France's Cowes Week

Jacques Vapillon /
First competitive outing for the new PRB IMOCA 60 at the Grand Prix de Douarnanez
Grand Prix de Douarnanez, rapidly becoming France’s answer to Cowes Week, is on at the moment running from 29 April untl 16 May for a wide variety of classes on a wide variety of course types. On Thursday for example was the Defi Nautic salon de Paris speed runs held in the Baie de Douarnanez where, satisfyingly, it was the Multi50s Crepes Whaou! and Actual that outpaced the windsurfers and kite boarders – the best run being Crepes Whaou! with a 26.34 knot average (the windsurfers managed 23.48 knots, the kiteboards 23.33). In the IMOCA 60s it was Marc Guillemot’s newly relaunched Safran that posted the top average of 18.49 knots, ahead of Vincent Riou’s brand new PRB at 17.34 – the first competitive outing for this latest generation VPLP-Verdier design. The fastest Class 40 was former Mini sailor Thomas Ruyant on Destination Dunkerque, which managed 11.92 knots. Saturday and Sunday saw the Trophee Guyader for the Class 40s, Multi50s and IMOCA 60s. In the latter class it was a tie on point in the two races between the new PRB, which won Saturday’s race and the new IMOCA 60 team of Spanish Olympic Tornado/Volvo Ocean Race Iker Martinez, racing Michel Desjoyeaux’s Vendee Globe-winning former Foncia. While the opposition may have won the speed sailing, in the Multi 50s it was Yves le Blevec’s Verdier-designed trimaran Actual that claimed both races ahead of Franck-Yves Escoffier’s Crepes Whaou!, and in the Class 40s it was again Thomas Ruyant who won both races ahead of Yvan Noblet’s Appart’City and Tanguy de LaMotte’s Solidaires du Chocolat winner Initiatives Novedia. Racing continues for the Dragons, Optimists, the long distance kite surfing championship followed by the Grand Prix kite surfing over the event’s final weekend. The big question is - should there be Kitesurfing and speed