Didier Gaudoux’s new MN35 Lann Ael 3 won the first race of the inaugural Two-Handed IRC European Championship with a commanding lead.
Sailing with Gildas Morvan as co-skipper, the overall winner of the 2017 Rolex Fastnet Race took line honours by an impressive six hour margin, plus victory after IRC time correction by almost three hours at the end of a 350 mile course from the south Breton port of La Trinité to Cowes.
Geoffrey Thiriez’s Figaro 2 Terre d’Enfants sur l’Atlantique was second across the line, followed nine minutes later by Ludovic Gerard’s JPK 1080 Solenn for Pure Ocean.
However, after time correction these slipped to 13th and 6th respectively.
Min River was next to finish, taking fifth place on corrected time, the sole non-French boat in the top 14.
Owner Lin Jiang is now based in Australia, where she took the prize for top female skipper at the 2020 Sydney Harbour regatta and has since won a string of trophies, including Ocean Racing Rookie of the Year.
Ad Hoc crossed the line only 10 minutes behind Jiang to take second place after time correction, more than an hour ahead of Raphael, but three hours behind Lann Ael 3.
The largest contingent of non-French entries, totalling 30 per cent of the fleet, was from the UK.
Jonathan McKee’s American Sun Fast 3300 Red Ruby was second-best placed non French boat after Min River, finishing 15th on corrected time, just five minutes ahead of Nick Martin and Cal Finlayson on the Sun Fast 3600 Diablo.
Kate Cope’s Sun Fast 3200 Purple Mist, with Matt Beecher, one of 11 young sailors under 26 in the British fleet, showed promise in the early stages, climbing into the top 10 after executing a fast rounding of the Quiberon peninsula.
However she then slipped down the fleet as a result of staying further inshore than was optimal.
Conditions look likely to be very different for the second and final race of the championship – the 150 mile Cowes Dinard St Malo, which starts mid-afternoon on Friday 7 July.
The IRC Two-Handed European Championship is organised jointly by the Société Nautique de La Trinité sur Mer and the Royal Ocean Racing Club.
The Prize Giving for the La Trinité-Cowes Race will be held at the RORC Clubhouse Cowes today, Thursday 6 July starting at 18:30 BST.