The Défi Azimut – Lorient Agglomération: A correct contest and a worthy winner
by Ed Gorman / IMOCA Globe Collection 20 Sep 06:11 PDT
15-19 September 2021
You can hardly hope for a extra dramatic race packed into lower than two days at sea than we noticed within the Défi Azimut-Lorient Agglomération 48-Hours basic, a contest that examined crews and produced one other stellar efficiency on the entrance by Charlie Dalin and Paul Meilhat on APIVIA.
The great thing about the 48-Hours – the centrepiece of one other very profitable Défi Azimut-Lorient Agglomération rendez-vous in Lorient for the IMOCA Class and its suppliers – is that the race administrators can place their waypoints completely to offer a correct all-round check. And so it proved on a 550-mile circuit out into the northern Bay of Biscay.
The 14 double-handed IMOCA 60s went upwind, then downwind VMG after which again on a strong attain to the end, set between the Ile de Groix and the mainland coast, on a course that produced an exhilarating battle for the minor locations on the rostrum behind the all-conquering yellow and white APIVIA.
Having received the Rolex Fastnet Race in model final month, Dalin and Meilhat continued their dominance of the world’s strongest offshore monohulls in an impressively-optimised boat, deploying a deck-sweeper jib within the mild upwind early phases that noticed them construct a lead of a number of miles that they by no means relinquished.
Dalin has spoken about how nicely his new partnership with Meilhat is working and, on this event, they by no means put a foot mistaken in a race when – as they usually say in crusing – the wealthy obtained richer. Apivia was quick on all factors of sail and by the ultimate leg was greater than half method residence as she flew on her foils, by the point her rivals obtained to the final mark.
Ultimately, Dalin and Meilhat received by the appreciable margin of two hours after someday and practically 16 hours at sea, over 11th Hour Racing Staff-Alaka’i, sailed by the Swiss-British mixture of Justine Mettraux and Simon Fisher. They obtained in simply 17 minutes forward of Thomas Ruyant and Morgan Lagravière on LinkedOut who, in flip, have been simply three minutes to the great on Louis Burton and Davy Beaudart on Bureau Vallée.
If Dalin and Meilhat caught the attention on the head of affairs, not far behind when it comes to high quality and competitiveness have been Fisher and Mettraux who’ve now produced two podium finishes of their first two double-handed races on the outdated HUGO BOSS, having completed third within the Fastnet Race behind Charal and APIVIA.
Modest and easy-going, Fisher is a world class sailor and navigator with lengthy expertise in fully-crewed racing on the elite stage and Mettraux has a popularity as a tenacious soloist and collectively they’re proving a formidable drive that may have critical successful possibilities in November’s Transat Jacques Vabre.
On their heels Ruyant and Lagravière did nicely to recuperate from fifth on the remaining mark to steal the final place on the rostrum. This got here after the LinkedOut pair had sorted a giant disaster going downwind once they blew their spinnaker which obtained wrapped on the foils and on the propeller and, unbeknownst to them, pulled the prop-shaft out of the boat.
They weren’t the one group to take care of this kind of drama on a brief course through which the sailors have been pushing arduous all through and on which relaxation or sleep was a treasured commodity for a lot of of them.
On Fortinet-Finest Western, Romain Attanasio and Sébastien Marsset additionally blew their spinnaker and it too ended up caught on the foils of the outdated Malizia II and needed to be reduce away. Earlier Attanasio and Marsset, who completed ninth behind Isabelle Joschke and Alain Gautier on MACSF in eighth place, holed their mainsail when the tack becoming for the J1.5 exploded beneath load in additional than 20 knots of breeze.
Two boats have been compelled to desert the competition. Manuel Cousin and Alexia Barrier on Groupe Sétin – 4MyPlanet broke a daggerboard, whereas the model new eleventh Hour Racing Malama – the primary IMOCA to be designed and constructed with fully-crewed racing in thoughts – needed to depart the racetrack when the tiller reference to the rudder bar broke. This was a disappointment for co-skippers Charlie Enright and Pascal Bidégorry amid excessive hopes for a ship that was very a lot the speak of the dockside at La Base marina in Lorient.
The 48-Hours is the final race earlier than the TJV, which begins on November 7 from Le Havre, when the fleet shall be joined, amongst others, by Jérémie Beyou and Christopher Pratt on Charal – the defending Défi Azimut – Lorient Agglomération champions from 2020 – who have been compelled to sit down this one out due to harm incurred on the Fastnet Race.
For the primary time this 48-Hours basic counted for factors within the new IMOCA Globe Collection Championship with Dalin and Meilhat now in second place within the rating behind Fisher and Mettraux. In third place comes Benjamin Dutreux who partnered with Damien Seguin on Groupe APICIL within the 48-Hours, ending in tenth place, the primary of two non-foilers to finish the course.
Ashore over the past week, the place has been buzzing with suppliers, contractors and race organisers – plus new potential companions for the IMOCA Class – getting collectively to speak concerning the future for a Class which is having fun with glorious well being.
The Défi Azimut – Lorient Agglomération, which concludes with the Around the Ile de Groix Race in the present day, is quick changing into not only a distinctive showcase regatta however a key annual discussion board for the IMOCA Class because it appears to be like ahead not simply to the TJV however the Route du Rhum and The Ocean Race subsequent yr.
1- eleventh Hour Racing Staff – MALAMA (Charlie Enright – Pascal Bidégorry)
2- LinkedOut (Thomas Ruyant – Morgan Lagravière)
3- Groupe Sétin-4MyPlanet (Manuel Cousin – Alexia Barrier)
48 Heures Azimut
1- APIVIA (Charlie Dalin – Paul Meilhat)
2- eleventh Hour Racing Staff – ALAKA’I (Justine Mettraux – Simon Fisher)
3- LinkedOut (Thomas Ruyant – Morgan Lagravière)
Tour de L’Ile de Groix
1- LinkedOut (Thomas Ruyant – Morgan Lagravière)
2- APIVIA (Charlie Dalin – Paul Meilhat)
3- Initiatives-Cœur (Samantha Davies – Nicolas Lunven)