77 seconds separates top three MOD70s
From an incredibly close finish which the top three teams cross the Dun Laoghaire line within 77 seconds of each other, it was Michel Desjoyeaux and his crew of Foncia which narrowly stole victory on the first leg of the MOD70 European Tour from Kiel to Dublin.
In a heart stopping race to the line in very gentle breezes the winners were no more than 200m ahead of second placed Yann Guichard and crew on Spindrift Racing with the Sebastien Josse-skippered Groupe Edmond de Rothschild no more than 300m behind.
After the 1238 miles of racing, the outcome was decided almost on the finish line. Foncia finally seized the lead with less than 15 miles to the finish, overhauling Spindrift Racing which had led consistently since Monday morning when they passed Foncia on the northwest coast of Denmark. In the final hours the two leaders were only 3-500 metres apart, with Foncia only just holding on to win.
“It was tough the whole time," recounted Michel Desjoyeaux. "We kept in contact with Spindrift in particular most of the time and then Groupe Edmond de Rothschild seemed to be the biggest threat, but we just never gave up and it paid off on the finish. We played on the little wind shifts and sail trimming to get ahead and had to constantly trim and adapt to the conditions to get ahead of Spindrift Racing. When we are faster than the others it means we are better, there you have it with a one design!”
Spindrift Racing's Yann Guichard added: "That was a pretty nice finish - three boats within 100m of each other - but we would have preferred to have come in first ahead of Foncia! We were in the lead pretty much from the start and this is really what makes these boats so special. We are very close on speed and that after four days of being at sea we come in within two minutes of each other is pretty impressive. We are a tiny bit disappointed, but then we could just as easily have come in third, so we hold on to the second place just behind Michel. There pretty much was every type of condition, upwind downing, strong wind and then all those course marks that needed to be respected with the intense and fast sail on the south coast of the UK where we would sail right up close to the piers and shave the rocks almost like on the Figaro.
"We had a small issue with our central rudder, which means that we head off to the right, but will try and resolve this problem.”
Sébastien Josse on Groupe Edmond de Rothschild added: “We held back a little in the bad weather but then tried to get back in contact with Foncia close to Dover and then it really was on the last afternoon that we managed to engage with them. Michel really played with us, not giving an inch, it was like America’s Cup racing with lots of tacks and we just caught up and then maintained contact the whole time. We had no technical issues; really the boat seems to be very solid. In terms of the crew work we found it tough to keep to our watch system at the start and then we managed to get a bit of rest after the bad weather in the North Sea and then the last night again, there was no time for rest. They must be pretty shattered and will sleep well tonight after all the manouevers on board and had little rest.”
Finish times Dun Laoghaire (GMT)
1-Michel Desjoyeaux (Foncia) 23h 19m 09s Wed 5th September
2-Yann Guichard (Spindrift Racing) 23h 19m 41s Wed 5th September
3-Sébastien Josse (Groupe Edmond de Rothschild) 23h 20m 26s 5th September