There were twelve entrants for the annual FF15 Coupe de France Regatta, 8-10 May, Dinard, Brittany. The lower number of visitors was attributable, perhaps, to people saving their energies, and ferry costs, for the World Championships at Crozon Morgat, Western Brittany, in August 2015.
Races were held off Port Blanc beach, west of Dinard. These relatively sheltered waters behind the barrier islands are subject to the unpredictability of local tidal currents around submerged rock outcrops. Spring tides were in force, with one boat running aground, but undamaged, on the homeward journey after the first day’s races. Wind predictions were accurate for Friday afternoon’s two triangular course races.
Skies were overcast and there was a moderate, southerly breeze with wind against tide for the races creating choppy waves with some opportunities for surfing spinnaker runs. Over-enthusiastic luffing with the tide carrying boats over the line at the start of Race 1 saw FRA3691 and GBR3692 disqualified for being OCS. Both completed the race unknowingly. Stalling after a windward mark rounding in Race 2, a collision which was audible to shore spectators saw the early retirement of Michel Pelegrin and Erwan Gouriou from the remainder of the competition due to substantial damage to the rear of FF3932. The Regatta 3-course dinner took place on the Friday evening in the restaurant of the historic Yacht Club de Dinard with its splendid vista of the bay and St Malo’s fortified town.
Saturday’s threatened 30-45 mph winds moderated to a more manageable 15-20mph average. The RO set ‘banane’ (windward-leeward) courses with the fleet beating at 210 degrees towards the shore, all crews seeking the best pressure across the course. Positions, and fortunes, changed on each leg of these short races. Overnight results on day 2 after one discard left Cavalier Snr and Jnr (FRA3958) on equal points with Nick Heath and Pip Noon (GBR3692), Bertrand Samaille and Tristan Debry (FRA3923) in third place with Bernard Demartial and Emilien Chastre (FRA3852) in fourth place. Sunday morning’s races were held under black flag with a lighter, southerly breeze and sunshine. The tide was incoming and support vessels towed sluggish boats out to the starting area. The starboard side of the course was favoured generally with stronger pressure. Constant Snr (FRA3585) took opportunity to lead the fleet in Race 7, exploiting the optimal route up the beats and defending his runs to the leeward marks successfully. The penultimate race saw the unfortunate retirement of Fabien Constant and Alexia de Maulde (FF3691) when the centre console parted from the hull shortly after the start. Bernard Demartial in FRA3852 was close to the leaders throughout and battled valiantly, but he could not break through the leaders and had to settle for third place overall. Bertrand Samaille and Tristan Debry could not find their form of the previous two days and slipped down the results table on the third day.
The prizegiving took place in the Yacht Club de Dinard. The hosts provided Club punch and a light buffet. All entrants were awarded a Club cap. Quality wine was aplenty amongst the prizes. Dinard never disappoints with its charm, relaxing atmosphere and gastronomic choices. Shoreside, one can enjoy ice creams beside the beach, the coastal walk to St Enogat and beyond, the Corsaire ferry to and from St Malo, rambles along the River Rance from the barrage and a green cycle route along a disused railway line to Dinan.
Give this regatta your strong consideration in 2016 and lend support to the hospitable, competitive FF fleet at Dinard.
Final results after 2 discards:
- 1 GBR3692 Nick Heath & Pip Noon (10 pts)
- 2 FRA3958 Gilles & Jacques Chevalier (12 pts)
- 3 FRA3852 Bernard Demartial & Emilien Chastre (16 pts)
- 4 FRA3923 Bertrand Semaille & Tristan Debry (19 pts)
- 5 FRA3961 Fabien Constant & Alexia de Maulde (24 pts)
- 6 FRA3585 Patrick Constant & Adrian Boivin (34 pts)
- 7 FRA3976 Jean-Yves Renault (35 pts)
- 8 FRA3799 Jean-Francois Poirier & Oliver Resmond (36 pts)
- 9 FRA358 Olivier Fouilland & Charles Hubert de France (46 pts)
- 10 BEL3742 Alain Kinard (56 pts)
- 11 FRA3363 Genevieve du de France & Pauline Lesneley (57 pts)
- 12 FRA3932 Michel Pelegrin & Erwan Gouriou (68 pts)