A weekend that marks the culmination of two great races for Stand As One. Last Thursday, Eric Bellion, alongside all C1SH team and Thierry Willieme, took the start of the Artemis Challenge, a race with a big heart, whose profits were donated to charity. This Sunday it was the Rolex Fastnet that the duo Eric Bellion and Anthony Marchand attacked. A great challenge for C1SH which sailed side by side with some of the top sailors in the world. A first learning curve for Eric ...

Despite the very wet weather, the wind, and the strength of competition, the smiles did not fail to appear at the departure of the Artemis Challenge.

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The first part of the race was not easy to manage. It started at 10:00 in heavy rain and east / northeasterly winds of 13/14 knots with a strong downdraft pushing the boats to the starting line.

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Difficult conditions that rendered the departure of IMOCA particularly interesting. A beautiful tactical and strategic game had to be conducted in the Solent. Competitors had indeed to perform many gybes to overcome the turning winds. On Stand As One, it was Gaël who managed the strategy.

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PRB and Quéguiner Group took the lead, followed closely- thanks to its effective tacking -by SMA, skippered by Paul Meilhat and Michel Desjoyeaux.

Perfectly in the game until the Needles, Stand As One fell behind because of a technical problem during the affalage of the spinnaker. Thanks to a very good speed close reach, they were able to catch up with some of the leaders on the descent of the west coast of the Isle of Wight. After St. Catherine southern tip of the island, the course offered no other option than a tight upwind which made it difficult to return under these conditions. The wind had weakened sharply towards the end which did not help the work of our sailors who nevertheless arrived, happy and full of wisdom, but last in the race.

No rest for the wicked! Just two days later, Eric and Anthony took to the sea for the Rolex Fastnet Race alongside eight other IMOCA.

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The Fastnet Race, or rather the "Slownet Race" as we called it at Stand as One! A departure marked by little wind and a sea of oil. Difficult navigation conditions for the 600 miles of the offshore race up to the Fastnet lighthouse in the Irish Sea.
Stand as One made a good start, a crucial moment to truly affirm the capacity of the boat in these taxing conditions.

You can watch the start here : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JJX7mKgno5A

The situation got a bit tricky in the approach of the Scilly. The wind, oriented West, favoured the first boats of the fleet while those who were a little behind ended up in a weak and disturbed flow.
To skip east of the exclusion zone didn’t prove to be a paying option for the IMOCA that got stuck in a soft area that they struggled to extricate themselves from. Eric and Anthony hesitated to take the southern option of the exclusion zone, which was a real gamble, but they preferred to stay in contact to compete against other IMOCA which was the real purpose of this Fastnet.

The passage of the mythical Fastnet happened overnight under a wind that finally got up while passing the rock.
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On the way back, with a sustained wind of 18 to 22 knots, Eric and Anthony where a little more happy with themselves. Back in Plymouth on the same day, they demonstrated a good speed potential and returned only a short distance behind the leaders of the race, PRB with Vincent Riou and Sébastien Col and Quéguiner with Yann Elies and Charlie Dalin.

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The sporting result was not the main purpose of this participation, but both races were used to test the capabilities of the boat in various conditions and compare it with the best boats.

Richer due to this this experience, Eric and the team will be now taking a few days of well-deserved rest. The next race, the Azimut Challenge is to be held late September.

In the meantime, find Stand as One on social networks!

Classification of the Artemis Challenge, IMOCA class:

1 / PRB: Vincent Riou
2 / Quéguiner Group: Yann Elies
3 / WFS: Paul Meilhat
4 / Hugo Boss: A. Thomson
5 / Banque Populaire: A. Cléac'h
6 / Safran Mr Lagravière
7 / Kilcullen Travel: E. O'Coineen
8 / Initiatives Heart: T. Lamotte
9 / Artemis Ocean Racing II: S. Clay
7 / As one Man: Eric Bellion

Classification of the Rolex Fastnet Race IMOCA category:

1 / PRB Vincent Riou and Sébastien Col
2 / Quéguiner- Leukemia Hope: Yann Elies and Charlie Dalin
3 / Safran: Morgan Lagravière and Nicolas Lunven
4 / The Northern Breath: Thomas Ruyant and Adrien Hardy
5 / Initiatives-heart: Tanguy de Lamotte and Samantha Davies
6 / Banque Populaire: Armel and Erwan Tabarly the Cléac'h
7 / As one Man: Bellion Eric and Anthony Marchand

Not rated :
- ADM: Paul Meilhat and Michel Desjoyeaux