After another commanding performance in last year's Rolex Fastnet Race, France is lining up to claim further silverware from the Royal Ocean Racing Club's trophy cabinet - this time the Brewin Dolphin Commodores' Cup. A win for France would mark the tenth anniversary of their last victory in the RORC's biennial event for three boat teams with Corinthian crews, that this year takes place over 23-30th July. Although Ireland won it last in 2014 there will unfortunately be no Irish defence on the Solent.
According to Jean-Philippe Cau, President of the Union Nationale de la Course au Large (UNCL), which was tasked with selecting the France teams, initially they had around 15 interested parties wishing to compete and intended to have four teams. However he notes "in fact two French boats have joined other teams." Philippe Bourgeois' Dunkerque - Les Dunes de Flandre is part of Flanders North Sea, and another has joined a team yet to be announced.
So this year France is fielding three teams:
- Teasing Machine - A13 (1.175) - Eric De Turckheim/Laurent Pages
- GOA - Ker 39 (1.117) - Gilles & Samuel Prietz/Samuel Prietz
- Cifraline - Sunfast 3200 (1.000) - Daniel Andrieu
- Lann Ael 2 - JND 39 (1.118) - Didier Gaudoux
- Pen Koent - First 40.7 (1.046) - Emmanuel Le Men
- Foggy Dew - JPK 1010 (1.002) - Noel Racine
- Stamina - JND 39 (1.129) - Andrew Hurst/Joe Lacey
- Timeline - JPK 1080 (1.047) - Marc Alpérovitch
- Realax - A35 (1.027) - Jean-Yves Le Goff/ Alexandre Korniloff
All three are strong, bristling with talent, but France Blue stands out.
At present Eric De Turckheim's powerful A13 Teasing Machine (just finished the Round Ireland Race this morning) is one of the world's most well-travelled race boats. In December she was winning the Rolex Sydney Hobart until she ran into a hole off Tasmania dropping her to seventh overall, but still finished first in IRC 3. After some hurried shipping, she raced the RORC Caribbean 600 finishing third overall on corrected. Her action-packed schedule currently sees her competing in the Volvo Round Ireland Yacht Race.
Two years ago when Teasing Machine was new, she put in a mixed performance at the Brewin Dolphin Commodores' Cup, winning the offshore race and an inshore race, but also suffering some deep results. This year we can expect no such inconsistency.
Gilles and Samuel Prietz's Ker 39, GOA racing in the 2014 Brewin Dolphin Commodores' Cup
© Rick Tomlinson
In France Blue, Teasing Machine will be racing alongside Gilles & Samuel Prietz's GOA. This will be the Prietz's fourth Brewin Dolphin Commodores' Cup, following 2008, 2010 and 2014 when they achieved the third best individual boat score. Since then, they have traded their trusty A40 for a more Anglo-Saxon Ker 39. In this, they have enjoyed even more success, winning IRC 1 in last year's Rolex Fastnet Race, ahead of Teasing Machine.
Completing the France Blue trio is eminent French yacht and America's Cup designer Daniel Andrieu, campaigning a masterpiece from his own drawing board - a Jeanneau Sun Fast 3200. Andrieu's Cifraline had much work carried out on her over the winter, including a mast and keel change. This seems to have worked: At Spi Ouest-France this Easter, her 1-1-2-2 scoreline blew the socks off the competition in IRC 3, ahead of a normally dominant flotilla of JPK 1010s.
As Cau observes: "Daniel has done a lot of work to optimise his boat and his results are very, very consistent. Now they are at the level of the best JPK 1010s or even better..."
|Didier Gaudoux's JND 39, Lann Ael 2 © SNT (Société Nautique de La Trinité)|
'Big boats' in both France White and France Red are new JND39s, a Joubert-Nivelt design, featuring a powerful hull and substantial chine. Didier Gaudoux, owner of Lann Ael 2 in France White, previously campaigned a JPK 110 in which he won his class in last year's ArMen Race, one of France's leading offshores. Meanwhile leading the charge in France Red will be Stamina, campaigned by 'well-known Frenchman' and Editor of Seahorse magazine, Andrew Hurst. The new Stamina is owned by RORC Committee member Michel Péretié, replacing his previous A40. Péretié is campaigning her in the RORC offshores this season, while Hurst has her for the Brewin Dolphin Commodores' Cup and IRC Nationals. Hurst is a previous winner of the Commodores' Cup, with Germany in 1998.
Emmanuel Le Men's First 40.7 Pen Koent in the 2014 Brewin Dolphin Commodores' Cup
© Rick Tomlinson/
Racing alongside Lann Ael 2 in France White is another repeat Brewin Dolphin Commodores' Cup competitor in Emmanuel Le Men's First 40.7 Pen Koent - part of the France Red team that finished second two years ago.
Then there is the familiar JPK 1010, Foggy Dew, of Noel Racine, which finished third overall in the RORC's Season Points Championship both last year and in 2014 and was second overall in the 2013 Rolex Fastnet Race.
|Noel Racine's JPK 1010, Foggy Dew racing in the Cervantes Trophy Race © Hamo Thornycroft|
Marc Alpérovitch will be campaigning his new boat, Timeline, a JPK 10.80 for France Red
© Madeleine Sassy
France Blue: Consistent results for Daniel Andrieu's Sunfast 3200, Cifraline ©