Day 2 of the Cannes Grand Prix started with a slight delay until the predicted sea breeze began to fill into the West Bay at around noon. Although the wind was very light at the start of the first race of the day (race 2 of the series), it slowly began to increase in strength as the beautiful town of Cannes bathed in sunshine this allowed the colder air above the sea to sweep in towards the land replacing the hot air that was now rising from beaches, buildings and land… A typical “Sea Breeze”…..  from around 160 degrees. Perfect sailing conditions for all 53 multi-International teams on the 26th February 2015….

The boats that started at the Pin end of the line and could tack immediately (RUS 27 and FRA 391), made a nice “jump” on the fleet as they were able to cross many of the boats who were prevented from tacking due to being “locked in” off the start line on starboard tack. This can be very frustrating for a sailor when they know they should be tacking onto port to take advantage of the “favoured” tack, but are prevented from doing so by the boat immediately to their right. Picking the right opportunity of when to tack is an experienced skill and sometimes a “gutsy” call as you need to be able to clear the oncoming “right-of-way” starboard tack boat or risk a penalty….

At the other end of the line and using all of his “local” knowledge was experienced tactician Jean Sebastien Ponce, who was guiding his helm of ITA 56 “Cloud”  Giuseppe Duca towards the right hand side of the race course. As the 1.4 mile first beat developed, it was indeed RUS 27 “Annapurna” helmed by Anatoloy Loginov, crewed by Vadim Statsenko and Alaxander Shalagin, who had continued from the pin all the way to the favoured right side before tacking on the starboard “layline”, who held the lead. Closely followed by FRA 391 “Ulysse” helmed by Jean Breger, crewed by Clement Soulet & Simon Troel in 2nd place and then ITA 56 3rd… This is indeed how it remained to the finish.

In the second race of the day (race 3 of the series), the line was set perfectly and the start got away first time under a “P” flag (which is a compliment to the PRO of a well set line), and the fleet split tacks up the first beat in a slightly oscillating breeze that was still predominately from 160.. Although the left hand side looked good halfway up the 1.5 mile beat, it was again the right that saw the most gains. The only “Cloud” to be seen was ITA 56 who came “storming” out of the far right, to hold a comfortable lead at the top mark. Giuseppe Duca, Jean Sebastien Ponce and Zaoli Vittorio got it correct again and made no mistakes to hold their position to the end and win the race. FRA 391 finished the day with another brilliant 2nd place, well done Jean Breger and BEL 80 “Way Out” was “Way In” ! By sailing well to creep up to 3rd place (nearly taking 2nd on the line), so I was told by crew Dominic Bakker, who was on board with helm Ben Cauwenbergh & Thibaud Den Hartigh. Ben is settling in his recent boat after upgrading from his success in “Blackout” the boat we all know and love that starts off Black and gets Whiter..

I congratulated Jean Sebastien after the races, he told me ” I went right in both races. Sometimes in this kind of wind, you can expect a constant veering with some Oscillation”. Now why did I not speak to him BEFORE the race !

So with 3 races sailed it is ITA 56 who lead overall, with GBR 761 “Jerboa” helmed by Gavia Wilkinson-Cox in 2nd place and RUS 27 “Annapurna” 3rd. Two more races are planned today and likewise tomorrow, as the final day’s “cut-off” time is not until 4pm, which will give PRO Phillip Faure every opportunity of completing a most exciting series…..

Higher, Faster, Longer………     Stavros.  (GBR 585).