Sill takes leg one

Roland Jourdain's race favourite hangs on to make it home first in Regata de Rubicon's first leg

Saturday May 18th 2002, Author: James Boyd, Location: Mediterranean
Pos Boat Skipper Time Points
1 Sill Plien Fruit Roland Jourdain 6d 4h 14m 55s 10
2 Kingfisher Ellen MacArthur 6d 6h 14m 21s 8
3 Bobst Group-Armor Lux Bernard Stamm 6d 6h 54m 00s 7
4 Tiscali Global Challenge Simone Bianchetti 6d 9h 33m 23s 6
5 Virbac Jean-Pierre Dick 6d 11h11m 36s 5
6 Temenos Dominique Wavre 6d 13h 33m 30s 4
7 L'Heautontimoroumenos Antoine Koch 6d 14h 27m 10s 3
8 Adecco-Etoile Horizon Bob Escoffier RETIRED -

Roland Jourdain's Sill Plein Fruit clung on to her lead to take victory in the first leg of the Open 60 class' Regata de Rubicon from St Nazaire to the port of Yaiza in the Canary Island of Lanzarote.

Jourdain's Transat Jacques Vabre winner arrived at 19:45:55GMT last night at the finish line off the Marina Rubicon de Yaiza, having completed the leg in a time of 6 days 4 hours 14 minutes and 55 seconds. During the passage he and his competitors endured heavy beating conditions off Cape Finistere and lighter fickle conditions approaching the finish.

Ellen MacArthur and Kingfisher were second home last night finishing 90 minutes later with Bernard Stamm's Bobst Group-Armor Lux, 40 minutes afterward having made great gains after a dramatic flier to the west.

"What a fantastic sea-battle that was!" commented an elated Jourdain. "Match racing with the Italians, ambitious Swiss fliers, the speed and tactics, the constant manoeuvres on deck - it was all you could want out of a race. I was lucky to have such a talented team who have slaved away all winter. We haven't broken a thing and it's all thanks to them. They were the ones who made the boat go and they know her inside out. But my friends have fought hard too - I never had a winch handle out of my reach the whole way! It's a great race, a fantastic course and of coursea beautiful place to end up."

There was a near disaster for Kingfisher when two hours prior to crossing the finish line they ripped part of the mainsail track off the mast during a gybe. "It's been great to back out to sea, it was too long on land!" commented Ellen. "The team have been fantastic, we've worked really well together and even when the position reports have lowered morale, we've bounced back each time. You have to believe that anything can happen, and just never give up. Kingfisher is lighter and faster than before, and although we've had a fair few technical issues on this leg, we've learnt a lot, and I'm really confident in our ability for the big one - the Route du Rhum solo race in November"

Ellen is currently en route back to France for the start of the 60ft trimaran's Courses des Phares. This starts tomorrow night and Ellen is taking part on board Alain Gautier's new Foncia II. Nick Moloney will take over the helm of Kingfisher.

The teams now have three day in Lanzarote before the restart at 1600GMT on Monday of the second and concluding leg of the Regata de Rubicon, 1,467 miles to Sta Margherita, Ligure in Italy.

A very happy Sill skipper, Roland Jourdain.

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