Coupe des Iles d’Or and Duc d’Albe long distance races were respectively scheduled on Friday 20th and Saturday 21st & Sunday 22nd September, being at the same time support events for Nacra 20 Europeans.
Unfortunately for CMH (Club Multicoque de Hyères), organising club, a rather scary weather forecast lead close to 50% of pre registered teams to cancel their trip to Hyères Bay, so the 2019 edition gathered 72 boats only, which remains whatever good numbers.
On Friday, Race Committe kept the fleet ashore until 4:00 pm, when the wind decreased to a 18-20 knots range, before launching Nacra 20s for a two laps course, then the other groups, including F18s, for a one lap race, won by local pair Orion Martin/Charles Gaté crossing the line by a dropping 12 knots wind.
Saturday faced a steady 25+ knots wind and, similar to the day before, race was postponed to 15:30, hoping that the wind would have decreased in the afternoon. Unfortunately, and despite an attempt from the Race Committee in laying a starting line close to the beach, AP on A was displayed by 4:00 pm. “No more racing today!”
Warning signal was scheduled at 10:00 am on Sunday morning, and forecast was predicting a 15 to 18 knots wind, hence Race Committee built up a true long distance course, leading the fleet to sail all around Hyères Bay: Start from CMH, La Londe, Duc D’albe, Esterel, Saint Pierre Harbour and back to start/finish line.
Three successive starts were given, first for C3 Group, second for C0, C1, F18 & Flying Boats, last for Nacra 20. All starts went pretty well, with no recalls, and the whole 51 competing boats headed to La Londe mark with no major problems. Point was that, approaching Porquerolles End and Duc d’Albe tower, a sudden twister with 40+ wind gusts put the whole fleet upside down, three masts, many battens and… one teeth being broken.
It is here to note the good reaction from all teams, lowering and rolling the mainsail to keep on sailing with the jib, some hoisting the main again later to cross the finishing line double trapezing.
Eventually, only seven boats completed the course: four C3, one F18 (Emeric Dary & Joris Cocaud), one FB, and one Nacra 20, most of the fleet retiring and reaching the shore safely.
A tough but memorable edition for Duc d’Albe 20th Anniversary, whose global quality and warm welcome has to be stressed. Congrats to Jean-François Pelletier and team for a perfect organisation.
We warmly invite you to attend next edition, 25th – 27th September 2020.