The Runs For Fun Make A Great Show

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After a day marked by heavy downpours and rumbles of thunder, the sun returned on cue for yesterday evening’s exhibition runs, a 1.21 miles timed sprint. Best time for the sprint means best speed. It’s a simple concept which produces a great, fun exhibition for spectators, allows teams and skippers to take valued VIP guests afloat.

The day had been all but windless but in fact the breeze complied, filling in across the bay of Les Sables d’Olonne to just allow the foilers to fly. The skippers were allocated take off spots a minute apart by ground control (race direction) and inevitably there was a certain element of luck or good fortune if a gust blew across the track at the right time or, on the contrary, a lull spread down the course. Each sequence was short and intense between three and five minutes of racing in a straight line, a momentary snapshot for guests of what it is like to race fast on a powered up IMOCA.

And of course, even if it’s a fun exhibition event, but set a start line and a finish line and run a clock and it becomes an intense contest with bragging rights at stake. It was Charlie Dalin (Apivia) 23kts who got the better of Jérémie Beyou (Charal) 20kts and Damien Seguin (whose Groupe Apicil won the last Vendée Globe as Yannick Bestaven’s Maître CoQ) 17.9kts.

“We cannot compare runs with what is ahead of us”, smiled winner of the day Dalin back on the Vendée Globe pontoon in Port Olona. “The objective of the day was to put on a good show and give our guests something to enjoy. These are good numbers by all the competitors given the wind conditions.”

 "I'm very happy," enthused Damien Seguin. “We were lucky to get in some great runs with sun and a bit of wind. We push the boats. I am getting quite confident with the boat which I am starting to know well. Even with these small foils we manage to get up and going and the guests were super happy.”

Romain Attanasio (Pure – Best Western)  had a good time too: “It was better at the end when the wind picked up. It was great, the sea was flat, the wind was at the lower limit of what we need to fly, and that happened. Our two guests on board were very happy.”

“ They were a bit upset we did not serve them drinks on board but they got Best Western points on their cards.” He joked  

Koji Shiraishi Japanese skipper of DMG GLOBAL ONE, enjoyed the exhibition runs although was mildly disappointed not to have been blessed with the best gusts of wind for his sprints. But the Japanese skipper was pleased to have Eric Gouinguenet, President of DMG MORI France on board the black and white IMOCA.
“The format of these runs are fantastic. It's a great way to show everyone how great our boats are.The guests were very happy to be on board with us and had a good time. I'm a little disappointed with the results because we couldn't get a good wind at the right time but it was a beautiful day to get out and sail.”