Sayer grabs leg one victory

Phil Sharp, top British finisher on the Mini class' Demi Cle, reports on their race so far

Tuesday July 13th 2004, Author: Phil Sharp, Location: France
The 2004 Open Demi Cle started on Saturday with 48 boats heading off on the 200 mile first leg from Lorient (south Brittany) to St Quay (north Brittany) and saw the Mini fleet encountering upwind and exhilarating downwind conditions.

Kiwi Mini veteran Chris Sayer finished first with Phil Sharp the first Briton in 4th place. The leg was less fortunate for Alex Bennett's Fujifilm, Isabelle Joschke's Parole (ex Andrew Cape/Sam Davies' Aberdeen Asset Management) and Aloys Claquin's Vecteur Plus, all of whom dismasted.

Phil Sharp reports on his race:

I was racing with Dave Parker aboard (GBR 419), a Magnen designed mini that saw much success with Nick Bubb last year. We had a good start in Lorient, getting in clean air and finding the early upwind conditions very suited to our boat and setup. We found ourselves battling with our sister ship and Transat winner Karen Liquid up to the Glenans, but they eventually went too far inshore and we managed to get in front up to Penmarch Point.

Here, three boats that had gone offshore converged with us, and it was Vecteur Plus who led around Penmarch at dusk. Tacking up through the Raz de Sein against the tide that night was quite something. We were going incredibly close to the rocks to stay out of the tide and gain every advantage before we could eventually squeeze around the point against the weakening tide.

Towards the Chanel du Four the race favourites, Chris Sayer/Yves Moreau, overtook us and we ended up following them up though the Chanel du Four in third place with Vecteur Plus still out in front. Navigation was a key element as all boats hugged the shore around Le Four and round onto the North Brittany coast. We got the jump on Chris Sayer by putting up an early gennaker and then changing to a 70sqm reaching spinnaker. After retaking second place he responded with a massive 110 sqm running spinnaker!

As we drove deeper around the coast he gained the advantage in the light winds and overtook us once more for second place. Soon the wind started increasing until we were sailing along right on the edge in 25 knots with the masthead kite up, altogether a pretty hairy experience!

Before long both us and Chris Sayer had made significant inroads into Vecteur Plus’ lead. Despite having not gybed a Mini in much more than 15 knots, Dave and I somehow managed to gybe the boat okay to head back inshore. Vecteur Plus had slightly less luck, breaking the top off their incredibly expensive carbon mast during the gybe! Fortunately for us this was another place gained, but Chris had pulled out some advantage by travelling deeper and was looking hard to catch for the lead.It also hadn’t helped that we found we had overshot our next waypoint by about 10 miles!

After a seriously big broach we hoisted a fractional kite instead, and started getting some ridiculous speeds of over 16 knots! Thinking we might be back in contention for the lead we ploughed over a big wave at 15 knots only to find a big trough the other side and the boat crashed into the bottom, burying itself right up to the mast. The loading on the rig was so excessive that the runner slipped through the jammer a few inches, but somehow the rig stayed up! Unfortunately, however, the kite was ripped and we found ourselves underpowered for the last 30 miles, all the way to the finish in Saint Quay, enabling two boats to cruise past us.

One of these was Karen Liquid, who pipped us right on the finish line, which was incredibly frustrating. But we had finished fourth out of 48 boats and so were generally very pleased with the result.

Chris Sayer had a well deserved victory on his immaculate Bakewell-Wight designed Mini that he built all himself totally from scratch, quite an achievement. The second leg of the Demi Cles starts tomorrow and goes from St Quay to Cardiff.

Results - leg one

1: NZ 403 Chris Sayer et Pierre-Yves Moreau
2 : FRA 433 "Paridis" Corentin douguet et Eric Hanseval
3 : FRA 198 "Karen Liquid" Adrien hardy et Pierre Leboucher
4 : GBR 419 "" Phil Sharp et David Parker
5 : FRA 480 "Cap Monde" Olivier et Nicolas Avram
6 : FRA 231 "Loire Atlantique" Nicolas Bunoust et François Lucas
7 : FRA 417 "Tobedoo - Star Voiles" Stanislas Maslard et Laurent Mermod 8 : FRA 265 "vecteur Plus" Aloys Claquin et Didier Le Vourch
9 : POR 434 "Inkzone" José Marques de Almeida et Bertrand Etienne
10 : FRA 347 "Weldom" Stéphane Amiot et Matthieu Leys
11 : FRA 159 "Micromegas" Pierre Gédouin et Bertrand Guillemot
12 : FRA 460 "billit 2" Jean-Philippe Legrand et Olivier lemonnier
13 : FRA 482 "Laurent"bénédicte Graulle et Olivier Cusin
14 : EST 470 "Lendur" Jaanus Tamme et Jean-François Quelen
15 : FRA 421 "Gwalarn IV" Michel et David Mirabel
16 : FRA 209 "Wake up" Loïc Le doyen et Tristan Coloma
17 : FRA 321 "Sport Voile" Pierre Gindre et Alexandre Hamlyn
18 : GBR 194 "Man of all seasons" Mike Fenwick et Andy Young
19 : FRA 427 "Birvidik" Sébastien Gladu et Hervé Colin
20 : FRA 518 "Jules" Fabrice Sorin et Alexis Leroux
21 : FRA 235 "New Dream" Davy Beaudart et Hans Bergman
22 : FRA 457 "Garcimore" Sébastien Bordiec et Thomas Clerc
23 : FRA 483 "Cultisol Marins sans frontière" Sébastien Mesure et Nathanael Chauvin
24 : FRA 517 "Dingo - Chantier Marée Haute" Damien Bossey et Yvon Loqx
25 : FRA 516 "Positif" Sylvain Pontu et Sylvie Henri
26 : FRA 171 "technichauffage - Le trimaran Brest"
27 : FRA 481 "DCF" Marine et Pascal Chombart
28 : FRA 219 "mariole" Quentin Monégier et Louis duc
29 : FRA 93 "Gwen ha Du" Erwann Sudrie et Philippe Le Corguille
30 : FRA 229 "Blanchard Oxycoupage" Jean Baptiste Daramy et Orotz Ituralde
31 : FRA 446 "Koati" Jean Leborgne et Pierrick Raude
32 : FRA 276 "Parole" Isabelle Joschke et Adam Currier
33 : FRA 479 "Pop Up" Laurent Morisseau et François Salabert
34 : FRA 486 "Ulman Sails" Eric et Sabine Bauwens
35 : GBR 241 "Gill Marine" Stephen Simpson et Alan Crichton
36 : RA 373 : "Yellow Submarine" Gildas Du Cleuziou et NµBruno Costaglioli
37 : GBR 361 : "Hornet" Charlie Hope-lang et Stphen Lindley
38 : FRA 364 : "Faxy red" Jacques Arnaud Seyrig et Gaël Deheneff
39 : FRA 174 : "Afou" Stéphane Amiot et Matthieu Noirbusson

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