30 Jun J.P. Morgan Round the Island Race (More…)
With Concise 10 still under “Paprec” colours and our crew training on her in Lorient, it was decided to make a last minute stealth raid on the iconic Round the Island Race (Cowes, Isle of Wight) and take everyone by storm.
With over 1,584 yachts and 16,000 competitors taking part in the event, the start was always going to be complicated for Team Concise’s slippery quick MOD 70. So with the best weather information to hand and the navigator working away, the boat slipped its mooring in the Biscay port just 18 hours before the starting gun and sailed through the night for Cowes and the Royal Yacht Squadron start line.
It was a matter of “entente cordiale” with Team Concise’s Ned Collier Wakefield supported by an all-star French and English cast. On board leading the French watch was renowned sailor Jean-Pierre Dick while Ned was supported by team regulars Jonny Malbon, Tom Dawson, Martin Watts and Paul Larson – “the fasted ever sailor on water”.
Team Concise’s main multi-hull competition, the 80 ft trimaran Prince de Bretagne, failed to materialise. However, Concise 10 faced a real threat to their line honours aspirations from the diminutive GC32 foiling catamarans. These “pocket rockets” with their world class crews given their right conditions, looked pretty unbeatable.
Clocking an average speed of 25 knots from France to England, Concise 10 rocked up in Cowes with a couple of hours to spare. Just time for a mug of coffee and an “energy bar” before the “off”. With their start of some 10 minutes after the big monohulls (including Mike Slade’s 100 ft Leopard) and the wind being more or less on the nose, there was always the potential for drama. As C10 beat to weather through the fleet getting “caught on port” five or six times didn’t help their mission one little bit. However, Concise 10 managed to take the lead from Leopard just after The Needles. Once round the top of the island and the gennaker set, it was a matter of speeds up to 35 knots all the way down the back of the Isle of Wight to the forts, before beating once more up through the Solent to the finish line.
Concise 10 sped over the line just a little before 11.00am – too late for breakfast but with plenty of time to enjoy champagne on the veranda of the Island Sailing Club where the crew celebrated their win and watched the other boats come home.
The official elapsed time was 3 hours 30 minutes 20 seconds. Some 20 mins ahead of GC32, Sultanate of Oman, the next boat home.
Meanwhile back at sea Concise 8 and Concise 2 had been giving Team Director, Tony Lawson heartburn. At the pre-start meeting it had been agreed that the two Class 40’s would ignore the rest of the fleet and focus on beating their Class 40 sister ships home. Trophies were at stake here and the Director was keen to “fill the cabinet”.
Watching the boats’ 7am start, Tony was concerned to see both teams make for the mainland shore whereas the rest of the Class 40’s and indeed about 95% of the fleet, headed for the Cowes shore. The question was, had they seen some more pressure or better tidal relief there?
From half way up the Solent it was difficult to determine what had been the right choice – Land or Island side?
Having seen Concise 10 round the Needles from the chase boat and turning back towards Cowes it was a matter of great relief for all concerned to see that the boys on Concise 8 and the girls on Concise 2 were ahead of the other Class 40s and indeed doing well against some much bigger IRC boats.
Concise 8 managed to maintain her first proposition all the way round the back of the island, up through the Solent to the finish line. Beating her main rival, “40 Shades of Grey” by some 20 mins. Meanwhile, the women’s team had slipped a place but still brought Concise 2 (Hed Kandi) home with a solid 3rd place.
Immediately Concise 10 finished the race – just as she had quietly slipped in – she stole away back to France without even stopping. Concise’s chase boat having first taken off the British contingent.
Once Concise 2 and Concise 8 were safely back in the Hamble their crews were picked up and three teams reunited in the beer tent in Cowes.
CEO Team Concise
When asked later why had he gone “land side”, Jack Trigger nonchalantly declared “It was just obvious”. Well it wasn’t obvious to the other 1,583 boats!
No more heart attacks please
Concise 10 Concise 8 Concise 2
Jean-Pierre Dick Jack Trigger Phillippa Hutton-Squire
Fabien Delahaye James Dodd Mary Rook
Thierry Briend Ollie Mellor Joy Fitzgerald
Franҫois Guiffant Otto Collier Wakefield Bertie Whitely
Arnaud Vasseur Mark Angel Amy Prime
Laurent Simon Max Richardson Robyn Fitzgerald
Ned Collier Wakefield