Mark Lloyd /

Line honours on their first outing

Virbac-Team Concise first home in the Round the Island Race

Saturday June 27th 2015, Author: James Boyd, Location: United Kingdom

While line honours in the JP Morgan Asset Management Round the Island Race traditionally goes to French sailing legends such as Francis Joyon or more recently British aces, such as Ben Ainslie, who in 2013 set the present race record, today it was the turn of an Anglo-French crew on board the MOD 70 trimaran Paprec – Team Concise.

This water borne ‘entente cordiale’ has come about as the blue trimaran, belonging to Vendée Globe skipper and two time Barcelona World Race winner Jean-Pierre Dick, is in the process of being acquired by British champion of shorthanded offshore racing, Tony Lawson. It is to become the flag ship in Lawson’s fleet of Concise racing yachts, that also includes two Class40s. These also competed in today’s 50 miles anticlockwise lap of the Isle of Wight, the radical Concise 8 claiming Class40 honours.

At present the purchase of the MOD70 is in a handover period and so today was being sailed by a mix of leading French and English crew, with Dick and Team Concise’s Team Director Ned Collier Wakefield co-skippers supported by an all-star cast. On the French side this included multihull veteran and match racer Thierry Briend and leading Figaro sailor Fabien Delahaye, while among the Anglo-Saxon contingent were former Vendee Globe skipper Jonny Malbon and ‘the fastest sailor on the water’ Paul Larson, the 35 knot speed the trimaran reached in today’s race relatively pedestrian compared to the 65.45 knots his Vestas SailRocket 2 speedster notched up in 2012.

Having cast off from her berth in Lorient, France at 1000 yesterday, the MOD 70 reached Cowes at 0300 this morning after a delivery trip where her speedo rarely dropped below 25 knots.

“It was great, but I haven’t really stopped,” admitted Ned Collier Wakefield, en route to embarking on some serious post-race celebration in Cowes. “It was the first time as a crew we have sailed on the boat in earnest. We were eating up the miles coming across and the race this morning was pretty wild at the beginning.”

Paprec – Team Concise’s three hulled competition, Lionel Lemonchois’ 80ft trimaran Prince de Bretagne, failed to materialise, but in the race the team faced a real threat from the diminutive GC32 foiling catamarans, that also took today’s second start from the Royal Yacht Squadron line at 0710 BST.

Collier Wakefield has sailed the Island Sailing Club’s annual lap of the Isle of Wight many times before, but never in a large multihull. “A 70ft tri accelerates pretty quickly, and before the start it was quite fruity. We had a few interesting crosses but then we got away, caught up with the first starters - Class 0, the IMOCA 60s and Class40s.”

Paprec – Team Concise rounded the Needles overlapped with Mike Slade’s monohull leader, the 100ft maxi Leopard. “But when we bore away and put the genniker up, we were off,” Collier Wakefield continued. “In fact the GC32s came into us quite hard on that second leg - they got up on their foils and managed to get on to a lower mode. But from St Catherine’s Point to Bembridge it was good for us – a 130° wind angle and it was pretty choppy, so they were struggling to get up on their foils. We were looking back and seeing a lot of luffing and gennikers flapping.”

On the third leg the MOD70 hit 35 knots, once the sea had flattened off approaching Bembridge and even on the final leg back up the Solent to the finish, the mighty Paprec – Team Concise was still making 20 knots upwind in flat water.

Paprec – Team Concise arrived back in Cowes completing the course in a time of 3hrs 30mins 20secs, some way outside of Ben Ainslie’s 2hrs 52mins and 15secs record, but a comfortable 20 minutes ahead of the next competition, the GC32 Sultanate of Oman.

“It is an incredibly impressive bit of kit,” said Collier Wakefield of the latest Concise. “It’s acceleration and performance are something else. We are on a steep learning curve but we are going to approach it quite methodically and make sure we have the right people around us, etc.”

The aim of the latest Team Concise yacht is to raise the profile of Tony Lawson’s campaign that aims to hone elite shorthanded offshore talent. The MOD70 will compete in more events in the UK this summer including the Royal Ocean Racing Club’s Rolex Fastnet Race before racing in the club’s Transatlantic Race in December.

Mike Slade's 100ft Leopard claimed line honours in the monohull fleet, finishing at 1140 BST in a time of 4hrs 40 mins 34 secs which is just under an hour outside their own record.

Latest Comments

Add a comment - Members log in

Latest news!

Back to top
    Back to top