French Nationals Report
After a long trip for most people to arrive at Lac d’Hourtin, we were greeted by a very hospitable club nestled in a pine wood forest and nicely sheltered to allow for the usual bimbling, dremeling, and sanding that always seems to be required. Being near Bordeuax, the entry fee naturally included a nice bottle of local vin rouge to make the boat work more palatable.
For those that arrived a day early, there was perfect sailing conditions to allow for a spot of pre-event tuning, though it did also sadly result in the first casualty of the event, but not sailing related. Poor Pablo Arandia suffered from an issue with his kidney whilst on the water, but thankfully Pablo was swiftly airlifted to the hospital in Bordeaux, with Adriano Petrino doing an excellent job of ensuing all went as smoothly as it could. At time of writing Pablo was in a stable condition and all wish him well in his recovery.
As day one dawned, the glorious weather of the previous day was replaced by slightly greyer skies and a whole lot of wind. A consistent 22 knts, gusting 25-30, with some short sharp waves at the bottom of the course led to some challenging sailing for most, with only 9 and 7 finishers respectively in the only races of the day. The newly named – some believe this has been done officially via both Deed Poll and Facebook – Chris Foiling-Rashley, was in a class of his own easily winning both races by some margin, despite having an uncharacteristic capsize on the ‘leg of doom’ between the unusual double leeward mark rounding. Dan Ward kept his boat handling tight as did Yann Andrillon which rounded out the top three at the end of the day. Day one also heralded the second injury of the event, with Adriano clearly feeling the need to have a sympathy injury on behalf of Pablo. And so it came to be during an incredible capsizing feat, where he managed to catapult himself at the spreaders to receive a fairly nasty laceration to his ear. And his second trip to the hospital.
As the fleet readied for Day 2, despite the forecast saying the wind would be less, it was breeze on again. Along with input from the sailors, the race committee made the sensible decision to delay racing until the wind abated. And abate it did, and the fleet launched for a 4pm start.
Having suffered from a broken tiller extension on the first day, this was the day where Foiling-Ben Foiling-Paton-Foiling (the artist formerly known as BPR, aka BenPatonRacing) was hoping to take the challenge for top spot. FBFPF is clearly taking this year seriously and his Facebook page is eagerly anticipated in the coming weeks. Sadly, one expects he may be too late to that particular party as his arch rival and nemesis, the aforementioned Chris Foiling-Rashley, is already well on his way to nailing that aspect of social media branding – check out https://m.facebook.com/chrisfoilingrashley… for his latest foiling exploits.
And now back to the racing…
Despite it still being pretty windy, the moth fleet battled hard, completing three races against some bullet like gusts and shifts, especially at the top mark, making the bear away somewhat interesting. Much like FBFPF’s expected failed social media attempts, the same was true on the racecourse and not even he could touch CFR, most marvelling at how composed he looked whilst the rest of us had a few hair raising moments. In fairness to FBFPF, despite lack of recent practice, he did get close at times, and rounded the day off with a string of second places, Dan had another solid day scoring a hat trick of third places.
Behind the top three, constant battles were had between Yann, John Clifton, Eelco Bouers, Benoit Marie, Phillipe Schiller, Anthony Rezzoug and Kalle Coster. At times Eelco’s upwind pace was electrifying, and had it not been for an exploding spreader shackle, Phillipe would no doubt have added another strong result to his two fourth places earlier in the day. As it was Yann and John managed a small bit of consistency, to place fourth and fifth after Day 2.
The sunshine and 10-15 knts was back on Saturday, and with four races planned, all were looking forward to a stella day’s sailing and no one was left disappointed. With 20-30 degree shifts all over the place, the first beat of every race was hotly contested and CFR didn’t have it all his own way. Both FBFPF and Dan had moments in front of CFR though he did eventually win out in each race. FBFPF did hold him for a lap or two in the last race of the day but fell foul of his trademark uber high foiling. CFR smiled, FBFPF cursed.
Further back, it was a game of veritable snakes and ladders as the sailors fought against the shifts and puffy breeze. David Smithwhite had a couple of blinding starts at the beginning of the day, and the Dutch contingent put in a strong showing with both Eelco and Kalle having a solid days racing. The French battle continued, Yann just edging Benoit.
The forecast for Sunday was for very light winds, and so it proved, racing sensibly cancelled early to allow people to begin their journeys home after an early prize giving.
Sadly for Foiling-Ben Foiling-Paton-Foiling, it was the other foiling double-barrelled foiler who took the title, CFR getting a clean sweep of race wins to take the event at a canter. FBFPF had to settle for second, and Dan taking third to make it a British 1-2-3.
Yann won the the battle d’Francais placing fifth overall, ahead of Benoit, and Anthony.
All in all, it was a fantastic event in a great location, which bodes well for an awesome European’s at the same location next June. It’s a prefect place for Moths to sail, and the surrounding small towns of Maubisson, Carcan la Plage and Lacanau Ocean all make for a nice holiday too. For anyone thinking of taking family, it would be a winner.
Many thanks to the club for making it a great event, the French Moth Association for holding the event, and of course to Foiling-Ben Foiling-Paton-Foiling for his commitment to oneupmanship in trying usurp Chris. It really should be applauded, and we wish him well and he undertakes the rebrand from BPR to FBFPF. It won’t be easy, but we’re with him for the journey. Until the launch however, we really do suggest going to CFR’s page to see how it’s really done.
(Words by John Clifton and Dan Ward)