Day 2: First for Lionheart
A bright and sunny, but slow start to the second day of racing for Les Voiles de St Tropez. The Race Committee raised the AP flag at 11.30, the breeze wasn’t much above 4 knots and both the Js and the Wallys who are sharing the same ‘field of play’ ideally need at least 5 knots to race. The Js got a start at 1310 after the breeze had filled in a little, it was to be a two lap windward leeward course again off Pampelone beach.
“It was all about the first beat, and we got them!” explained Andre Hoek racing aboard Lionheart, Lionheart proceeded to take the first windward mark and then led for the remainder of the race. The crew were jubilant as they crossed the line, it was not only the gun that marked their win but apparently the pop of a champagne cork too! This was a significant occasion for Lionheart, this was their first win over Hanuman and beat them fair and square. When asked the prognosis for the rest of the regatta, Toby Brand the Captain remarked, “we haven’t as yet digested our win today, but now with equal points between us, Velsheda and Hanuman anything can happen! We are hoping for more wind, as these are not really our conditions.”
Kevin Burnham, part of Hanuman’s afterguard has similar sentiments, “Hanuman is just not that fast with wind under 8 knots, she’s a little ‘sticky’. Trimming in the light air is a little more challenging and takes time to build that experience.” With more wind and weather forecast towards the end of this week Hanuman is hoping to improve on her current two second places, “we are certainly not complaining with our position today narrowly beating Velsheda by a mere 9 seconds on corrected time, but it is fair to say that as it gets windier, we get faster – and pop out with around 11-14 knots of breeze.”
With the forecast for day 3 to be much the same, Velsheda who prefers these lighter airs needs to make good of this situation, “we are pretty confident in conditions like today, anything under 9 knots is when we have the advantage.” stated Tom Dodson, “we had good boat speed today and were certainly catching up to Lionheart, however with the short legs it’s hard to find a passing lane.” It was a long day on the water, for not a lot of yachting.
This regatta is all about the spirit of the event, the 4 J’s add to the story surrounded by the classics in the Port of St Tropez with Shamrock certainly the belle of the ball. “The J Class has come along way even since the Jubilee back in 1999, where Shamrock V, Endeavour and Velsheda were racing on much more of an even keel,” explained Marty part of the race crew on Shamrock V, “although we are not competitive any more it’s fantastic to be part of the growing J Class and still show our mettle on the start line!”
With a mix of conditions this week, and with the top 3 J’s currently on equal points, this could be an interesting regatta to end the season.