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knots and most racing was in 12 knots – that’s the crossover where heavier boats start doing better.”


Henning said the series was well-run both on the water and ashore, where the boats were berthed in Marseille’s fantastic Vieux Port. Each of the three host clubs took turns to entertain the crews at social functions. “It was really friendly – we were welcomed so well by the French and by the Race Committee and the competitors. But by the end they were joking that they didn’t want us back!”


All four classes mentioned had runaway leaders, none more so than Expresso 2 which won IRC 4 on seven points followed by the Forestier family’s Elan 333 GTE Fioupelan in 2nd on 28, tied on points with Italian Paolo Colangelo’s X-332 Old Fox. This was not the case in IRC Zero, where six of the seven competitors each won a race (despite there being only eight races in total) and the top three ultimately finished within four points of each other.


Tchin Tchin, A-35. Photo: Pierick Jeannoutot/www.pierik.fr


In IRC 3, competing on the Rade Sud, by coincidence all top three boats were Farr 36s, with Alice carrying the highest rating. Alice and Philippe Frantz’s 2nd-placed Absolutely, recent winner of the inshore racing at the Rolex Giraglia Cup, were both optimised for IRC by designer Mark Mills. Along with the 3rd placed Weekend Millionaire, they all overcame the class favourite, Gilles Pages’s Sun Fast 3600 Tip, at that time leader of the UNCL’s 2017 Mediterranean IRC Championship (eventually won by Hokua, a Sun Fast 3200).


“It was good to see all the Farr 36s going so well,” Mike Henning enthused. “I think we raised each other’s game – we were neck and neck and we extended on the fleet. Below 10 knots they are extremely competitive, but we saw 22


IRC European Champions, Expresso 2


Although all the TP52s were languishing after the first two light days, ultimately local favourite Team Vision Future, Dr Jean-Jacques Chaubard’s TP52, came out on top. This continued the team’s impressive winning streak, which included the Massilia Cup, SNIM and Semaine de Porquerolles, with America’s Cup and Figaro sailor Mikael Mergui at the helm. However, just a point behind Chaubard’s winning boat was boss of the software multinational SAP and yacht


IRC 4 Class start. Photo: Pierick Jeannoutot/www.pierik.fr 22 ||||||||| | ||||||||| | ||||||||| | ||||||||| | ||||||||| | ||||||||| | ||||||||| | ||||||||| | ||||||||| | ||||||||| |


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