THE GRAND PRIX GUYADER – Ladies and Gentleman truly served !


Forced to remain in the port yesterday due to the harsh weather conditions the competitors of the Grand Prix Guyader and all the different series saw their frustrations of the previous day swept away today with the passing of some powerful squalls over the Bay of Douarnenez. 



Challenging and tricky The trailing sky, low clouds and squalls, typically at the rear of the low pressure system were fully unleashed today on the Grand Prix Guyader to the utmost joy of all the sailors. This morning saw its participants itching with impatience and raring to get back out on the race course.

“This is what we have come for ,” said a frank Daniel Souben, skipper of the M34 Courrier Dunkerque 3, who moreover finished the day with two out of three wins under his belt and perfectly matching his words to action.

More complicated were some of the events for the smaller monotypes with an unfortunate dismasting in Longtze (Team La Rochelle) and a ‘man overboard’ in the Mach 6.50. Out of the Dragons competing for the Coupe Crédit Mutuel de Bretagne a certain number (23), including some of the top competitors such as the Russian or Ukranian teams, decided to return to the pontoons at Tréboul long before the starting gun had even fired.

Absolutely not to be considered a lack of confidence from these extremely talented sailors, it was rather a sound decision to safeguard their boats from the rough sea conditions in view of the Grand Prix Guyader Dragon kicking off on Wednesday 2nd May.

“The top eight sailors in the world championship are all here,” admitted multiple-Olympic medallist Vincent Hoesch this morning, “whoever wins the Grand Prix Guyader will be the real world champion. We have never before had such an amazing fleet with such an outstanding level. It is absolutely incredible, really excellent!” Sailing on board Thomas Müller’s Dragon GER 1073, Vincent was one of the teams out of the 52 registered today opting to throw in the towel for the day.

Not the case however for Douarnenez local Tanguy Ravac’h, recruited by Ezio Murzi for the Italian Dragon (ITA 62),

“We decided to go out anyway. It is such an opportunity to sail alongside those renowned for being the world’s absolute best in Dragon. I was definitely not going to deny myself such a pleasure!” For Tanguy it was a simple challenge, “The 25 best in the world are here today, I would love to finish up in that first group.”

Mission accomplished; in the only race of the day the team crossed the finish line in 25 th position….  

In the second race of the Dragon Coupe de Bretagne Martin Palson (SWE375) won with Jose Matoso (POR55) second and Jens Christensen (DEN405) third.
Overall Jens Christensen now leads the regatta with Markus Breneck (GER10) second and Jose Matoso third.


And then the Imoca…

Already starting the Grand Prix Guyader two days later than planned due to the famous weather conditions, it was finally a remarkable entry for the fleet today and a real treat for those spectators able to admire the race start at 13h of the five Vendée Globe 60 foot monohulls participating.

A charcoal grey sea spattered with silver reflections from a stunning sky overhead and twenty knots of southerly breeze was the backdrop for the IMOCA fleet that launched out with the wind abeam on the fifty mile route towards le Raz de Sein. With a spectacular start, in just minutes PRB had absolutely steamed past all the other competitors,

“I’m really keen to get out there and I’m almost twitching with impatience,” declared Vincent Riou this morning on leaving the dock, “we don’t get enough opportunities to sail these boats and I particularly love coming to Douarnenez. What’s my aim? – To win.”

And so it was, with Safran and Banque Populaire completing the podium, it was a fortunate crowd lining the port of Rosmeur to see the boats in. A particularly close finish for the three podium finishes with Safran just 20 seconds behind PRB followed by Banque Populaire in little more than a minute. 

Just a few hundred yards away from the futuristic show out on the water, in Port Rhu the traditional sailing festivities will continue for another two days through tomorrow and Wednesday.


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