Winning four out of six inshore races during Episode 2 of the Pro Sailing Tour in Brest, France, on Thursday and Friday, the crew of Leyton usually led by Brit Sam Goodchild, but on this occasion with Morgan Lagravière at the helm, stormed home to a convincing overall victory having also won the 24h Finistère Challenge over the weekend.
“Super satisfying! We finished on a high note with this offshore race that we were determined to win,” said Morgan Lagravière at the finish this morning.
“The conditions were quite challenging with some pretty violent waves, but I was impressed with the boat’s behaviour. Racing these foiling trimarans requires a very high level of commitment, you must be on top of your game at all times, and constantly vigilant. I was a bit apprehensive of racing the boat at night, but in the end, we attacked more after dark than during the day!”
“I loved the Ocean Fifty, the circuit, the format, it has everything I like. It’s all about people, the feeling, the speed, the open sea, and contact racing,” he added.”
Offshore sailing’s most exciting new competition is living up to its reputation of close boat on boat action inshore and tactical offshore challenges, and with an ever-increasing standard among the seven-boat fleet, the competition is getting tougher at every outing.
The next stop in St Brieuc which kicks off on Wednesday promises to be spectacular!
THE 24H FINISTÈRE CHALLENGE
The foiling trimarans completed the 300nm 24h Finistère Challenge in less than 18 hours racing the tactically challenging course that took the fleet along the coast of Finistère in lively 15 to 25 knot conditions.
The Ocean Fifty multihulls were in their element in a strong south-westerly wind reaching speeds of up to 35 knots, but the conditions combined with heavy seas required an element of caution particularly around Ushant.
This did not inhibit the sailors’ thirst for battle however and Leyton set the tone from the outset, leading the fleet off the start line, with Primonial skippered by Sébastien Rogues (FRA) and Arkema winner of the last episode in Bonifacio, with Quentin Vlamynk (FRA) at the helm, in hot pursuit. Thibaut Vauchel-Camus’ (FRA) Solidaires En Peleton-ARSEP broke their gennaker just before nightfall, and in a disappointing twist of fate, Erwan Le Roux’s (FRA) Koesio had a power outage minutes after the start in Brest forcing them to sail the course ‘blind’. Finally, Groupe GCA-1001 Sourires retired this morning, unlikely to make the cut off time. Despite a few issues among the fleet during this highly testing 24h Finistère Challenge, the finish times remain extremely close with just 6 minutes between Solidaires En Peleton-ARSEP and Koesio.
HIGH INTENSITY IN SHORE RACING
The Pro Sailing Tour is a riveting blend of intense inshore racing and tactical offshore challenges that span a very short two-month circuit that takes in the Mediterranean, the Atlantic and the English Channel. Travelling from Bonifacio, to Brest, to St Brieuc, to Cowes in the UK and back to Roscoff in a whirlwind production that is as much about the competition as the spectacle for the visiting crowds and of course the TV cameras, the Pro Sailing Tour is offshore sailing’s hottest new competition.
The 4-day Episode hosted in Brest from Thursday to Sunday, took in two days of inshore racing before the fleet set off for the offshore challenge. The circuit requires endurance and focus from the teams, and in Brest, they returned race after race with the same intensity. The team onboard Leyton showed their form from the outset with stand-in helmsman Morgan Lagravière new to the circuit showing his skill in the boat-on-boat close contact racing. Arkema was in the game from the get-go, as was Solidaires En Peleton-ARSEP with Vincent Riou (FRA) onboard. All three were set on securing the top spot. More wind on Friday shook things up with Éric Péron (FRA) on Komilfo showing his local knowledge and while still learning, showing great potential. Koesio was also never far off and ever ready to challenge the top boats. Gilles Lamiré’s (FRA) Groupe GCA-1001 Sourires was the last to arrive in Brest having sustained damage to the hull and, still on a learning curve, struggled to find their rhythm.
The defending champion, Leyton may be leading the ranking after two Episodes, but there is a long way to go before the final race in Roscoff on 10 July!
GENERAL RANKING EPISODE 2 – BREST
Leyton: 70 pts
Primonial: 54 pts
Arkema: 47 pts
Solidaires En Peloton-ARSEP: 47 pts
Koesio: 43 pts
Komilfo: 36 pts
Groupe GCA-1001 Sourires: 12 pts
ABOUT THE PRO SAILING TOUR
In 2022, seven foiling multihulls will line up for the Pro Sailing Tour season 2 that takes the multinational fleet from the Mediterranean to the Atlantic and finishes in the English Channel. The teams are led by some of the best offshore sailors in the sport: Sam Goodchild, Giles Lamiré, Sébastien Rogues, Thibaut Vauchel-Camus, Erwan Le Roux, Quentin Vlamynck and Eric Peron. The competition consists of a mix of inshore and offshore races constituting an Episode – there are four Episodes – and one long final offshore race, the ‘Final Rush’ from Cowes to Roscoff.
The Ocean Fifty (formerly the Multi 50 class) foiling trimarans are as long as they are wide (15.24m x 15m respectively), as agile as they are spectacular and can reach speeds of up to 42 knots (77km/h).
The Pro Sailing Tour for the Ocean Fifty trimarans was launched in 2021 and is the culmination of a determined development process by the teams and stakeholders that began in 2015 when the Class was professionalised and continued in 2017 with the addition of foils. Today, the Tour is going from strength to strength with the objective of making the Pro Sailing Tour a lasting part of the French and international ocean racing landscape.
The inaugural Pro Sailing Tour in 2021, raced by seven teams, lived up to all expectations. The high intensity inshore races and offshore battles were watched by 25,000 spectators, and the historic first season was won by Leyton, skippered by Sam Goodchild (GBR), with four victories, including the final from Toulon to Brest in August.