The 2022 Grand Prix had a few less participants than for the last edition in 2019 which was not surprising after two years of interruption due to the Covid19 pandemic, however over 200 boats and boards took part, spread over the sites of Brest, Lanvéoc, Camaret and Morgat, with nearly 800 competitors in total.
The French Flying Fifteen fleet were joined by competitors from Belgium and the regatta was sailed as the French National Championships. The bay of Morgat was the venue for the Flying Fifteen fleet and was as beautiful as ever and the organisation was impeccable as ever.
Each day on the water offered different conditions, ranging from 8 - 9 knots from the West on Thursday, variations between 6 and 12 knots from the South-West on Friday, and on Saturday a calm in the morning before a nice 15 - 20 knots North-East breeze in the afternoon.
8 races in total were sailed with 7 to count, all raced on a windward/leeward race course of 2 or 3 laps. Starts were shared with the GibSea Plus yachts and interestingly, the leaders of the two fleets raced at more or less the same boat speeds so some of the mark rounding’s were a bit hectic!
Michel Pélegrin and Erwan Gouriou onboard ‘Jamais Deux’ from YC Dinard, dominated the rankings with five first places and three seconds, thanks in particular to their downwind speed in the stronger breezes. Jean-François Poirier and François Chevet from YC Lodet, racing ‘One Under’ kept consistent scores to take second overall and Jean-Yves Renault with Yves Defrance, also from YC Dinard, completed the podium sailing ‘Prothis’
The Belgian sailors took a while to get used to sailing on the sea again, being more used to lake sailing but nevertheless, showed excellent tactical skills. Top Belgian crew were Michel and Kevin Vincent sailing ‘Farfelu’ who counted two seconds, two thirds and three fourths, missing out on the overall podium by just one point.
Second Belgian crew were Veronique Hachez and Charles Mabrouk sailing ‘No Ffrills’ and third Belgians, Alain Kinard and Michel Genart sailing ‘Thank God Its Ffriday’.
Accommodation is no longer provided by the organisation, but breakfasts and dinners were, which reinforces the very special conviviality of the event. Only the Ecole Navale can organise a prize-giving ceremony in such a grandiose setting and serve a closing dinner to 1000 people seated in one huge room!
We're all looking forward to seeing each other at the same place next year, and in two years' time for the Flying Fifteen European Championships.
Regatta report by Michel Pélegrin
Photo credits as per each photo or if unmarked (c\GPEN