ROUTE DE PRINCES – Parties on June 9 in Valencia, the MOD70 and Maxi80 then Multi50s Route des Princes have completed their tour of Europe land on Sunday afternoon in the Bay of MorlaAFTER ix, having swallowed respectively 2450 and 2310 miles between Spain, Portugal, Ireland, England and France.
In each class, the fight was beautiful and it was not until the outcome of the fourth and final stage offshore to know the names of the winners of the event. In MOD70 is finally Edmond de Rothschild, Imperial at the races in the first onshore and offshore in the last act between Plymouth and Roscoff, which rises on the highest step of the podium. As for Multi50s is Arkema – Aquitaine Lalou Roucayrol which rises on the highest step of the podium after an incredible three-way battle throughout the course.
After 2450 miles of offshore racing, linking Valencia to Roscoff on the Bay of Morlaix via Lisbon, Dún Laoghaire and Plymouth and 16 inshore short course contests of which they won nine, Edmond de Rothschild are winners of the MOD70 class on the inaugural Route des Princes multihull race around Europe.
Skippered by Sébastien Josse, the Edmond de Rothschild crew won the crucial Leg 4 bonus points at the Roche Gautier mark this morning and then made sure of their overall race victory when they finished first across the finish line of the last offshore stage, the short sprint from Plymouth which started yesterday evening.
In the Multi50 class, the combination of second place into Morlaix and winning the bonus points on the last leg, was enough for Lalou Roucayrol’s Arkéma – Aquitaine Region to take overall victory on the first major race outing for the fleet’s newest Multi 50.
Edmond de Rothschild reigned supreme inshore, winning all the short course regattas contested, in Valencia, Lisbon and Plymouth. Leading by four points going into this final leg, ahead of the Sidney Gavignet skippered Oman Air-Musandam, the key to their overall win was to make sure of winning the 1.5 bonus points granted to the class leaders at the Roche Gautier mark this morning. That all but put victory out of reach of Oman Air-Musandam.
Just as the MOD70 race went to the wire, so also did the Multi5o class but theirs was a three cornered fight for the overall class win. Arkéma – Aquitaine Region’s second place finish this afternoon, added to their points bounty for being first to the scoring mark this morning, ensured they top the podium by 2.5 pts ahead of Erwan Le Roux’s FenêtréA-Cardinal which won the final leg, Plymouth to Morlaix today. The Multi50’s raced 2310 miles over their four offshore stages. Arkéma – Aquitaine Region won the first leg into Lisbon, finished third into Dún Laoghaire, second into Plymouth and second into Morlaix. And at three of the four bonus points opportunities it was Roucayrol’s team which pocketed the points.
Starting last night in Plymouth Edmond de Rothschild had a 4pts lead after winning the final inshores series, that meant Oman Air-Musandam – ideally – needed to win the bonus and win the leg. They lead Edmond de Rothschild but were never able to extend and as they ran across the channel from Wolf Rock to the Roche Gautier mark, Josse’s crew got to the east and were able to extend slightly.
And so as the MOD70’s docked in the new Bloscon Marina in Roscoff the satisfaction was obvious on the face of skipper Josse, whilst Gavignet – correspondingly could not conceal his disappointment. The loss of small points here and there since the 9th June start, was Oman Air-Musandam’s downfall, not least being taxed four points in the protest room in Dun Laoghaire from a relatively innocuous Lisbon start line incident with Spindrift. Josse’s final satisfaction – leading a team stacked with offshore talent and less multihull experience– was to cap their overall victory with an offshore triumph.
“It was a real motivation to finish with no excuses, to win the overall and the last leg.” Said Josse, “ It was a pressure to win the offshore leg. It was frustrating for us because we are offshore sailors. When you see the CV’s there are 15 Figaros, Orange Round the World with Florent Chastel, the Trophy Jules Verne, the Volvo Ocean Race but we never won an offshore leg, until now. We won the inshores and so something felt a bit wrong. So now we are pleased to have won one offshore leg.
Gavignet concluded: “It is not just down to this last race, it is down to many points that we missed out or lost through the race, here and there. That part of the story of this race has been painful since the start of the race and it is still painful.”
Final standings Route des Princes
1-Arkema-Région Aquitaine, Lalou Ruycorel, 140,5 pts
2-FenêtréA-Cardinal, Erwan Le Roux, 138 pts
3-Actual, Yves le Blevec, 138 pts
4- Rennes Métropole – Saint-Malo Agglomération, 105 pts
1-Prince de Bretagne, Lionel Limonchel, 166,5 pts
1-Edmond de Rothschild, Sébastian Josse 167.5 pts
2-Oman Air – Musandam, Sidney Gavignet, 159pts
3-Spindrift, Yann Guichard, 147pts
4-Virbac-Paprec, Jean-Pierre Dick, 128 pts