It was a very early start for the 44 boats as they headed out into the Gulf of St Tropez at 8.30am yesterday morning, to be greeted with some quite severe gusts of up to 28kts from the north west. It was not just the strength of the wind at times that caused concern more the shifting of direction. However, the PRO Jean Pierre Mannetstatter, got the fleet away on time with a 9,0am start which saw the individual recall flag raised as just a few boats were over the line. Early gains were made by the boats who chose the right hand side of the beat, and it was SWE 345 Jacob Wallenberg who mastered the conditions the best to lead at the top mark. Hot in pursuit were FRA 339 Jean Pol Kerbaol and NED 372 Wouter Ten Wolde. On raising spinnakers it was time for your “brown trousers” as each gust of wind could suddenly have you sailing 15 degree’s by the Lee! Indeed FRA 339 had their spinnaker blow out in spectactular style, to just leave the crew with three pink coners……… However, Jacob handled his boat well and had a comfortable lead by the gate from Wouter and the winner of the day GBR 758 Klaus Diederichs who took control of 2nd place as NED 372 finished a very creditable 3rd place.
Race 2 saw a similar gain on the right on the first beat and GBR 758 was soon in command of the fleet and were never challenged as they went onto win easily. Meanwhile the leader after the first day ITA 56 Giuseppe Duca had recorded a 20th in the first race so desperately needed to improve on that if he was going to win “Back to Back” titles after his success in Cannes only 9 days ago… With FRA 391 Jean Breger sailing very well to take 2nd place behind Diederichs, it was left to Giuseppe to hold off the rest of the fleet knowing 3rd place would give him and his crew Jean Sebastian Ponce and Paolo Paganuzzi the title!
So Klaus Diederichs won the day with a 2nd and 1st, but it was Giuseppe Duca who added yet another victory to his growing trophy list. NED 316 Pieter Heerama helming the “Bear”had two very consistant races to add to his two bullets from day one, to take the final podium position, just one point behind Diederichs.
Whilst the winners and others were celebrating and boat packing some very disturbing news was circulating amongst the fleet of a serious accident to Julia Walsh in GBR 633. It seems that Julia was thrown across the boat during one of the strong gusts and landed heavily on her Ribs on the leeward side of the boat… Immediate rescue and recovery was undertaken and Julia rushed off to hospital. All of our thoughts are with her now as doctors discover the full extent of her injury. More news to follow………
So Campers yet another St Tropez is over and many congratulations to Jean Pierre and his race office team for completing 5 races despite losing a day with severe winds… It is hoped that for 2012 an extra half day of sailing will be added to this popular event, so come join the fun, in the sun and clear blue waters of the Gulf of St Tropez…….
Higher, Faster, Longer…………. Stavros. (NED 372)