First podium place

Phil Sharp reports on his 30 hour singlehanded match race in the second leg of the Mini class' Transgascogne race
In the final leg of the Trasgascogne race, the last qualifier before the Transat, I was delighted to finish a close third place in the final leg from Gijon back to Bourgenay, in which I match raced for second place solidly for a day and a half! This pushed my overall position to third, my first podium finish in the big fleet races. This is really encouraging just before the Mini Transat itself in such a competitive fleet and I am now really looking forward to the 4,200 mile grinder in September. After rediscovering what an incredible city the Spanish town of Gijon really is, it was a shame to leave for the second leg of the Transgascogne so soon, which was a race directly from Gijon back to Bourgenay with no major mark to roundings. I had a lot of electronics issues in the first leg, where I finished fourth, but managed to get most of these sorted by race day. I had my worst start by a long way, so tacked off behind the whole fleet to get in clean air in the one mile run up to the 'degagement' buoy marking our exit from Gijon. I was surprised to overtake literally the whole fleet and round the mark in 6th place about a minute behind the leader, Corentin Douguet on E.Leclerc Bouygues Telecom who had won the first leg by an impressive 1hr 40 minutes. Over the first few hours in the 230 mile course the fleet soon had gennakers set on a tight reach, and I picked off three boats to lie equal second with Aloys Claquin on Vecteur Plus - an identical Magnen design to me going pretty much identical speed! Corentin on the other hand had blistering reaching performance in his more powerful Manuard