Two tight finishes

All but one home now in the Calais Round Britain Race

Thursday July 24th 2003, Author: James Boyd, Location: France

Pos Boat Skipper Time Av speed
1 PRB Vincent Riou 9d 9h 48m 51s 8.19
2 Sill Roland Jourdain 9d 11h 31m 41s 8.13
3 Ecover Mike Golding 9d 12h 19m 23s 8.1
4 Bobst Group-Armor Lux Bernard Stamm 9d 13h 18m 18s 8.07
5 Team 888 Jonny Malbon/Mark Denton 9d 20h 44m 23s 7.81
6 VMI Sebastien Josse 9d 20h 47m 24s 7.81
7 Arcelor Dunkerque Joe Seeton 10d 11h 17m 49s 7.36
8 Garnier Patrick de Radigues 10d 11h 34m 58 7.35
9 Objectif 3 Charles Hedrich
All but one of the boats has now finished the Calais Round Britain Race. The last 24 hours have seen what in ocean racing might be termed 'photo finishes' with Team 888 and VMI arriving just three minutes apart and in the early hours of this morning Joe Seeten's Arcelor Dunkerque nailing Patrick de Radigues on Garnier by just 15 minutes.

"It feels fantastic now that we’ve finished!" commented Team 888's Jonny Malbon. Their battle with VMI heated up again when they were becalmed off Dover, allowing the French boat to catch up. "It was pretty tough at times. We had a bad call on the first day which put us 40 miles behind straight off so the rest of the race was spent catching up. There was a lot of horrible upwind stuff which wasn’t great for the boat. It was more difficult than we imagined.

"We didn’t really know what we were up against and in the first few hours it was a real reality check. If you give them (your rivals) an inch they take 25 miles or 44 or whatever! It was hard but great to race against these people. We’re very happy with the result. We showed that we can sail the boat competitively and made up a lot of miles. We shouldn’t have lost them but we've got this great boat to get the miles back. It’s just incredible to be ahead of the guys on VMI!

"It’s been great sailing fully crewed and it really makes you think about how amazing it would be to do all this single-handed. The project has obviously come about through a great deal of personal sacrifice but it’s really been worth it. We’ve now got the Fastnet coming up and hopefully this has shown any potential sponsor what we would be capable of if we had a budget. For now we’re just trying not to open any envelopes but we’re on a roll...”

Sébastien Josse who's crew on VMI included French round the world legend Isabelle Autissier was more relieved to have made it round. "It certainly feels good to have finished my first race on this boat [ VMI dismasting shortly after the start of last year's Route du Rhum]. It was an inspirational course, even if we only saw the coast once. There were all kinds of new developments throughout the race. We’ve still got some work to do but we’re on the right track. Congratulations to PRB who adapted very quickly to the conditions and made very few mistakes”.

While the finishers are currently preparing themselves for the prizegiving tonight Objective 3 - the former Gartmore/ Pindar is taking a more leisurely run home as the final boat and is gearing up to have a crack at the Dover-Calais record when 20 knots of breeze is forecast to kick in later this morning: Objectif 4 as crewman Fred Dahirel put it. The last boat in the fleet getting the channel record would be a fitting end to this top race. Objective 3's ETA into Calais is 1300 hours BST.

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