30 September 2016
Press Play. Repeat
By winning the penultimate head-to-head for the two J Class yachts racing at Les Voiles de Saint Tropez today Velsheda moved the regatta scoreline to 2-1 and so sets up a repeat of the final day showdown in Porto Cervo.
At the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup it was Lionheart which prevailed in the last race to clinch the series on a countback but today's scenic coastal round the buoys race of two and half hours duration was won conclusively by the Velsheda crew who give themselves a small measure of winning momentum going into the final race of this season.
After one general recall, the result of the positive tidal current sweeping the fleet to the line and pin end bias, Velsheda broke nicely from the windward end of the start line and was able to tack away cleanly and smartly into clear air to rumble up the first two miles beat. Lionheart was compromised by smaller boats underneath them on the line and in the seconds after the gun, unable to really press their bow down and accelerate. As has been the case on each day so far, the leader's course favoured the boat which gained any early advantage. Velsheda were able to extend to win as the breeze built, puffing up to 22kts in the gusts but averaging around 15kts for the day.
"We got away nicely and tacked into a good right hander and that was the early jump. Lionheart were a bit more pinned on the line. They got caught up with the smaller boats and we were away. It was a good race for us. The course was pretty much the same one we do every year but Tom Dodson called us some good laylines, especially at 15 minutes out from the point. But it's nice to win on the best day for breeze so far, especially as it was much less fluky" reported Velsheda's Kiwi trimmer Carston Schon.
"It was a lovely sunny Saint Tropez day. They got the jump on us at the start and that was it. They sailed a little better than us today and deserved to win. But it's all on for tomorrow." Said Lionheart's Scott Zebny,
"We have a really good, healthy rivalry between us. The two groups get on well off the water but when we are racing each other it's a real fight."
Losing Lionheart's Zebny concludes: "Tomorrow's another day."