The first stage of the Calvados Cup 2022 took place between Douarnenez and Deauville and contained some iconic passages, such as the crossing of the beautiful Douarnenez Bay and of the reputed Chenal du Four with its very strong currents, passing along the British Isles (Guernsey, Aurigny) and finally sailing across the Bay de Seine with its heavy marine traffic, changing currents and fickle winds. This year 48 boats were present at the start, 42 in the Series class and 6 in the Proto class, a figure double than last year, which shows the great interest in the offshore races organised by Classe Mini.
The weather forecast predicted a South-Westerly wind of 20-25 knots generated by a low pressure system localised above Ireland. This implied a very fast downwind race that made feel both excited and concerned, not knowing how I could keep up the pace especially during the night when the wind was supposed to be stronger and the swell more powerful, towering at 2,5-3 meters high.
We started very early. At 6:30 AM we handed-over our cell-phones and in a gentle drizzle, we prepared the sails and waited to be towed out of the marina. Around 7:30 we left the dock, and raised the mainsail in a very feeble breeze that carried us slowly towards the race committee boat. At 9:00 AM sharp the start was given and somehow we managed to be one of the first boats across the line. With great enthusiasm we pushed upwind to the first mark and got there in 5th place. We felt over-confident… and started to make mistakes 🙂 But rather than tell you in writing how the race unfolded for the next 40 hours, I better let you enjoy a short movie that I put together with the short clips that I managed to shoot during the race.
The entire race can be replayed here:
After 40 hours and 21 minutes of exhilarating downwind surfs, innumerable broaches in the middle of the English Channel (during one of them Vincent could inspect our entire keel as it was completely out of the water!), and equally frustrating moments of stillness while being carried backwards by the current, we finished 27th in the race. We always had the feeling that we were among the last boats, especially since we opted for a Western route during the first day, and thus we could not see any other boats for a very long time. But we managed to maintain a respectable place in the fleet, and at the end we were very happy with our result. Even more so because we did not break any gear and we were in good shape for the start of the second race 🙂