Traversing the North Sea in close order
The first twenty-four hours of racing in this Kiel Dùn Laoghaire (Dublin) leg have lived up to expectations: intense, demanding and fast. For its first night at sea in this European Tour, the fleet of MOD 70s was caught off guard with the negotiation of a depression the minute they were around the northern tip of Denmark. Short, chaotic seas and the associated wind put the five crews under pressure for several hours. Since then, the wind has eased as forecast in the grib files and Edmond de Rothschild Group and his rivals have been able to hoist more sail aloft as they make for the next course mark, a gateway situated offshore of Holland between two local oil rigs. At the 1000 UTC standing, the trimaran fitted out by Baron Benjamin de Rothschild was lying in third place with the men on Spindrift Racing leading the way.

After setting out from Kiel yesterday at 1248 UTC in a breeze of around fifteen knots, the crews racing in the European Tour knew that the race start and the first 200 miles to the Skagerak headland, at the northern tip of Denmark, would be far from relaxing. The message sent from onboard by Antoine Koch, the navigator on Edmond de Rothschild Group, at around midnight UTC, confirmed the pre-start predictions: “the waypoints are coming up thick and fast and everything happens in a flurry: sail changes, course mark roundings, small fronts moving through, all whilst keeping an eye on our rivals… it’s certainly not boring! We’re going to enter Skagerrak Strait in 15 minutes at which point it’ll no longer be possible to type at the keyboard as the seas will be very short and choppy. Fortunately, it shouldn’t last long… It’s a close-fought battle between the top three boats, which are still within sight of each other, and we’re pushing the machines to the max!”

Third in the 1000 UTC standing, the men of Gitana Team were positioned 13 miles astern of leader Spindrift Racing and 6 miles astern of Michel Desjoyeaux in second place. Before casting off yesterday, Sébastien Josse told us the game plan for his crew: “we need to calmly get into the race and not get over-excited and expend too much energy in the opening miles of the race. It will be a long old haul, which will be action-packed, especially over the second part of the course between Land’s End and the finish. We’ll have to stay in contact with the head of the fleet, but we’ll also have to properly manage the numerous transitions which await.” Indeed the wind is set to further ease as they approach Le Pas de Calais and the European Tour fleet will have to negotiate the oil rig zones, which will require all the crews’ attention and energy. Of note is the choice of route selected by Musandam Oman Sail and Race for Water, which are respectively in fourth and fifth place, 34.4 and 68.7 miles astern of the leaders. The backrunners are repositioning themselves to the West before they tackle the descent towards Dover, a choice which differs to that of the top trio.

Leg 1 – Standing on Monday 3 September, 1000 UTC

  1. Spindrift Racing some 826 miles from the finish
  2. Foncia 7 miles astern of the leader
  3. Edmond de Rothschild Group 13 miles astern of the leader
  4. Musandam – Oman Sail 34.4 miles astern of the leader
  5. Race for Water 68.7 miles astern of the leader

Points bonus at the start

By securing second place in the coastal course contested on the river in Kiel as an opener to the offshore leg, Sébastien Josse and his men have added two points to their tally. This result brings their total points tally thus far to 12 points after the Kiel City Races and prior to the standing for the Kiel – Dùn Laoghaire leg. In this event, the offshore races count for 80% of the overall standing and the City Races count for 20%, however the skipper of Edmond de Rothschild Group is keen to emphasise the importance of every point won: “This European Tour is going to be very tight given the similarity of the line-up and the competition will be won and lost on the details. Every point is better than nothing! In the offshore races, we’ll have to focus on getting a good start and fight hard for the first thirty minutes of the race in order to bag the points awarded to the top three MODs in the initial coastal section.”

Order of completion of the initial coastal course in Kiel

  1. Foncia – 3 points
  2. Edmond de Rothschild Group – 2 points
  3. Spindrift Racing – 1 point

The content that appears on this website is protected by copyright.
Any reproduction or representation is strictly forbidden.

For further information, please refer to the legal notice section.
Enter at least 4 characters...