Mylor Harbour, UK [26 September 2013] – The 2013 International C-Class Catamaran Championship has been characterized by the near-absolute dominance of Franck Cammas and Louis Viat and their brilliant Groupama C design.  Until yesterday, the legendary French offshore sailor had only been beaten in one race, and then only because crew Louis Viat snapped a trapeze wire and flew off the boat.  

That would change yesterday in the final race of the qualifying round, and not from the second or third place Hydros boats; instead, it was 2010 Little Cup Champ Canaan who would romp to a more than 90-second victory over Cammas to the cheers of the entire spectator fleet – including Groupama’s support boats.  “Our entire team has been working for about 50 hours to reconstruct this wing,” said helmsman Billy Gooderham.  “They’ve been operating on coffee and Red Bull for the past two days, and beating Groupama by such a long way is maybe the ultimate reward.”

America’s Lars Guck and Max Kramers proved the competitiveness of a histotical piece; on nearly her 20thanniversary, Guck’s Cogito sailed to a blinding 2,2,2 scoreline, beating Cammas for the first time this week.  Cogito and Canaan both benefitted from the lighter air, and left the fleet wondering what might have been if Canaan and Cogito had kept their wings intact over the entire regatta.

Cammas and crew Louis Viat scored a perfect 7 points from 7 races after dropping their two high scores, but the Hydros I boat of Jeremie Lagarrigue and Billy Besson had a far more complicated route to clinch their finals place.  

With the forecast for decreasing winds after Race 7 and close to tied on points between he and teammate Mischa Heemskerk (Hydros II), Lagarrigue decided to flip over his foiling daggerboards, removing the horizontal “wing” from the water and improving light wind performance.  It is a complicated maneuver requiring a crew in the water, and the French duo on the Swiss boat barely completed the change in time for the starting gun of Race 8.  “With the points such that one of us was almost guaranteed to advance to the finals, we were looking to get some data on ultra-light air performance, so we made the switch,” said Lagarrigue.  In the meantime, Heemskerk had followed suit, with heartbreaking results.  “We meant for Mischa and Bastian to leave their foils in their intended configuration but they did not get the message in time,” Explained Lagarrigue.  Hydros II couldn’t get their foils switched in time, and they withdrew from the race, taking them out of contention for the final.  To add insult to injury, the wind picked up to its highest point of the day just moments later, forcing Lagarrigue to withdraw from the race, tied on points after 8 races with Fred Eaton and Magnus Clarke.  In a race against the clock, Lagarrigue and Besson frantically changed back to their normal, foiling configuration; Heemskerk could never get sorted out and scored a final early to ensure he could get the foils back to their normal configuration for the final race of the day.  Besson managed to hold on to his lead over Eaton by just 3 points.

Eaton and Clarke came back from a slow start to finish the qualifying round in third place, while Americans Lars Guck and Max Kramers aboard Steve Clarke’s non-foiling veteran boat Cogito turned in a blinding 2,2,2 performance to sneak ahead of Heemskerk for fourth place.  The fleet will square off tomorrow to challenge for the final podium position in a fleet racing format, while Cammas and Besson will face off for a first-to-four Little Cup Match.

Racing begins Thursday at 1100.

Results after nine races (two discards):

1 – Cammas/Viat, Groupama C, 12 points

2 – Besson/Lagarrigue, Hydros I, 35 points

3 – Eaton/Clarke, Fill Your Hands, 38 points

4 – Guck/Kramers, Cogito, 56 points

5 – Heemskerk/Tentij, Hydros 1, 59 points




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