Victory for Peyron
Racing into the finish line at 25 knots on just his trimaran's port hull, Loick Peyron, won his second Course des Phares for the 60ft trimarans covering the course that took the boats from Calais round the French coast, down to Lisbon up to the Fastnet and back to Calais. He sailed the 2,932 mile course in 7 days 16 hours 32 minutes and 42 seconds at an average of 15.89 knots.
Peyron's Nigel Irens-designed trimaran Fujifilm made the break rounding the Cherbourg peninsula by staying out of the tide and led the race from when the boats got into the Bay of Biscay onwards. They had made a poor tactical decision sailing off Belle Ile, but this had not cost them too dearly.
Meanwhile the fleet of ten 60ft trimarans was gradually decimated leaving just three remaining boats. Peyron (the younger brother of Bruno) said that they had survived the carnage by thorough preparation of the boat through the winter and knowing when to the lift the foot off the gas pedal. Conditions he added had been particularly bad off Belle Ile while sailing south down the French Biscay coast. "Fujifilm is light, fast and reliable. She's a very beautful boat, and a great pleasure to sail."
"The overwhelming feeling is of a job well done," commented Peyron as he touched down at the finish in Calais this morning. The victory sees a return to form for Loick Peyron's team after they sold their old boat Fujicolor (now Banque Covefi - and one of the three surviving boats in this race) with the launch of their new boat last year. Last year was one of very mixed fortunes for Peyron. After occasional success on the grand prix circuit, the boat's radical 'bendy' wingmast finally broke at the Fecamps Grand Prix and they were forced to buy the new mast from Thomas Coville's Sodebo trimaran to take part in Transat Jacques Vabre last year.
Sailing with Peyron were his old team of Bernard Pointet, Loïc Le Mignon, Pierre Pennec, Jean-Baptiste Le Vaillant and Thierry Brault.
The latter stages of the race had seen Jean le Cam and his team on board the van Peteghem/Prevost designed trimaran Bonduelle closing on Fujifilm from 280 miles astern to 72 miles, but they lost around 30 miles last night in strong westerlies. Bonduelle eventually arrived in Calais at 15:48:16 this afternoon in second place. However there was some small consolation. They broke Fujifilm's Dover-Calais record (the last leg of the course) setting a time of 39 minutes and 4 seconds (averaging a rather impressive 29.273 knots).
Still to arrive is the third and final boat - Bertrand de Broc's team on Banque Covefi who at lunchtime today still had 720 miles to cover.