From Press Release
Fantastic, unbelievable, magical… there was no shortage of superlatives on Friday after the races. However, it was an invigorating day, with between 18 and 20 knots of wind on seas that grew steadily stronger as the day went on, so much so that for safety reasons the race committee preferred to cut short the proceedings at the end of the first race. “The waves got harder as the day went on.
By mid-day, it started to get pretty rocky. As a result, there were quite a few capsizes and some breakage,” commented Tim Mourniac, who once again showed great ease on the day’s course between Lorient and Pain de Sucre, via the point of Colombier. “At the start, it was upwind then downwind, then there was a good reaching section—things got pretty tricky— which wasn’t easy for everyone to manage,” said Pierre-Yves Durand’s teammate, who took command once the spinnaker was hoisted, and then managed to hold off the attacks of his rivals right to the end, starting with those of Henri Demesmaeker and Jeroen Van Leeuwen (Ohana).
Although they were discovering the race course for the first time this year, these two were clearly quick to grasp the technical specifics. “We were able to see yesterday that for the St. Barth Cata Cup, speed and starts are very important, as the first upwind leg is quite short. It helps to be in the right pack at the first mark, but what clearly made the difference today was the long reaching leg to leeward of the island. In my opinion, this was the key phase, as the wind was extremely variable, shifting from 5 to 20 knots, which meant that we had to be both reactive and dynamic,” explained the Belgian helmsman, who finished strongly in second place, leapfrogging up the rankings (from 16th to 9th) despite the handicap of 30th place incurred on the around-the-island-race following the breakage of a spinnaker halyard. “We know that our overall position is now a bit weaker. We’re now taking things one day at a time, and making the most of the chance we’ve been given to battle it out on a playground as fabulous as Saint-Barth against competition worthy of a world championship,” Henri Demesmaeker reports.