409 boats (49 more than in 2016!) enjoyed four days of glorious racing on Quiberon Bay over Easter in France’s largest sailing regatta, Spi Ouest France, organised by the Societe Nautique de la Trinite sur Mer. Bright sunshine and winds between 6 and 18 knots provided perfect conditions.
The growth in participation was driven in part by the new Multi 2000 class – which was won by Charlie Capelle sailing the immaculately renovated Accapella, a sister-ship to Mike Birch’s 1978 Route du Rhum winner Olympus.
The Diam 24 trimarans are also growing in number and Spi Ouest provided perfect training for 33 boats who are preparing for this years Tour de France a la Voile.
Another growing class is the 2-handed IRC division. JPK 10.80’s LS-Resa and Bouznik finished first and second in a 34 boat fleet which competed in one long coastal race each day.
IRC 1 was a battle between two Grand Soleil’s – and it was the GS43 Codiam, with former 505 world champion Nicolas Loday at the helm, who came out on top against GS44 Spirit of Spineck, skippered by 2016 Solitaire du Figaro champion Yann Richomme.
In IRC 2 the podium positions where shared by the same teams as in 2016, but this time it was Didier Le Moal’s J112 J-Lance ahead of the JPK10.80’s Dream Pearls and Leon.
IRC 3 was arguably the most competitive class this year, with many of France’s top Figaro sailors joining the fun in a fleet dominated by JPK10.10’s and Sunfast 3200’s. OGIC took a well deserved win ahead of Raging Bee in second.
IRC 4 was won by Alain Guelennoc’s X332 Riwannon III ahead of the Surprise Indigo and Half Tonner Brittany Drizzle.
More than half of Spi Ouest’s entrants raced in one-design classes, the largest of which was the J80 class with 67 entries this year. Inigo Jaurigui’s Gold Sailing Team made the trip from Spain to take the win, with double world champion and Olympic gold medallist Jose Maria van der Ploeg in second and French national champions Eric Brezellec / Géry Trentesaux in third.
The other stand-out one-design class was the Open 7.50’s – with local sailor Nicolas Groleau’s Bretagne Telecom team finishing ahead of two Dongfeng boats – with Marie Riou in second and Charles Caudrelier in third.
Multihull sailing and 2-handed sailing are two growth areas in our sport and our club will be working hard over the next year to make sure these fleets continue to flourish. We hope as many of you as possible join us for the 320 mile ArMen Race in May (armenrace.fr), the IRC 2-handed Duo Cat-Amania in June (duocatamania.com), or indeed Spi Ouest next year!
by Joe Lacey