. In spite of an early set-back due to a collision, the German skipper Jorg Riechers, who is still in the process of discovering the potential of his boat and fine-tuning its performance, put on a good show. Lillienthal crossed the finishing line only just over an hour after the race’s winner.
With only a few seconds between them, Sébastien Pebelier on Ropeye and Charlotte Mery on Optigestion-Femmes de Bretagne added spice to the race and provided a crowd-pleasing finish. This bodes well for future outings as they can push their boats to even greater levels of performance.
Lastly, despite a disappointing 6th place, we can count on Quentin Vlaminck on Arkema3 to be a strong competitor in the long runs of the Atlantic crossing.
In the Production category: High drama guaranteed
The 18min 40sec gap between the winner and the 6th place speaks volumes for the intensity of the race. The fast and furious six front-runners in this category did not, for a single moment, give an inch in their battle for the lead over the 220 nautical miles route from and to Douarnenez. At the same time, their merciless rivalry on the water is matched by indomitable friendship on the pontoons, so that each encounter is a fine pleasure to behold.
The Swiss skipper Valentin Gautier was the first to launch an attack moments after crossing the start line, and lead the race until Point Penmar’ch, when his jibboom failed and he was forced to withdraw, to his bitter disappointment. As a result, the gang of six found themselves in the lead. They took in turns to try and outwit the others to gain an advantage, chancing it and taking risks left, right and centre, making each temporary leader pay dearly for the smallest mistakes.
Inside the Maison du Nautisme in Tréboul, there was much talk around the table to make sense of these goings-on. Yet in all likelihood, Benoit Hantzperg’s northerly course past the Glénan Islands, taking him right by the rocks at the foot of the Eckmuhl lighthouse gave his boat Mahi-Mahi the tiny advantage that helped him win the race in the Production category. All credit to the Big Friendly Giant for retaining this slight edge over the rest of the gang until he reached the west of Sein and la Basse du Lis, and for not giving an inch until the finishing line in Douarnenez.
Following closely in Hantzperg’s wake, Erwan le Draoulec on ‘Emile Henry’, crossed the finishing line 2 minutes later. With only a 6min gap between him and Hantzperg, Pierre Chedeville took third place. In fourth place came the Irish skipper Tom Dolan’s Cellastab.com, whose belated sprint finish cost him a podium place. Tanguy Bouroullec on Kerhis-Cerfrance, who had lead the gang for the longest, took fifth place. Lastly Clarisse Cremer on TBS came in at 18 minutes and 40 seconds after the winning time.
All this is a sure sign that we can expect a fantastic Mini Transat, starting from La Rochelle in early October. Even more so as the other MAP Trophy finishers will want to make their mark as well. They will all be there next Sunday for the start of the Mini Fastnet. What a treat to look forward to!