Pro Sailing Tour
The French town of Brest hosted the second event of the 2022 Pro Sailing Tour. After winning four of the six coastal events and the 24 Hour Challenge, Leyton scored its first victory of the season to take the provisional leadership of the circuit from Arkema, winner of Episode 1. In the absence of his usual skipper, the British Sam Goodchild, Leyton was skippered by Morgan Lagravière.
Episode 2 of the Pro Sailing Tour consisted of four days of competition in the French town of Brest, with an intense program of two days of coastal regattas prior to the event in ocean format: the 24 Hours Finistère Challenge. The Leyton, champion of the 2021 season, was the clear dominator of this second event of the year, in which it had Morgan Lagravière at the helm replacing the usual skipper, Sam Goodchild.
“A great satisfaction!”, Lagravière recognized when completing his excellent debut at the controls of the Leyton, taking the long-distance test. “The conditions were quite difficult, with violent waves, but I was impressed with the behavior of the boat. Racing these trimarans with foils requires a very high level of commitment, you have to be absolutely focused at all times. I was a bit scared of racing the boat at night, but in the end we attacked more at dusk than during the day.”
The expert ocean sailing skipper was very satisfied with his first experience on the Pro Sailing Tour: “I loved Ocean Fifty, the circuit, the format… It has everything I like. It is about the people, the sensations, the speed, the open sea and the contact races”.
High intensity in coastal regattas
The coastal testing program took place on June 23 and 24. Leyton’s crew showed excellent performance from the first start, and Morgan Lagravière was able to show off his contact racing skills despite being new to the circuit. The 2021 champion team won two of the three heats played on the opening day, with the other victory going to Arkema. Solidaires In Peleton-ARSEP, which in Brest had the reinforcement of Vincent Riou (winner of the 2004 Vendée Globe) maintained its options with a 2-4-3 split on Thursday. On Friday, Primonial won the first heat and Leyton the next two, confirming their excellent progress. Éric Péron took advantage of his knowledge of the area and showed the great potential of the Komilfo with a creditable third position in the last test of the coastal series, the same result as Koesio in the previous one. Gilles Lamiré’s GCA-1001 Sourires, the last to arrive in Brest after sustaining damage to its hull, struggled to find his pace.
Brilliant Challenge 24 Hours Finistère
In Brest, the 24 Hours Finistère Challenge consisted of a 300-nautical-mile course that the fleet completed in less than 18 hours. The Ocean Fifty found themselves in their element with a strong southwesterly wind of 15 to 25 knots that reached intensities of up to 35 knots; a tactical run that launched all seven ships along the Finistère coast. The harsh sea conditions required extreme precautions in the always delicate balance between performance and safety, especially around the island of Ouessant, just over ten miles west of the coast of Brittany.
Leyton set the tone throughout, leading the fleet from the start line, stalked by Sébastien Rogues’ Primonial and Quentin Vlamynk’s Arkema, winner of Episode 1 at Bonifacio. Thibaut Vauchel-Camus’s Solidaires En Peleton-ARSEP broke her gennaker just before dark and Koesio suffered a blackout minutes after the start at Brest, forcing Erwan Le Roux’s crew to sail blind. Finally, the Groupe GCA-1001 Sourires withdrew due to the doubts of arriving within the time limit. Despite the complications, the competitiveness remained until the finish line itself, as evidenced by the six minutes that separated Solidaires En Peleton-ARSEP and Koesio.
Completing two of the four episodes of the season, Leyton leads the Pro Sailing Tour 2022 standings by the minimum over Arkema. Nobody sings victory knowing that there is a long way to go before the final regatta in Roscoff, on July 10.
Episode 3 of the Pro Sailing Tour 2022 will take the fleet to the Bay of Saint-Brieuc for a new helping of intense inshore racing and open water tactical challenges. The action kicks off on Thursday, June 30, and promises to be spectacular.