The Grand Prix Ecole Navale is one of the most famous French sailing events, organised annually by the French Naval Academy. Sailing is spread across three sites centred around Crozon, catering for over 1500 sailors in a variety of classes. Ovington Boats and the French distributor Carre Distrabution decided the GPEN was the perfect platform to hold the inaugural VX One Euro Cup. The French Navy organised everything from the racing to the accommodation and evening entertainment. All the sailors have to do is turn and enjoy themselves; everything else is done for them. The VX One fleet hosted sailors from the UK, Belgium, France and USA. Racing started on the Thursday, and with a marginal forecast the committee did their best to get things moving. Despite three starts, the wind either dropped off or switched through 180 degrees making a finish impossible. After several hours on the water, it was finally decided to abandon and return to the bar. Friday was scheduled for an early start, however again due to light winds sailing was postponed until mid-day. The fleet launched at 1pm with good breeze all the way out to the race course. Eventually though, the wind gods decided it wasn’t to be, meaning another early retirement to the bar. With a solid forecast for the Saturday, the final day of racing, it was all to play for! An early start by all saw the first race getting under way by 10am. Nathan Batchelor and Andy Weatherspoon set the pace winning the first three races. The rest of the positions swapped and changed, the most consistent results coming from the USA boat of Brian and Hayden Bennett, and Gerard Daugey and Christian Chapelin in FRA192. In theory, going into the final race the second two steps of the podium were going to be fought out between these two boats. However, under the radar, three young French sailors normally making their mark in the European laser fleets were lurking ready to pounce. The stage was set then for the final race. A shift and strengthening in the breeze meant a change of course, this time covering 7 nautical miles. First out the blocks were the USA boat closely followed by two GBR boats. This is how the positions stayed for the first lap, but a split in the fleet (half going left whilst the other half chose to go right) would cause a re-shuffle of the pack. The GBR boat of Anne Noble, Lester Noble and John McAfee would see themselves slip from second to fifth, with Gerard and Christian (FRA192) passing Nathan and Andy (GB179) for second, and the three young Laser upstarts moving into fourth. Just as all looked to be done, Gerhard sailed the wrong side of the finish mark, handing second back to Nathan and Andy with the French youngsters finishing third. USA 208 led from start to finish taking the win. The prize-giving was held in the spectacular Navale Academy. All sailors from the event were in attendance, treated to a sit-down evening meal before a podium ceremony for each fleet. The atmosphere was electric with stories and anecdotes from each race being shared through the course of the evening. Final results saw Nathan Batchelor and Andy Weatherspoon take the win, second place went to Brian and Hayden Bennett, with the young French boat coming a solid third. The event was an outstanding success, great racing, great hospitality and new friends that no doubt we will see again.
all-day Winter Series #2 @ Sarasota Sailing Squadron
Winter Series #2 @ Sarasota Sailing Squadron
Feb 13 – Feb 14 all-day
all-day Winter Series #3 @ Sarasota Sailing Squadron
Winter Series #3 @ Sarasota Sailing Squadron
Mar 19 – Mar 21 all-day