RP_140507_GPGuyader_1250 (320x213)Lawrie Smith helming GBR 785 “Alfie” leads overall after day one in DZ..

(This fantastic “action” photo was captured by Professional Ricardo Pinto).

A most stunning sailing day was enjoyed by the 48 boats here on day one of the Guyader Grand Prix in Douarnenez. Although the numbers are slightly down this year due to the early Europeans in San Remo, the level of competition is as good as it gets. So when you put all the perfect ingredients into the mix, arguably the best racing bay in Europe, 15 to 17 knots of westerly wind, most if not all of the best sailors in the world, then the fireworks will happen.. 

Race one started on time at 2pm with the experienced PRO getting the fleet away on the first attempt, the boats that took an early lead came from the middle of the line and maintained their starboard tack all the way to the left lay line of this 2 mile beat. One of these boats was GER 1133 Sinewave, helmed by Tommy Muller, crewed by Vincie Hoesch and Marc Pickel, who with years of experience, judged their approach to perfection to round the top mark ahead. Also well in the hunt was GBR 758 Fever, helmed by Klaus Diederichs and GBR 785 Alfie, helmed by Lawrie Smith.

As the race developed Tommy was able to hold onto his lead whilst Lawrie battled hard to move up to 2nd place, with Klaus finishing a creditable 3rd. It was a day for keeping the boat moving through the waves, trying to sail in clear air and having the boat trimmed so that the helm could keep control as the breeze strength varied. After a short break to allow the line to be re-set, the President of the Committee du Course,  Jean Gabriel Le’Cleach did an excellent job of getting the second race away, again on the first attempt.

Once again GER 1133 Tommy Muller stormed into the lead after another “middle of the line” start and then being one of the first to tack in the more favourable tide for the lay line. GBR 785 Lawrie Smith was hard on his heels which put pressure on Tommy and his team at the bottom of the first downwind leg. With Tommy and Lawrie choosing the same gate mark, this allowed POR 66 Jose’ Matoso and his top team of Gustavo Lima and Bernando Plantier to take the other gate mark and found themselves on the correct side of a small wind shift. They took the lead and they were able to hold it to the end. Lawrie overtook Tommy to record his second 2nd place of the day and DEN 138 Eva, helmed by Lars Hendriksen came through to pip Tommy for 3rd place.

So overall GBR 785 “Alfie” helmed by Lawrie Smith, crewed by Tim Tavinor and Joost Houweling lead on just 4pts, GER 1133 in 2nd on 5pts and POR 66 3rd on 9pts… Early days, and much more racing to come…..

Leading the “Corinthian’s” (Non Professional Teams), is French Champion FRA 386 Luc Pillot, who recorded two 19th places. Closely behind Luc is FRA 396 Remy Arnuad and NED 309 Gus de Groot.

 A stronger wind is forecast today so it will be interesting to see how things shape up. With an 11.30am start today many of the teams made the most of their “beds” last evening with early nights…  It’s going to be a tough week…  !

Higher, Faster, Longer………….    Stavros (GER 1102).