First competitive outing for the Flying Phantom F18
Last week was the second edition of the Raid du Goëlo held out of Saint Quay Portrieux on France's North Brittany coast and the opening stage of the French long distance race multihull championship that continues with the Eurocat Longue Distance in May, the Raid de l'Espace (Brehal), Raid du Pertuis (La Rochelle), Cataglenn (Les Glenans), Raid des Baleines, and more events throughout the year.
The Raid du Goëlo was significant for best the first competitive outing for Flying Phantom One Design that lined up against a catamaran fleet including F18s, Nacra 17s and Viper F16s. The event comprised three races were of 25-40 nm length.
For the Phantom Sailing Team of helmsman Gurvan Bontemps and crew Benjamin Amiot, it was a unique opportunity to get to race their foiling F18 after weeks of testing, optimisation and training.
Raid #1: Saint Quay Portrieux - Bréhat Island
The first race took place on Saturday afternoon and started with light winds below 8 knots. The fleet headed northwest along the coast for a very long upwind leg in very shifty conditions. The Phantom team was in the middle in the fleet for 75% of the leg, searching the best sailing mode - i.e. in the water or skimming - in order to maximise the performance of the boat. At the end of the upwind leg of Ile de Brehat the wind picked up and the team took the lead and started the downwind leg at full speed under gennaker in 100% foiling mode. Gurvan and Benjamin finished the race in 3 hours 16 minutes, 9 minutes and 43 seconds ahead of Fred Duthil and Frederic Moreau on their F18.
Raid #2: Saint Quay Portrieux Islands
The second race of the weekend started on Sunday morning in sunny conditions but light winds. The team took the lead just after the dog leg that was positioned next to the starting line. A long downwind leg brought the boats behind the islands with the Flying Phantom four minutes ahead of the fleet at the first buoy. After rounding the islands, a long upwind leg in the direction of Saint Quay Portrieux provided the opportunity for Gurvan and Benjamin to find the right way to sail the Flying Phantom upwind in non-flying mode as the true wind speed was only 5-6 knots. The final leg to the finish line was a full flying reaching leg. The team completed the race in 1 hour 16 minutes, 10 minutes and 26 seconds ahead of second placed Charles Hainneville and his brother Maxime racing their Nacra 17.
Raid #3: Saint Quay Portrieux - Binic
The last race headed into the Baie de Saint Brieuc in very light conditions. Gurvan and Benjamin took the lead for the very long downwind leg, taking an offshore option while the rest of fleet went into the coast. They rounded the leeward mark in the middle of the F18 fleet, but re-took the lead finally on the upwind leg and crossed the finish line in first position in 2 hours 24 minutes. Unfortunately due to their OCS they were not scored in this last race. The final corrected times gave Fred Duthil and Frédéric Moreau victory in their F18.
Gurvan Bontemps commented: “The Raid du Goëlo was our first race of the year. The challenge with the rating is that we need to be 9 minutes per hour faster than an F18. We almost succeeded in doing that in the second race of the weekend, even if we picked up a fishing net that slowed us down. We are very happy with the boat and also to validate that in race mode the performance is there. We will continue to train for the next events and really looking forward to racing against other Flying Phantoms."