Poul-Richard Hoj-Jensen sailed very smart and quick yesterday to lead overall after 7 races in his brand new Petticrow GBR 775 “Danish Blue”, crewed by Paul Maguire and Peter Bowring from Ireland. It was another fantastic day of sailing in the beautiful bay of La Baule where all 35 participants are having a great time both on and off the water.  The social programme is “full on” with happy hour’s and dinner’s served up each evening after a wonderful day of racing….

As I mentioned in yesterday’s blog, heading for the shore of this amazing 12km of golden sand, no longer gives a significant advantage, indeed FRA 207 Fred Gourlaouen who had already won the first race by starting at the PIN end and sailing away from the coast, followed up with a 2nd place in race 5 yesterday with the same ploy. Taking the line honers just in front of Fred was FRA 391 Jean Breger the winner here three years ago. In the second race yesterday (which was the 6th of the series), Poul-Richard got the “jump” on the fleet from a middle of the line start and was the first boat to take advantage of a left-hand shift which paid handsomely to give the two times Olympic Gold Medalist a comfortable lead. Despite some great sailing from Canne’s Gerard Blanc FRA 409, Poul-Richard held onto the lead with Gerard finishing 2nd.

In the final race of the day, GBR 767 “Bear” helmed by (yours truly) Martin Payne, started at the committee boat and held on until a left-hand shift gave the boats that could be seen in his mainsail window an advantage. However, Payne was quick to tack below the lead boats to maintain a distance on the right side of the first beat, so when the wind shifted again back to the right, the “Bear” could then round the top mark well ahead. Following next around the windward mark after “banging” the right corner was GBR 636 Seafire helmed by David Crabb and his “social” crew Simon and Roy. These life loving fun guy’s continued to sail well throught this long final race which finished on the third up wind leg which Payne won and Hoj-Jensen was second.

So overall after seven races Hoj-Jensen leads, Gourlaouen is second and Payne third. However, with another full day of sailing today with three or maybe even four more races, the competition is still wide open. But it would be a brave man to bet against “The Man” PRH as he seeks to win his second title of 2012 to add to the East Coast Championship’s he won two weeks ago in the UK. After spending the whole winter in Antigua, where Poul-Richard and Sophia now reside, the Dragon World should be ready to see this great Champion back doing what he does best……  Winning…..  :-)

Higher, Faster, Longer…….  trying to catch the Man…      Stavros (GBR 767).