Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Team Russia GPEN SB3 Eurocup champions, GBR third.

Olympic silver medalist Rodion Luka skippered the newly formed team – along with crew Oleg Zherebtsov, founder and backer of the Team Russia Volvo Ocean Race squad, Maria Rudskaya and Alexander Lebedev – to win 5 of the 11 races, discarding two 5th places to count no result worse than a 3rd.

After an evening enjoying the hospitality of Morgat, with free meals and drinks provided for competitors, the 20-strong Laser SB3 fleet took to the water for an early start this morning in overcast conditions and a 10-15 knot westerly. TEAM RUSSIA went into the final day with a six-point advantage on nearest rivals DIRECT SAILING (Thomas Rouxel, FRA), and opened with another win, overhauling early leaders ROLA-TRAC (Peter Saxton, GBR), who finished second.

Race 10 of the series also saw DOOLALLI (Colin Simonds, GBR) and RIGGING GURUS (Mark Richards, GBR) pushing hard as both were in contention for the final podium place. DOOLALLI came out better in Race 10, finishing 3rd ahead of RIGGING GURUS in 5th – this put RIGGING GURUS just two points ahead of DOOLALLI overall, leaving 3rd still to play for going into the final race.

In the final Race 11 the sole Irish contenders SERIOUSLY BONKERS (Martin Ceppage) enjoyed an early lead, with the Russian crew taking things easy back in sixth. However, the Bay of Crozon Morgat dealt the fleet another roll of the dice, with boats on the left losing a lot of ground by the time they reconvened at the bottom mark. DIRECT SAILING took the lead, with TEAM RUSSIA back up to 2nd at the finish. British helmswoman Sarah Allan had her best result of the regatta in third with SAILBOAT SPARES.COM

Further back in the fleet RIGGING GURUS were working hard to defend their third overall position against the Simonds brothers on DOOLALLI, starting close to them in an attempt to keep them down the fleet. The tactics paid off and RIGGING GURUS crossed the line 9th, two places ahead of DOOLALLI, to take the final podium position in the GPEN Laser SB3 Eurocup.

After four days of superb racing and hospitality, the fleet had an early final prizegiving giving the visiting boats plenty of time to travel home. Next year is the 10th anniversary of the Grand Prix Ecole Navale in Morgat, which takes place from June 2-5, and the SB3 fleet are expected to return for another fantastic event next summer.

The peninsula of Crozon and the Grand Prix Ecole Navale have now welcomed the SB3 class to their high quality racing waters for the past four years. Responding to the competitors’ enthusiasm for the venue, and the tradition of welcoming British visitors to the peninsula as a holiday destination, the Nautical Center of Crozon-Morgat is bidding to organise the 6th edition of the Laser SB3 World Championships in 2013.

QUOTES (GBR unless mentionned)

Rodion Luka (TEAM RUSSIA / RUS):

“I’m very happy. In the last race we could have been 6th, easily - the whole team was more relaxed because we knew we were first overall and could have not raced the last, but just for practice we raced and it was good, we were second by the last downwind mark. Over the week we sailed more or less conservatively, and had good speed so it’s quite easy to be in the top 5. We’re very happy with the whole event, really enjoyed the racing. The race committee did a really good job, and we’ve been very surprised by the help from the people here. When we hit a rock on the first day we got much help taking the boat out so within a couple of hours we had fixed everything, which was just perfect.”

Oleg Zherebtsov (TEAM RUSSIA / RUS):

“I’ve been really surprised by Brittany, it is our first time here. I like the fact that everyone is trying to help, people are constantly providing spare parts and little things to try to keep us in good racing condition. They’ve all worked really hard – it is only the supermarkets that are not open on Sunday here!”

GPEN - Laser SB3 EUROCUP after races 7, 8 and 9 today (7 to count.)
Details of each race HERE / Teams are GBR unless mentionned
1: "Team Russia", Rodion Luka (RUS) 14 points (Races: 1,5,2,1,5,3,2,1,1,1,2,)
2: "Direct Sailing", Thomas Rouxel (FRA) 22 points (Races: 7,3,1,6,1,1,3,2,12,4,1,)
3: "Rigging Gurus", Mark Richards 33 points (Races : 4,2,3,7,4,5,1,6,3,5,9,)

More information on the Grand Prix Ecole Navale (new URL)