All posts by Simon Jourdan

A good start for the 19th  Marie-Agnès Péron Trophy

The start took place at the scheduled time: 13:00

Marie Gendron on 1050-Léa Nature was the first to round the clearing buoy one mile after the start line, and it is she who leads the fleet at the Raz de Sein after two hours of racing, neck and neck with 1048-DMG Mori skippered by Laure Galley.

Julien Letissier on 1069-Frerot Branchet has taken the lead over the production boats and is making 12 knots in the Bay of Audierne.

The 138 did not start.

The 984, 1067 and 945 dropped out.

After returning to Douarnenez, the 833 finally got back into the race.


On the eve of the start of the 19th Marie-Agnès Péron Trophy

84 boats are entered, 25 prototypes and 59 production boats. A dozen nationalities are represented. And only 11 women are in the starting blocks this year for this demanding race. The Marie-Agnès Péron Trophy is raced over 220 nautical miles along the south coast of Brittany, and you have to manage the little sleep you have, as well as your diet and hydration. It’s like a thirty-hour sprint.

From L to R: Annabelle Moreau, race director, Chantal Delangle Müller, volunteer coordinator and Laurent Balliet, Winches Club base manager.

This Wednesday, 15 volunteers (including around 10  from the Optimiste 29 association) are finalising the safety checks under the guidance of coordinator Chantal Delangle Müller, who has been in the job for 15 years. The inspectors check all the compulsory safety equipment aboard the boat before setting off on the race. There are around thirty checks to be carried out every day. And according to Chantal, everything’s going very well.

This week, Annabelle Moreau becomes the 2nd female director of an ocean race in France after Sylvie Vian, after twenty years as assistant director.

What’s her role?

Before the race:

– Validate the documents and race instructions with the race committee

– Apply for authorisations from the state authorities with the organiser (in this case the Winches Club)

-Deal with the safety issues inherent in the event

During the race:

Ensure safety on the water.

Race management is not about managing the sporting aspect of the event, which is the responsibility of the FFV referees.

Its mission is to ensure that the boats are safe and that everything runs smoothly on the water, and to work with the accompanying boats and, if necessary, the CROSS to deal with any incidents that may arise, in the hope, of course, that they don’t!


How’s the  19th Marie Agnès Péron Trophy  shaping up?

Rather sporty and fast, the weather conditions should be passable but rather rough. We’re expecting a steady north-easterly wind of 20-25 knots with gusts.

It’s going to be a fast race, perhaps even close to a record, with the routing predicting the first arrivals 24 hours after the start, i.e. around midday on Friday.In this year of mini-transatlantic races, there are a lot of new skippers and the fleet is fairly heterogeneous. That makes it a bit tricky to create the courses, because you have to think about the frontrunners as well as, and above all, the backrunners, the crossings, the zones and the weather. We mustn’t forget the backrunners.”

Gender diversity seems to be the big theme for the Mini class in 2023. What’s your opinion on this issue?

Co-education is an important theme. There’s no denying that women are undervalued and disadvantaged. Positive discrimination is a bit embarrassing for me, as I’m in favour of equality, but I think that an obligation is needed to get things into the mainstream. I’d rather be recognised for my skills than for my gender, obviously.


Laurence Balliet, aka “Lolo”, has been base manager of the Winches Club since November 2022. She’s no stranger to the Mini, having done a number of escorts and lined up at the start of the PLM earlier this year. “The weather was fine and the volunteers put in a lot of hard work, but there was a lot of support” is how she sums up this first race organisation in Douarnenez. “I’m trying to coordinate all the great energies as best I can and to take care of as many people as possible so that they themselves have as much energy as possible to take care of the Mini skippers. The Winches Club is very committed to sailing for all and this has a strong link with the Mini class, which is a gateway to ocean racing for all.”

Tonight’s weather briefing takes place at 18:00.

The start of the race is scheduled for tomorrow at 13:00.


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After a good fight finally  Irina Gracheva prevailed against Sébastien Pebelier. She knew perfectly well how to negotiate the ridge to the south of the  Chaussée de Sein and that was decisive. Pierre Le Roy completes the podium for the Prototypes.

Léo Debiesse wins the Trophy for the  Series with Hugo Dhallenne second then Romain Le Gall.  For them too, negotiating the ridge of the  Chaussée de Sein was decisive.

By  03:00 this morning almost the whole fleet have gone round the west of  Sein and are heading for  Douarnenez

You can see videos of the first two on  Facebook du Winches

Prototypes arrivals  :

1 – Irina Gracheva Racing Mini-Transat 2021 (800) on 4 June at  23:00 48’42”

2 – Sebastien Pebelier Decosail 787on 4 June at  23:00 57’43”

3 – Pierre Le Roy- Big Bounce 1019 on  5 June at  01:00 10’31”

Séries arrivals :

1 – Léo Debiesse 966 Les Alphas on 5 June at  01:00 15’11’’

2 – Hugo Dhallenne 979 YC Saint Lunairele on 5 June at  01:00  47’35’’

3 – Romain Le Gall 987 les Optiministes Tribord on 5 June at  02:00  19’25”

The final sprint takes off !

It’s the final duel between  Sébastien Pebelier on the  787-Decosail and  Irina Gracheva  on the  800 who are ahead by  a nautical mile and a half  and speed ahead at  4.5 knots,  less than 20 nautical miles from the finish.
Four  nautical miles away to the south-west Pierre le Roy’s 1019-BigBounce  is side to side with the first Series,  Léo Debiesse’s 966-Les Alphas followed by the  950-Porsche François Champion. Sixteen boats have succeeded in rounding  the western buoy of the  Chaussée de Sein, many more are still working round it. At this rate the first ones are expected just before midnight, with the main group arriving at dawn.

1016, 903 and 871  have retired from the race.

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West of Sein

The wind has been light since this morning. The fleet is progressing slowly but surely, at about 3 knots, towards the most western mark of the course which is  Sein’s western buoy. Amongst the leaders many have decided to flirt with the  Chaussée de Sein, Irina Gracheva on her  prototype 800 took the southern option which seems to be paying off at the 30th hour of the  course since she’s now in first position. For the séries Léo Debiesse on the Pogo3 -966-Les Alphas is now sailing in 3rd position of the fleet. This now extends over more than  20 nautical miles which means about 7 hours between the first and last skipper.

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at 14:00

On the second day

Last night, everyone defended their position but it appears that the God of Wind abandoned the skippers in the early hours. The fleet has now drawn closer in the Bay of Audierne. The front runners are the 5 prototypes : 950-Porsche François Champion, 787-DECOSAIL Sébastien Pebelier, 1019-BigBounce Pierre Le Roy, 800 Irina Gracheva and Victor Turpin’s 850-Pays d’Iroise.

For the Séries, Léo Debiesse on the  966-Les Alphas leads his category pursued by 4 competitors  less than half a nautical mile away, the 914-Maitri – powered by Velotrade of Brieuc Lebec, Alberto Riva’s 993-EdiliziAcrobatica, Romain le Gall’s  987-Les OptiministeTribord and Hugo Dhallenne’s 979-YC Saint Lunaire.

The fleet are very slowly  getting closer, with  2-3 knots in  Chaussée de Sein which they should reach in mid-afternoon. This morning the routing application  declared an ETA (estimated time of arrival) of between 21:00 and 22:00 this evening.

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Taking stock after 12hrs of racing

So it’s now been 12 hours since the competitors set off from  Douarnenez and the first have reached Groix, so  82 nautical miles at an average of slightly less than 7 knots. Good weather,  smooth seas, and no withdrawals up to now apart from the 589 which never left.

At the head of the race we find the  prototypes : 950-Porsche François Champion, 787-DECOSAIL Sébastien Pebelier and 1019-BigBounce Pierre Le Roy bunched up together.  The 800 skippered by Irina Gracheva has caught up and got much closer to the first three. And 2 nautical miles further two other boats bring up the rear of the first group : Victor Turpin’s  850-Pays d’Iroise and Timothée Villain-Amirat’s 756.

Looking at the Series,  two Pogo 3 are in front : the  914-Maitri – powered by Velotrade of Brieuc Lebec and Léo Debiesse’s  966-Les Alphas. Alberto Riva follows on the  993-EdiliziAcrobatica, a Vector (rounded bows), then a  Pogo 3,  Loïc Blin’s 871 and  Romain Le Gall’s Maxi 987-LES OPTIMINISTES TRIBORD (also rounded bows). This group of five largely make up the head of the fleet which now extends over 25 nautical miles . The night should prove to be quite tactical and therefore tiring, a crucial point of the Trophy.

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Passing the Raz 

Four hours after departure, the  950-Porsche skippered by François Champion has crossed  the Raz de Sein first, separated almost nautical mile from Sébastien Pebelier on  787-DECOSAIL. The third prototype is the 850-Pays d’Iroise skippered by  Victor Turpin.

For the Series, Romain Le Gall’s Maxi 987-Les Optiministes Tribord heads up the category just in front of  Loïc Blin’s 871 and Melwin Fink’s 920.

Right now the fleet extends over about 8 nautical miles.

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A great start!

The  17th  Marie-Agnès Péron Trophy got started slightly late, at  09:15 with a slight westerly wind (3-4 knots) and a cloudy sky. It was  François Champion on the prototype 950-Porsche who reached the first mark before the others then set off for the  Raz de Sein, followed by Julie Simon’s Series  963-DinaMips. And it was Georges Kick on the 529, an hour after the start, who went round the same buoy last.

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