Back down to business in Dùn Laoghaire
After making the finish in Ireland from late Wednesday night to the early hours of Thursday, the five crews competing in the European Tour had just twenty-four hours to recharge their batteries before getting back down to the competition. For this first day of action, three City Races were scheduled. And it was, light airs dominated the Dùn Laoghaire race zone. The MOD 70 Edmond de Rothschild Group was pretty much midway up the leaderboard throughout, but Sébastien Josse and his men rounded off the day on a positive note by securing second place in a final epic race. The trimaran fitted out by Baron Benjamin de Rothschild is lying in a provisional third place this evening in the Irish racing. Once again it was the crew of Foncia, who took line honours by taking command of the fleet. Michel Desjoyeaux was able to set the pace and proved to be very opportunistic in the light airs.

Though the City Race format proposed to the crews throughout the course of this European Tour delight spectators, who get a front row seat for all the action, for the sailors this proximity comes with a price and thus far has called for a considerable amount of adaptation. Indeed the mile or so course is laid out for the day and remains identical even if the wind switches direction during the races: “It was a complicated day”explained Sébastien Josse by way of introduction.The race zone we’re competing on isn’t easy, especially given the proximity of the sea wall near the start line. It’s a kind of ‘cul de sac’ zone, where the phases to approach and prepare for the start are pretty unique. With my crew, we trained for some slightly more classic race formats and we’re still lacking experience where this style is concerned. You can see that helmsmen like Yann Guichard and Michel Desjoyeaux, who’ve already experienced these situations in the Extreme 40 as well as the D35, are more at ease for now. On a personal level, I need to learn fast and quickly improve my skills in this phase of play.”

In addition to the format, the weather conditions which reigned over Dublin Bay this Friday afternoon made life somewhat difficult for Sébastien Josse and his crew: “During the first race, the wind established itself at around 8 knots but it gradually lost intensity, dropping away to 4 knots in the third and final race. However, the most complicated thing to get a handle on was the fact that the race zone was schematically divided up into three areas. Two headwinds conflicted with each other, the offshore breeze and the inshore breeze, the result of which was a very light area of transition between the two. As such the aim was to accurately read the area where this buffer zone was at it’s narrowest point, which is what Christophe Espagnon (tactician) excelled at. The final race of the day was very special. We were at the back of the fleet from the off, but we were opportunistic and seized our chance to make a comeback when the wind shifted 180° during the race. We finally crossed the finish line in second place, but with these incredibly random conditions, it could have been an entirely different scenario! Despite our poor start, the crew remained focused with a fighting spirit. This cohesion really augers well for the next stage,” noted the skipper of Edmond de Rothschild Group.

In Dùn Laoghaire today’s standing is completely in line with the order of arrival at the end of the offshore leg between Kiel and Dublin Bay. Michel Desjoyeaux and his crew continue to be on a roll and have taken the provisional lead in the Dublin City Races with two victories out of the three races contested this Friday. Foncia has racked up 35 points so far. Spindrift Racing and Edmond de Rothschild Group complete the podium with 32 and 30 points respectively. Unfortunate early on in the afternoon after damaging a daggerboard, which prevented them from competing in Race 1, Musandam – Oman Sail is bringing up the rear.

Tomorrow, the MOD 70 fleet will be back on the Dùn Laoghaire race zone from 1400 UTC to contest three new races as the conclusion to the Irish City Races. Steadier conditions are expected and the anemometers could reach 15 knots. This will please Sébastien Josse, who admitted that he was still lacking feeling in the light airs.

Standing in the Dùn Laoghaire City Races (after three races)
  1. Foncia - 35 points
  2. Spindrift Racing – 32 points
  3. 3. Edmond de Rothschild Group - 30 points
  4. Race for Water - 29 points
  5. Musandam – Oman Sail – 24 points

The crew of the MOD Edmond de Rothschild Group

Sébastien Josse (Skipper)

David Boileau, Florent Chastel, Cyril Dardashti, Olivier Douillard, Christophe Espagnon, Antoine Koch, Thomas Rouxel

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