After some 20 hours racing, Maxime and William Lesguillier (CV Julouville) succeeded to preserve a 3 minute advantage on British team William et Hugo Sunnucks (Brightlingsea Sailing Club), being then crowned winners of 2016 Costarmoricaine in Erquy.
Sailing during five days from Erquy to Bréhat, Perros-Guirec, Saint-Quay-Portrieux, and Cap Fréhel, participants faced quite a complete range of wheather conditions during 23rd edition of the Costarmoricaine Raid sailed all along North Brittany.
First leg badly tested competitors nerves, as the wind came late, after the boats entered Chenal de Saint Quay, then increasing up to 18 knots, giving an exciting finish between top three teams Lesguillier brothers, Sunnucks father and son, and Bretons Gorgues/Dayot.
Second leg has been sailed by a medium plus steady Southwest wind, forcing competitors to a lengthy (15 NM) tacking duel all along the course from Héaux de Bréhat lighthouse to Ile Tomé, just in front of Perros-Guirec. Finish has been judged in the rain, Sunnucks/Sunnucks being a few seconds ahead Lesguillier/Lesguillier, RCYC Jersey team Stower/Monks and mixed Breton team Fleury/Fleury crossing the line 10 minutes later.
For one rudder blade… Third leg is the longest one, a true Raid leg leading the fleet from Perros-Guirec to Saint Quay-Portrieux, going through Le Ferlas channel. Luckily, wind conditions, SW 15 to 18 knots, were optimum, gybes under gennaker matching with tacking duels from the previous day. Fortunately enough for William and Hugo Sunnucks, who broke one rudder after rounding “La Moisie”, Race Committee, as often the case, neutralized the race at “Vieille de Loguivy” mark, allowing then the disabled team to proceed to a repair… using a paddle! Further more, William and son, even starting late, did succeed in winning the second part of the leg, keeping some hope related to the final score…
A gust of wind allowed fourth leg to start, after Race Officer decided not to round “La Mauve”, in order to use both light wind and tide current to bring the fleet close to Erquy. Funny enough, and although leading teams took very different options nearshore and offshore to reach “Les Trois Pierres” mark, pressure suddenly came from the North, permitting first four teams to finish… within 4 seconds, Lesguillier brothers securing a 11 minutes safety margin before the final leg.
It’s under a bright sun and by a gentle Northwesterly breeze that the last leg has been sailed, permitting competitors to demonstrate their skills in the strong current created by the tide near Cap Fréhel, crossing the 26 NM at a 16+ knots average speed… William Sunnucks and son winning the leg, and gaining 8 minutes on Lesguillier brothers… Good attempt, but not sufficient to deprive Normand team from CV Jullouville from the final win!
Listening to the participating teams, the raid organised by the Club de Voile de la Baie d’Erquy (CVBE) keeps on providing them with the same magic, mixing unique landscapes, high competition level, and an unusual pleasure, competitors and organisers sharing the same living conditions during the five days the race lasts.
“It’s our fifth participation, and be certain we will do our best to come back with some friends next year!” said Maxime et William Lesguillier at Prize Giving.
No doubt Costarmoricaine will apply to host the newly created Raid World Cup title in the coming years!
All pictures Paul Malécot. More info on CVB Erquy Website