News

09
Dun Laoghaire, Ireland bid a brisk, breezy farewell to the MOD70 European Tour fleet with Sébastien Josse’s crew on Groupe Edmond de Rothschild collecting the maximum 3 bonus points from the prologue circuit and leading the fleet out on to Dublin Bay for the leg to Cascais, Portugal. 
 
In a brisk 15 knot southwesterly breeze the preliminary circuit of two triangles delivered great entertainment for the big crowd of spectators and challenging racing for the teams. Josse’s crew lead Spindrift racing – the winners of the Dun Laoghaire City Races – through the scoring gate, with Race for Water taking 1 point for third. 
 
The skies remained clear with some sunshine for the send off after two days of great City Races, but the weather outlook promises a tough tactical beat in a building southwesterly wind round to the Fastnet rock. 
 
The 200 mile leg round to the lonely light, known as Ireland’s teardrop as it was the last landmark that Irish emigrants saw as they set off for America in the 19th century, will not only see robust, potentially boat breaking seas but may offer an early split in the fleet depending on the timing of a cold front which is due there at around the same time as the fleet.  
 
The departure today was a great finale to the four day festival organized by Dun Laoghaire Harbour Company and the National Yacht to bring this new major international event to our shores. 
 
Thousands lined the pier on a daily basis to watch these breathtaking 70ft trimarans lift their hulls out of the water in strong gusts. The crowds were kept informed of the action by Irish Olympic sailor Ger Owens with a lively commentary. 
 
Ger’s Olymic team mate Annalise Murphy raced on Musandam-Oman Sail with her parents Con Murphy and Cathy McAleavey who were celebrating the 19th anniversary of the round Ireland speed record which still holds today. This record was achieved by the late Steve Fossett onboard Lakota with Brian Thompson who is crew on Musandam-Oman Sail and himself holds 20 world speed records to his name.
 
The MOD70 Dun Laoghaire festival is the last of the major international sailing competitions to visit our shores. In July 2012, Dun Laoghaire played host to the ISAF Youth World Championships and the hosting of these major events projects Dun Laoghaire as a major sailing venue to a global media audience. Dun Laoghaire will be in international news again in November 2012 when the ISAF (world governing body for sailing) hosts its annual conference in the Royal Marine. It is at this conference that the classes and events for the Olympics in RIio 2016 will be finalized. During the conference the Rolex Sailor of the Year Award will be held and many of the major names in international sailing will visit our shores for an event that is broadcast live internationally.
 
2013 will continue to be a busy year for Dun Laoghaire. The MOD70 European Tour hopes to return in May and in August the National Yacht Club will host the European Laser Championships with Annalise Murpht competing in her local waters for the Radial title.

*** *** ***
Thursday in picture perfect Dun Laoghaire, in theory, is the first rest day for the crews on the MOD70 European Tour. After the tension and suspense of last night’s midnight finish and the fact that most teams had very little time to rest and recuperate on the 1238 mile leg which has just finished, then it is well earned.

But for the technical teams, responsible for the upkeep of the craft, it is their only real chance to make sure that the 70 foot trimarans and all equipment is returned to tip-top shape for Friday and Saturday’s busy programme of City Races and Speed Matches.

Most notable problem to be solved is that of Spindrift racing steering, skipper Yann Guichard reported last night that they had been fighting the boat’s tendency to steer right.

And then, without any further downtime, Sunday it is off to Cascais, Portugal.

Such is going to be the demanding pace and pattern of this five week tour from Kiel, Germany to Genoa, Italy.
Ashore in Dun Laoghaire it is festival time. The wonderful east pier, which was built in the 1800’s and is one mile long, has dozens of displays and stalls for visitors to enjoy, from food courts, farmers market, fairtrade and ethnic stalls to craft stalls, street entertainers and vintage amusements. And the MOD70 fleet are berthed off the main pier at the NYC so are easily viewed.

On Friday 07 September and Saturday 08 September the MOD70s will be competing in Dublin Bay in the Dublin City Race and Speed Match Races and there will be live commentary with Irish Olympic 470 sailor Ger Owens.
This evening the prizes will be presented at the National YC, who are playing wonderful warm hosts to the MOD70 fleet and sailors from each team will sail on board members yachts for the final race of their evening series.
And looking ahead the leg to Cascais is looking set to have a very brisk opening with a low pressure system set to push the current pleasant anticyclonic conditions on and replace them with a 25-30kts SW’ly which will veer more W and NW’ly.

Programme of Events

Wednesday 5th September: Estimated arrival of MOD70s 10am – 6pm Food courts, farmers market, fairtrade & ethnic stalls, craft stalls, family entertainment, vintage amusements 
Thursday 6th September:  10am – 6pm Food courts, farmers market, fairtrade & ethnic stalls, craft stalls, family entertainment, vintage amusements 
Friday 7th September : 10am – 6pm Food courts, farmers market, fairtrade & ethnic stalls, craft stalls, family entertainment, vintage amusements 3pm Dublin City Races and Speed Matches. Vantage points from the East Pier to Sandycove with live commentary from the East Pier. 9pm Firework display in Dun Laoghaire Harbour.Saturday 8th September: 10am – 6pm Food courts, farmers market, fairtrade & ethnic stalls, craft stalls, family entertainment, vintage amusements 2pm Dublin City Races and Speed Matches. Vantage points from the East Pier to Sandycove with live commentary from the East Pier. 
Sunday 9th September: 10am – 6pm Food courts, farmers market, fairtrade & ethnic stalls, craft stalls, family entertainment, vintage amusements 3pm Start of Leg 2 Dublin (Dun Laoghaire)-Cascais. Vantage points from the East Pier to Sandycove with live commentary from the East Pier. 

*** *** ***
Just as it was widely predicted since well before the MOD70 fleet left Kiel, Germany on Sunday afternoon, the finish of the first leg of the MOD70 European Tour is shaping up to be a close, slow cliff hanger.

There was no standout favourite before the start but even now with less than 85 miles to the finish it is no easier to predict which of the five teams will break the finish line off Dún Laoghaire early Thursday morning. What remains almost certain is that it will be slow and difficult as the breeze shuts off completely due to the presence of a high pressure system which is centring itself over the fleet this afternoon and evening.

Yann Guichard’s Spindrift racing has lead for more than 1000 miles of the passage. They passed Michel Desjoyeaux’s FONCIA in the very early hours of Monday morning when they stood further off the NW Danish coast. Since then FONCIA has been a constant threat in their rear view mirror, all the way through last night’s high speed headlong dash, making more than 190 miles in one sustained nine hour spell.

“We have seen FONCIA pretty much since leaving Kiel and now they are on our axis downwind about five miles away. “ reported Spindrift racing’s Leo Lucet this afternoon, “We are not especially focused on them, instead just working at our speed and mode but just keeping an eye on them. It is a bit quieter on deck as we have not been able to stick to watches much, there were too many manouevres. We are being especially careful not to break anything and get some rest as soon as possible”.

The highly experienced six strong Spindrift racing crew skippered by Yann Guichard is well stocked with experts from the intense Solitaire du Figaro circuit, including 2012 winner Yann Eliès, Erwan Tabarly a veteran of 11 editions of the solo one design offshore race and Pascal Bidégorry, winner ten years ago.  They have maintained their cool under pressure from FONCIA, which has Charles Caudrelier – Volvo Ocean Race and Transat Jacques Vabre winner – navigating for three times Figaro winner Michel Desjoyeaux. 

The Celtic Sea is a well trodden path for the Figarists, who are renowned offshore for their exceptional stamina and focus, well used to the sustained concentration required to gain tiny advantages during the small hours of tight one-design races.  And once again the MOD70 class, for all of their remarkable speed potential, is offering incredibly tight one design racing!

Since Land’s End there have been no real tactical options on the upwind leg. FONCIA had closed again, poised less than five miles behind Spindrift racing this afternoon but in turn they have third placed Groupe Edmond de Rothschild breathing down their necks on their quarter, within half a mile.

And with such a total shut down in the breeze expected from around 1800hrs this evening, dying first for those ahead, the fourth and fifth placed duo of Sidney-Gavignet’s Musandam-Oman Sail only half a mile ahead of Stève Ravussin Race for Water should not be discounted as potential winners, even though they are about 15 miles downwind from the leading trio.

What’s the best strategy? That is the key question to which there is no simple answer. Usually keeping between the finish line and your opponent is a good maxim to follow, but equally the leader’s usual advantage is often overturned as they effectively mark the lightest, stickiest patches. So all of the crews were doing their best to ensure they are as well rested as possible, saving themselves for the final decisive miles.

It is likely to be early Thursday morning, between 5 and 8 local time when the leader breaks the finish, but which team it will be is anyone’s guess!

Rankings 5 September at 1400hrs UTC
1- Spindrift racing FRA (Yann Guichard FRA) at 92,2 miles from Dun Laoghaire
2- FONCIA FRA(Michel Desjoyeaux FRA) at 5,5 miles from leader
3- Groupe Edmond de Rothschild FRA (Sébastien Josse FRA) at 5,7 miles from leader
4- Musandam-Oman Sail OMA (Sidney Gavignet FRA) at 21,8 miles from leader
5- Race for Water SUI   (Stève Ravussin SUI) at 22,3 miles from leader

*** *** ***
After a thrilling exit Sunday afternoon from Kiel, Germany, a high speed chase through the islands to the east of Denmark, an interlude of 27-30 knot headwinds potentially boat breaking conditions off Skagen point at the north corner, the leaders of Leg 1 of the MOD70 European Tour are now set to have their first ever real encounter - as a racing fleet -with very, very light winds.

Through the first 24 hours of this opening stage from Kiel to Dublin, via the English Channel, the fleet had already covered more than 450 of the 1238 miles, enjoying sustained bursts of 32-34 knots through the islands in the dark of Sunday evening, but an elongated high pressure system centred over the south of England and extending into the North Sea looks set to offer an entirely new challenge for the crews. 

Winds over the next 24 hours may be as light as two or three knots for the new fleet of one design trimaran speedsters.

The only similarity to July’s remarkable high speed Transatlantic dash, the KRYS OCEAN RACE is that the same top three boats are presently led, again, by Yann Guichard’s Spindrift racing which managed to pass Michel Desjoyeaux’s FONCIA team in the small hours of Monday morning.

“In  an area where the wind died down for a few miles, we were expecting it to come back and did not set more sail. And it didn’t….so the bolder Spindrift took the chance to overtake us.” Recalled Desjoyeaux today.

Spindrift stayed some four miles further off the Danish coast and managed to power pass FONCIA to earn a lead, which they had grown to five miles by Monday afternoon.  Seb Josse’s Groupe Edmond de Rothshild lay third, just 14.2 miles behind the leaders, on the same SW’ly track.

The passage down and across the North Sea into the Channel had already seen Race for Water – with the combined talents of Stève Ravussin, Franck Cammas and Thomas Coville in play – making an early move to the NW from their trailing position, seeking to try and stay with the remnants of the breeze for longer by avoiding the centre of the ridge. 

Mid-afternoon Monday the leading duo still had some 175 miles to make to the entrance and were progressively slowing, ready to deal with the slalom of marks and buoys marking out shipping lanes, wind farms, oil platforms, which Desjoyeaux calls the ‘Pas de Calais gymkhana’

Race for Water’s 25 miles hitch to the NW was matched a few hours later by fourth placed Musandam-Oman Sail. Sidney Gavignet’s crew were just under 50 miles off the lead, ruing some small mistakes during the first night, but all well aware that there are at least three major transition zones where the fleet is likely to compact again before they reach Dublin.

Recent weather models show it might be Tuesday afternoon or early evening before a more stable, meaningful NW’ly breeze returns for the MOD70’s, so patience and focus will be tested to the extreme over coming hours. ETA Dublin is still late Wednesday, early Thursday but that may be ambitious given the evolution of the weather over the next few days.

Brian Thompson (GBR) Musandam-Oman Sail on Monday mid-morning: “We are off the coast of Denmark going upwind on port tack in 18kts of breeze with a full main and the big jib, the Solent up, with reasonably flat seas and everything is good on board. It is looking like it will be upwind all the way across the North Sea so it will be very strategic. Race for Water tacked before us but we have three boats in front of us who have not tacked yet, so it looks like we can split across the North Sea and it will be interesting and there are light winds expected so all to play for.

It was a great start in Kiel with so many people turning out to see us and hopefully we put on a good show. And it was really fast sailing last night through the Danish islands. The highlight was passing Race for Water about ten metres off when we were doing 33 knots and they were doing a sail change, just above them just as they were finishing their sail change. The leaders got away from us a little bit but there is a long way to go.”

Michel Desjoyeaux (FRA) FONCIA (mail today): “After starting out with a fanfare from Kiel, pocketing three nice 3 bonus points, the climb to the point of Denmark saw us making good speed on a flat sea, a good time to slide along at speed. For 300 miles up to the Cape we managed to hold on to our opponents, but in an area where the wind died down a few miles we were expecting it to come back and did not set more sail. So the bolder Spindrift took the chance to overtake us. 

The passage between Denmark and Norway was made upwind on a long tack along the coast in 30kts of wind and a short sea and so it was not easy to go fast, it slammed a lot. As it went NW the wind began to soften. The sea is flatter, it's really nice in the sun with organised watches on board Foncia. We should see the first course mark of the Pas de Calais gymkana in a couple of hours, and after the wind dies away tonight we might be here a while”

*** *** ***
The MOD70 European Tour left Kiel, Germany today to sail the 1188 miles to Dun Laoghaire. The fleet of 5 trimarans are due to arrive in Dun Laoghaire during the day on Wednesday 5th September.
 
Some of the worlds leading sailors from the Volvo Ocean Race, Americas Cup, Solitaire de Figaro and Olympics will compete. 

There are more than eight sailors across the different boats who hold round the world records including Britain’s Brian Thompson who sails on MUSANDAM – OMAN SAIL. Thompson has more than 20 offshore sailing speed records to his name including the round Ireland non stop record and the new multihull record for sailing non stop around the world on board Banque Populaire V in January. 

The MOD70 Dun Laoghaire Festival will include food courts, farmers market, fairtrade & ethnic stalls, craft stalls, street entertainers and vintage amusements. On Friday 07 September and Saturday 08 September the MOD70s will be competing in Dublin Bay in the Dublin City Race and Speed Match Races and there will be live commentary with Irish Olympic sailor Ger Owens from the East Pier. There will be a fireworks display on Friday 7th September at 9pm.

The trimarans will leave Dun Laoghaire at 3pm on Sunday 9th for the start of the second leg of the European Tour from Dun Laoghaire to Cascais, Portugal.

The high speed MOD70 class of trimarans are a new innovation for sailing. They have already proven to be the fastest offshore sailing one design class in the world. Each MOD70 is completely identical, built from the same moulds, so that success  – inshore and offshore – reflects the skills of the sailing crew and not any technological advantage.
 
www.mod70-europeantour.com 

*** *** ***

Dun Laoghaire will play host to sailing’s most exciting new global sailing championship series when the MOD70 European Tour visits from Wednesday 5th September to Sunday 9th September. Ireland has hosted most of the world’s top sailing events during 2012 and the hosting of this new series undoubtedly proves Ireland as one of the best sailing locations in the world.

The MOD70 European Tour's 1200 mile first leg from Kiel, Germany to Dun Laoghaire, Dublin will get underway on Sunday 02 September. The 5 trimarans are due to arrive on Wednesday 05 September for a 5 day family festival on the East Pier in Dun Laoghaire.

Some of the worlds leading sailors from the Volvo Ocean Race, Americas Cup, Solitaire de Figaro and Olympics will compete. There are more than eight sailors across the different boats who hold round the world records including Britain’s Brian Thompson who sails on MUSANDAM – OMAN SAIL. Thompson has more than 20 offshore sailing speed records to his name including the new multihull record for sailing non stop around the world on board Banque Populaire V in January.

On RACE FOR WATER, Franck Cammas who skippered Groupama to victory in the Volvo Ocean race is sailing as navigator with his hugely accomplished Groupama crew-mate Thomas Coville who sails as a helm-trimmer. Also from the Volvo winning Groupama team is Charles Caudrelier who will be navigator on FONCIA.

Others with a strong background in the Volvo Ocean Race are Michi Mueller who joins his former Puma crew mate Sidney Gavignet on MUSANDAM – OMAN SAIL for the inshore races, while GROUPE EDMOND DE ROTHSCHILD’S skipper Sébastien Josse led ABN AMRO 2 in the 2005-6 Volvo Ocean Race.

There are a good cross section of Olympic class sailors, mainly from the Tornado such as Yann Guichard (SPINDRIFT RACING) who was fourth in Sydney in 2000, but also Xavier Revil (FONCIA) Christophe Espagnon (GROUPE EDMOND DE ROTHSCHILD) and Olivier Douillard (GROUPE EDMOND DE ROTHSCHILD). Tanguy Cariou (RACE FOR WATER) sailed the 470 in Sydney and was 1998 world champion.

There are match racers like Francois Morvan (RACE FOR WATER) and Julien Falxa (FONCIA) and America’s Cup winner Nicolas Texier (FONCIA), whilst with a background on the solo Solitaire du Figaro there are Yann Eliès, the 2012 winner who joins SPINDRIFT RACING, Thierry Chabagny (FONCIA) and Thomas Rouxel (GROUPE EDMOND DE ROTHSCHILD).

Round the world Jules Verne Record holders present and past include Emmanuel Leborgne (FONCIA), Texier, Jean-Baptiste Levaillant (SPINDRIFT RACING Spindrift), Florent Chastel (GROUPE EDMOND DE ROTHSCHILD), Kevin Escoffier (SPINDRIFT RACING), Britain’s Brian Thompson (MUSANDAM – OMAN SAIL).

Past alumni of the solo round the world Vendée Globe include double winner Desjoyeaux, Eliès, Josse, Thompson and Coville.

The MOD70 Dun Laoghaire Festival will include food courts, farmers market, fairtrade & ethnic stalls, craft stalls, street entertainers and vintage amusements. On Friday 07 September and Saturday 08 September the MOD70s will be competing in Dublin Bay in the Dublin City Race and Speed Match Races and there will be live commentary with Irish Olympic sailor Ger Owens from the East Pier. The trimarans will leave Dun Laoghaire at 3pm on Sunday 9th for the start of the second leg of the European Tour from Dun Laoghaire to Cascais, Portugal.

The high speed MOD70 class of trimarans are a new innovation for sailing. They have already proven to be the fastest offshore sailing one design class in the world. Each MOD70 is completely identical, built from the same moulds, so that success – inshore and offshore – reflects the skills of the sailing crew and not any technological advantage.

www.mod70-europeantour.com

Outline Programme of Events

Wednesday 5th September:
 Estimated arrival of MOD70s
10am – 6pm Food courts, farmers market, fairtrade & ethnic stalls, craft stalls,
family entertainment, vintage amusements
Thursday 6th September: 
10am – 6pm Food courts, farmers market, fairtrade & ethnic stalls, craft stalls,
family entertainment, vintage amusements
Friday 7th September
: 10am – 6pm Food courts, farmers market, fairtrade & ethnic stalls, craft stalls,
family entertainment, vintage amusements 3pm Dublin City Races and Speed Matches. Vantage points from the East Pier to Sandycove with live commentary from the East Pier. 9pm Firework display in Dun Laoghaire Harbour. Saturday 8th September:
 10am – 6pm Food courts, farmers market, fairtrade & ethnic stalls, craft stalls,
family entertainment, vintage amusements 2pm Dublin City Races and Speed Matches. Vantage points from the East Pier to Sandycove with live commentary from the East Pier.
Sunday 9th September: 
10am – 6pm Food courts, farmers market, fairtrade & ethnic stalls, craft stalls,
family entertainment, vintage amusements 3pm Start of Leg 2 Dublin (Dun Laoghaire)-Cascais.
Vantage points from the East Pier to Sandycove with live commentary from the East Pier.

Crew Line Up for the MOD70 European Tour



Race For Water: Steve Ravussin (SUI), Yvan Ravussin (SUI), Franck Cammas (FRA), Thomas Coville (FRA), François Morvan (FRA), Loïc Forestier (SUI), Tanguy Cariou (FRA), Nicolas Heintz (FRA), Gurvan Bontemps (FRA), Benoît Lequin (FRA)
FONCIA: Michel Desjoyeaux (FRA), Antoine Carraz (FRA), Thierry Chabagny (FRA), Charles Caudrelier (FRA), Emmanuel Leborgne (FRA), Xavier Revil (FRA), Alban Rosselin (FRA), Nicolas Texier (FRA), Julien FALXA (FRA) Groupe Edmond de Rothschild: Sébastien Josse (FRA), David Boileau (FRA), Florent Chastel (FRA), Cyril Dardashti (FRA), Olivier Douillard (FRA), Christophe Espagnon (FRA), Antoine Koch (FRA), Thomas Rouxel (FRA) Spindrift Racing: Yann Guichard (FRA), Léo Lucet (FRA), Pascal Bidégorry (FRA) Jacques Guichard (FRA), Jean-Baptiste Levaillant (FRA), Yann Eliès (FRA), Kevin Escoffier (FRA), Devan Le Bihan (FRA)
Musandam-Oman Sail: Sidney Gavignet (FRA), Fahad Al Hasni (OMA), Mohsin Al Busaidi (OMA), Khamis Al Amburi (OMA), Brian Thompson (GBR), Jean-François Cuzon (FRA), Thomas Le Breton (FRA), Michi Mueller (GER)
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