Stage #3: Guernsey / Jersey
Third stage of the 33rd Manche Ports Race. Today the fleet left one of the Channel Islands and arrived at another. The 81 boats set off this morning from Guernsey on a 25-mile leg which would take them to Jersey. The downwind sails had to stay below decks once again because, like every day so far since the start of this 2017 edition, sailing to windward was the order of the day.
Today has been about speed, and this third stage of the Manche Ports Race was accomplished in just over 5 hours by the smallest boats. After the start opposite the entrance to the port of Guernsey, the 81 boats lengthened their stride until they reached the south-west tip of Jersey, before arriving in the bay of Saint-Aubin where the finishing line was moored. “The first part was pretty challenging technically, against the current”, explained Olivier Rapeaud, skipper of Ville de Donville which is ranking first in Group 5. “The boats rounded the offset mark and then pointed their bows into a long windward reach. We then had a 20-mile run which brought us to the tip of Jersey, and from there the most advantageous option was to stay inshore so as to be protected from the currents.” This meant steering between rocks on the approach to the channel island – a hazardous path but the only way to make up for the softening wind combined with a strong counter-current. The sailors could then make the most of a last short reach downwind to bring them to the finishing line, accompanied by unexpected guests…”We didn’t see the dolphins, but we did see a lot of rocks, very close up!” grinned the skipper of Actual 46.
An overall ranking starts to emerge
In terms of ranking, after three valid races things are starting to get much clearer. In group 1, the three leaders are completely consistent. Pied D’Alouette, Ti’moun Plastimétal and Pacha take the podium for the overall ranking this evening. After coming in sixth yesterday, Axe Sails takes second place for today’s stage, which brings her back into third place in the overall ranking for group 2, behind Monster 737 and Roc Nere III.
Défi Voile Adaptée seems to have found her stride. Thanks to winning two stages, she is in the lead for the overall ranking in group 3, ahead of Trip-adekua.fr and Romilly. In group 4, although the two leaders, Manche Fibre Kunkel Palettes and la Railleuse, have the advantage of leading in points, the Rapetous and Gwaihir Venturi are in equal place on the third step of the podium. In group 5, Ville de Donville wins this third stage and takes a magisterial first place on the podium. Pyranha Brothers is second, ahead of Crédit Mutuel, who has caught up after a disappointing performance yesterday. The boats Yaka and Mysplice-GCI, both of whom had to abandon today’s race as a result of problems with sails, have lost ground in overall ranking but will be at the starting line tomorrow.