Raid des Corsaires 2011, France, September 3-4

Although we didn’t race this one ourselves, we think this is a great race, put it on your list! The organization is wonderful and the scenery magnificent. It was a tough job with the wind changing direction all the time and a heavy current, but I think everybody looks back at a great event.

We let a French team sail our Falcon: Thierry Wibaux with his wife Christine. We arrived on Friday with beautiful weather (finally some sun in Europe!) and great ambiance.

On Saturday the start wasn’t until 2 PM because of the high tide (no beach to launch from, until 1PM!). Thierry sailed very well, finishing after Gildas Griziaux on a Viper and behind the 2 F20's and 2 Tornados. For a long time he kept pace with the Tornados making him finish in front on rating I guess. It was a very light wind day and they had to shorten the course. The latest participants arrived after 9 PM! The 2 F20's had a huge lead on all the other boats in these light winds, it was amazing. We followed the race and this was a race in itself :-)

We took the car and drove from waypoint to waypoint checking the race from on top of the rocks or on the beach, a great day for us with great views of this big catamaran race. Lots of spectators followed this race too, it's truly a legend in the St Malo area.

We ended the day with a great Paella diner and some fun lottery with very cool prizes. They do a great job with many voluntary staff. The diner (with nice free red and rosé wine :-)) was held in a large venue. To clean up the tables and chairs after diner they found a great incentive. They first showed a 7 minutes movie about day 1 at Raid des Corsaires and then after this movie they told all the participants they wanted the venue emptied in less then 7 minutes so everybody had to help. They showed the movie again and indeed once the movie was over the venue was all cleaned up thanks to the effort of all 130 teams! Nice work and they create a very friendly atmosphere like this.

On Sunday it was blowing in the morning so racing was postponed. Thierry didn't start the first race as it was only the 5th hour on the boat and it was very windy just before the start. The second race of that day and the last one of the weekend we watched him from ashore and he had a great start, but then suddenly we saw him coming to a stop?! Some bad luck because his adjustable trapeze came loose, ouch :-).

Eventually he was well in front of all the 16's, gaining a lot on the downwind run he said. Before the finish the wind dropped (and changed directions too, a very tough day of sailing wind wise again) and everyone came together again, so I'm not sure what the final results are (no official results yet). The F18's started 5 minutes after the C1 start and Misha Heemskerk took a huge lead on the downwind, even finishing in front of the F20! Everybody came back around 5 PM and an hour later we watched the price giving.

The best 3 teams of each class (C1, F18 and C3) got a nice Sword as a price, very cool! Micha Heemskerk won the F18 and the F20 (Francis Ferrari) won the C1.

At 7PM we drove back home, tired but very happy after a great weekend at St-Malo!

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