Return of Team Russia
With Olympic silver medalist Rodion Luka skipper, Team Russia with crew Oleg Zherebtsov, founder and backer of the Team Russia Volvo Ocean Race squad, Maria Rudskaya and Alexander Lebedev, won five of the 11 races at the GPEN SB3 Eurocup, discarding two fifth places and counting no result worse than a third.
After an evening enjoying the hospitality of Morgat, with free meals and drinks provided for competitors, the 20-strong Laser SB3 fleet took to the water for an early start this morning in overcast conditions and a 10-15 knot westerly. Team Russia went into the final day with a six-point advantage on nearest rivals Direct Sailing (Thomas Rouxel, FRA), and opened with another win, overhauling early leaders Rola-Trac (Peter Saxton, GBR), who finished second.
Race 10 of the series also saw Doolalli (Colin Simonds, GBR) and Rigging Gurus (Mark Richards, GBR) pushing hard as both were in contention for the final podium place. Doolalli came out better in Race 10, finishing third ahead of Rigging Gurus in fifth – this put Rigging Gurus just two points ahead of Doolalli overall, leaving third still to play for going into the final race.
In the final Race 11 the sole Irish contenders Seriously Bonkers (Martin Ceppage) enjoyed an early lead, with the Russian crew taking things easy back in sixth. However, the Bay of Crozon Morgat dealt the fleet another roll of the dice, with boats on the left losing a lot of ground by the time they reconvened at the bottom mark. Direct Sailing took the lead, with Team Russia back up to second at the finish. British helmswoman Sarah Allan had her best result of the regatta in third with SailboatSpares.com
Further back in the fleet Riggigng Gurus were working hard to defend their third overall position against the Simonds brothers on Doolalli, starting close to them in an attempt to keep them down the fleet. The tactics paid off and Rigging Gurus crossed the line 9th, two places ahead of Doolalli, to take the final podium position in the GPEN Laser SB3 Eurocup.
After four days of superb racing and hospitality, the fleet had an early final prizegiving giving the visiting boats plenty of time to travel home. Next year is the 10th anniversary of the Grand Prix Ecole Navale in Morgat, which takes place from 2-5 June, and the SB3 fleet are expected to return for another fantastic event next summer.
The peninsula of Crozon and the Grand Prix Ecole Navale have now welcomed the SB3 class to their high quality racing waters for the past four years. Responding to the competitors’ enthusiasm for the venue, and the tradition of welcoming British visitors to the peninsula as a holiday destination, the Nautical Center of Crozon-Morgat is bidding to organise the 6th edition of the Laser SB3 World Championships in 2013.
“I’m very happy," said Team Russia's Rodian Luka. "In the last race we could have been 6th, easily - the whole team was more relaxed because we knew we were first overall and could have not raced the last, but just for practice we raced and it was good, we were second by the last downwind mark. Over the week we sailed more or less conservatively, and had good speed so it’s quite easy to be in the top 5. We’re very happy with the whole event, really enjoyed the racing. The race committee did a really good job, and we’ve been very surprised by the help from the people here. When we hit a rock on the first day we got much help taking the boat out so within a couple of hours we had fixed everything, which was just perfect.”
Oleg Zherebtsov added: “I’ve been really surprised by Brittany, it is our first time here. I like the fact that everyone is trying to help, people are constantly providing spare parts and little things to try to keep us in good racing condition. They’ve all worked really hard – it is only the supermarkets that are not open on Sunday here!”
From Rigging Gurus, UK Laser SB3 Class Chairman Jerry Hill said: “We said on the first day that 3rd was our target, so we’re happy with our result. Clearly the Russian and French guys sailed very well. In the last race it became apparent that our best strategy was to keep DOOLALLI low down the fleet, Colin did a very good job and nearly got through us twice, but we kept him behind and did what we needed to do (for third). It’s been a very successful event again, we love coming here. We’ve managed to get good racing every day, we’ve had a bit of everything – you just have to look at the photographs (shown every night on a big screen) to see how fantastic it’s been.”
Results: GPEN - Laser SB3 EUROCUP after races 7, 8 and 9 today (7 to count.)
1: "Team Russia", Rodion Luka (RUS) 14 points (Races: 1,5,2,1,5,3,2,1,1,1,2,)
2: "Direct Sailing", Thomas Rouxel (FRA) 22 points (Races: 7,3,1,6,1,1,3,2,12,4,1,)
3: "Rigging Gurus", Mark Richards 33 points (Races : 4,2,3,7,4,5,1,6,3,5,9,)
4: "Doolalli", Colin Simonds 36 points (Races: 2,1,5,2,7,4,5,10,7,3,11,)
5: "Rola-Trac", Peter Saxton 42 points (Races : 6,4,14,4,3,10,4,7,6,2,6,)
6: "Darling Associates", Chris Darling 44 points (Races: 5,8,DNF ,DNC ,2,2,6,3,5,9,4,)
7: "Sail Boat Spares.Com", Sarah Allan 51 points (Races: 9,6,4,5,8,6,8,5,11,6,3,)
8: "Huttons", Ben Williamson 62 points (Races: 11,10,9,3,11,8,7,9,2,7,7,)
9: "Morpheus", Edward Russo (FRA) 80 points (Races: 14,11,13,11,12,7,10,4,9,8,8,)
10: "Excuse Me Gents", Ann Jackson 82 points (Races: 3,13,OCS ,8,6,BFD ,9,13,4,16,10,)
11: "Laserperformance", Philippe Peron (FRA) 99 points (Races: 10,7,16,14,10,13,14,11,10,10,15,)
12: "Seriously Bonkers 3", Martin Ceppage (IRL) 100 points (Races: 8,9,11,13,16,12,19,16,15,11,5,)
13: "Tb4e", Geoff Gritton 106 points (Races: 18,18,10,10,9,9,15,14,8,14,17,)
14: "Cheeky Monkey", Ian Sullivan 109 points (Races: 13,15,8,9,15,11,12,8,18,DNC ,DNC ,)
15: "Eric", Martin Wedge 112 points (Races : 12,16,6,12,13,15,13,19,17,13,12,)
16: "Tad'minus", Sebastien Bresson (FRA) 124 points (Races: 17,12,12,15,17,19,11,15,14,15,13,)
17: "Liesl II", Bertrand Stuyts (BEL) 140 points (Races: 15,17,7,DNF ,14,14,16,17,19,DNC ,DNC ,)
18: "Spartacus", Charlotte Leguillette (FRA) 141 points (Races: 19,19,15,16,20,16,18,18,13,12,14,)
19: "Sail Army - Engineering", Mike Barham 142 points (Races: 16,14,17,17,18,17,17,12,16,17,16,)
20: "Tacktonic", Cedric de Bleye (BEL) 171 points (Races: 20,20,18,18,19,18,20,20,20,18,DNS)