French Nationals see duel to the wire

12191704_933551873382202_6505367404271602893_nThe French National Championship title went to the wire with a duel for overall victory in the last race of the event, held at Hyères in the south of France from 5-8th November, 2016. Winner Ed Russo gives us his view from the water…

After four races in a light 8-12 knot sea breeze on Friday and Saturday, there were five boats in contention for the podium on the final Sunday morning, all within 6 points. ‘Give me Five’ (FRA 3653) and ‘Black Magic’ (FRA 3706) were tied with 6 points apiece, but ‘Give Me Five’ would go ahead on countback. ‘Melston Team’ (RUS 3708) was one point behind, with ‘VIS Sailing Team’ on 8 points, and the Portuguese boat, ‘Boom Bap Wear’, at 12 points.

Defending 2014 champions ‘Melston Team’ was hungry for the win. The boat had a change of helm, with Kirill Frolov taking over and Alexey Muraschkin moving to the mainsail and calling tactics.

The early morning fog was thicker than usual, although far from a London pea soup. The sea breeze had trouble filling in and it looked like the Championship would be over without racing on Sunday as a few boats headed to the crane. But at 12 noon, the fog lifted, the Race Committee dropped the AP flag and sent the fleet out for one last race.

The sea breeze filled in nicely at 7-9 knots, holding fairly steady from the south-west (240 degrees) with an occasional shift to the left – in contrast to the day before, when the shifts had been to mostly from the right. The Race Committee got everyone off the line before the 1400hrs deadline and the title fight for the championship was underway.

12196038_936129069792082_3106180849880880677_n‘Boom Bap Wear’ and ‘Black Magic’ took a committee boat start and tacked straight off the line heading right. ‘Give Me Five’ was in the middle and ‘Melston’ and ‘VIS’ took the pin end, which was slightly favoured. The wind shifted right and strengthened and it looked like ‘Boom Bap’ and ‘Black Magic’ would run away with the race. But ‘Boom Bap’ covered ‘Black Magic’ on starboard, dropping them back several boats lengths, and ‘Give me Five’ was early to the right to minimize the loss. ‘Melston’ and ‘VIS’ were too far left and had to work their way back across the fleet.

At first the weather mark, ‘Boom Bap’ had a considerable lead followed by ‘Black Magic’, the second French Youth team led by Yvann Thelier, and ‘Give Me Five’ in fourth place. The positions didn’t change during the first run but ‘Give me Five’ closed the gap on ‘Black Magic’ on the beat and rounded the second weather mark just one boat length behind.

But ‘Black Magic’ was able to hold off ‘Give me Five’, finishing second and clinching the title in an intense ending to the season. The runners-up were ‘Give Me Five’ and third place went to ‘Melston Team’.

1st  3706 ‘BLACK MAGIC’ Edward Russo, Gilles Favennec and Clement Pequin 8pts

2nd  3653 ‘GIVE ME FIVE FFV YOUNG’   Robin Follin,  Gauthier Germain & Emeric Michel 9pts

3rd  3708 ‘MELSTON TEAM’   Kirill Frolov, Alexey Muraschkin & Egor Ignatenko 11pts

4th 3525 ‘BOOM BAP WEAR’ Tiago Roquette, Pedro Arretto &  Fernando Teles 13pts

5th  3707 ‘VIS SAILING TEAM’ Vadim Pushev, Timur Sabirzianov & Alexandre Mikhailov 14pts

Full results available at: