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Nice UltiMed Day 8 - The Race and the night-mare

Inshore Race

1. Actual - Grand Large Emotion with Yves Le Blévec

2. Sodebo Ultim’ with Thomas Coville

3. IDEC Sport with Francis Joyon

The Race

1. Sodebo Ultim’ with Thomas Coville

2. IDEC Sport with Francis Joyon

3. (Retired) Actual - Grand Large Emotion with Yves Le Blévec

Maybe I’m a bit late today with the report and publishing image, but I’m still human and I needed some food and sleep.

Unluckily, as my previous reports, there was no wind, just a simple breeze at patches… even the local small and light catamarans “EasyToFly” by J.P. Dick were flat down too.

The day of the Race started grey and with light drops of drizzle, the airport forecast rain/storm around 13:00UTC The great circus started around mid morning and the peak when the boat started to leave the docks at 08:45UTC with the blue ACTUAL-GRAND LARGE EMOTION with Yves Le Blévec, and following Francis Joyon with his red IDEC SPORT and finally the black star SODEBO steered by Thomas Coville. All of them has a live interview from the host on board just before move away; but I noticed lately, the teams has been visited by Franck Cammas.

Maybe Formula 1 (LibertyMedia)and America’s Cup should come to see how the organisation has made to pump up the departure and the public. Really I’m very impressed by giant system built for the event, and there are 3 boats!!!

It’s time to race.

Well no wind and no foiling again, the only foils had been seen they were the helm fin of Sodebo and IDEC SPORT underwater in the port thanks to the polarizing filter on the lens.

If was a normal race it would be postpone or better AP on N, just 3[kts]. Also the big cruiser ship “The World” has arrived and has been used as extra pin on the start-line, so it has killed all the breeze on the departure and also to prevent crash, the trimarans has decided to start more carefully.

What a Sailing Nightmare. I’m so sorry to say this, but as sailor-photographer-italian/British/Niçoise, this is absolutely the most slow, boring, disorganized departure of a regatta I ever seen; terrible promotion!!!

First on the line, as usual, Yves Le Blévec on time, followed by Francis Joyon, but Sodebo didn’t; ok it’s the “star” ok it’s modern and advanced but by the timecode in exif data of my pictures, Thomas Coville was still circling on the shore 20[min] minutes after the start (the blu boat, by my picture was only 5[sec] behind the start time set at 11:02UTC).

Due to the wind condition, I lost again the approach to Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat because the Race Committee has decided to change route, eliminating that mark and leaving the three boats “fly” straight to Marseille zone.

The first at the 1st mark was still the blue boat, around 11:37UTC, followed not far from the red one, while the black ship at 11:45, after a long south dog-leg from the port, was far approaching the mark at 11:45UTC, to tack before 11:50UTC. Yes the have a fast boat even if not foiling.

Everything was looking done and calm, but at late noon 15:26(UTC), the tracker system was showing that ACTUAL-GRAND LARGE EMOTION was heading back when they were just at St. Tropez. At the beginning, all have thought to a locator error or strange doldrum, but with the time running the track backward was longer and longer. A clear sign of problems.

At 18:30UTC the blue boat still to pass Cap d’Antibes-La Garoupe, so while editing pictures I kept an eye on the map tracker and the other on the huge binocular in front of the windows, to try to see them approach to Baie des Anges.

At 20:00UTC I was on the Pointe de Rauba-Capeu (just over the port before the Promenade) searching for the navigation-lights (thanks to cloud it was already dark-night and no moon) and 2 fast R.I.B. with LandRover flag of the organization were running in the middle of the bay to catch the team.

Around 20:05UTC and 20:15UTC they had the contact.

And 20:20UTC they entered the port to dock at 20:30UTC.

The good no-one has been injured. The Bad is an issue with the hydraulic system.

I’m a bit sad for all Team and also the “big family” of the organization. I also started to watch them more because they were sailing to fight the others two big sisters (watch the departure of the inshore race pictures). It’s a pity.

But to keep positive, now we have big match-race in the stormy Mediterranean Sea, where only the Ultimate sailors can go with the Ultimate huge Trimarans.

At time to close they are passing Oristano bay in Sardegna with wind 325°/24[kts].

The Night is Back!

Tonight I’m earlier… it’s morning.

Keeping in consideration the advanced features of SODEBO, she has recovered the overtake in the “Sardi” Doldrum and continue her march also in the night, crossing the channel in few hours.

As I expected they passed the mark around 01:00 o’clock UTC of May 5th. IDEC Sport has followed soon and maybe has a bit of advantage from some breeze patches and better angle of approach.

Pity the moon couldn’t pass the clouds to illuminate them but the light pollution (that it’s reduced by French law) has made pictures bright.

Now I suppose they routing Marseille zone, because again the Race Committee has deleted the mark near Cap Ferrat (pity, the light from the lighthouse could be very panoramic…) and instead the lighthouse of La Garoupe has given some pearls.

Now it’s time to sleep and wake up for the arrival organized for 12-13:00UTC.

At the end the cross of the line.

The night, as I already reported, has been crazy for Race Officers and Navigators on board, the first to change and build new tracks/mark to guarantee the final arrival for 13:00UTC, for the second to try to follow the new course with the best wind. The crossing line and the Prize Given has been Triumphal as French know how to do.

My final thoughts about all.

The technical part on flying machine is postpone because I never had access to the boats and the possibility to speak about; however it has been interesting to see from the docks and on water the evolution of the engineering work from the “old” ex-Gitana ACTUAL to the new SODEBO passing through IDEC.

The event and the organization have been awesome, maybe a bit more boutiques and memorabilia for fans, one thing is not clear why put the big “cathedral”on the Promenade so far instead to the zone near the departure pin and the port (...ahhh please no more cruiser on the departure line).

On sailing/photography part, I would appreciate more small coastal races during the time before the Big race, up and down from Sanremo to Saint Tropez, the coastal zone has some of the most intriguing backgrounds and races in the world ( Esterel, La Garoupe, La Grande Corniche,  Panerai Classic yacht Challenge, Giraglia and Les Voiles): better photos and better weather (the only day with waves and wind: no race…); all the others races, where these Ultimate machine fly, are legend because are for Sailing and Sailors, not for “be on time for show timetable”.

In conclusion I’m very happy to be here for this unique event, I really hope to be here again next year, and that the Event will become a constant Regatta in the agenda of Sailing, yes the sailing field is difficult, but only the best can win here (Star Class at Christmas Regatta docet: Diego Negri and Roberto Benamati and Xavier Rohart).

So see you next time flying on Foiling.

Thanks a lot for attention! Alex P.


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