Cancellation of the inshore races in Dublin
This Sunday, the town of Dùn Laoghaire woke up to very overcast skies swept by a 25-knot WNWly breeze with gusts in excess of 35 knots. Ultimately, conditions were deemed too muscly to send the Route des Princes’ fleet out on the water to contest the initially scheduled inshore races. Furthermore Spindrift Racing’s misadventures, which caused her to capsize in yesterday afternoon’s violent, blustery conditions on the very first race, have put paid to the crew’s dreams of securing an overall win in this Routes des Princes. Now, after two consecutive days of storms over the weekend, not a single race has been able to be run on Irish waters. From tomorrow though, the trimarans will be heading offshore again, bound for Plymouth, England.

Yesterday the fleet of MOD70s lost its leader in the provisional ranking. Heading the leaderboard thanks to their victory in the offshore leg between Lisbon and Dublin, Yann Guichard and his men have been forced to withdraw from the competition following the capsize of their trimaran yesterday during the first Irish inshore. This turn of events has reshuffled the cards and promises to re-establish the hierarchy once the fleet get to the finish of the next leg: “Spindrift Racing’s capsize is very bad news. They were a formidable contender for outright victory and their absence over the final two legs will naturally be conspicuous as we’re losing one of the fleet’s reference boats. There are just three MODs now, which isn’t very many, but that certainly doesn’t mean that the competition ends here. During the last offshore leg between Lisbon and Dublin, we had a chance to see just how close the competition was with some very fine sailing by Oman Air throughout the course and a close-contact finish for all the boats. In terms of the scoreboard, we’re a little over the midway point in the race and anything could still happen,” Sébastien Josse admitted. “We’ll really miss the whole of the Spindrift Racing team during the rest of the competition. We hope to see them on the water again very soon in the run-up to the autumn’s Transat Jacques Vabre,” explained Cyril Dardashti, Gitana Team’s general manager.

After yesterday’s emotions, Sébastien Josse and his men had to recompose themselves and calmly prepare for the third offshore leg of this Route des Princes. Originally, a tour of Ireland was on the cards but the weather conditions expected over the next few days didn’t augur well for a favourable time. Indeed Dùn Laoghaire has been swept by strong winds for the past forty-eight hours, but next week light airs are likely to be par for the course around Ireland. In this way, Sylvie Viant, the event’s Race Director, put forward the idea, or more accurately the ideas, for a new course for competitors this morning. In fact, several scenarios and various courses have been studied to guarantee the arrival of the multihulls in Plymouth Sound on Wednesday 26 June. “At the start, we’ll benefit from a NW’ly breeze of between 10 and 15 knots. Soon after that though, we’ll have to negotiate a transition zone with the wind shifting round to the SSW as it eases. This leg will be made up of different episodes and we won’t really know our final course until we approach Eddystone lighthouse (along the South coast of England). Depending on when we pass Eddystone, Race Management may opt to send us towards four different marks of varying distances towards the East,” explained Charles Caudrelier, the onboard navigator. To put it plainly, the quicker the crew of Edmond de Rothschild and their adversaries make headway towards the goal, the longer their course will be to make Plymouth. This translates as a difference of over two hundred nautical miles between the maximum and minimum course.

We’ll be back tomorrow at 1100 hours to follow the departure of the trimaran fleet to Plymouth, England, at which point we will be able to look at the weather for this third leg in greater depth.

Ranking for the Route des Princes (after the jury)
  1. Spindrift Racing (Yann Guichard) / 94 points
  2. Edmond de Rothschild (Sébastien Josse) / 88 points
  3. Musandam – Oman Air (Sidney Gavignet) / 84 points
  4. Virbac Paprec 70 (Jean-Pierre Dick) / 66 points 
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