A high-speed start to the final leg of the Volvo round the world race saw the previous overall leader from Spain, Telefónica, lead the charge out of Lorient on what could prove to be a 550-mile sprint to Galway.
The home town French team on Groupama was last out of the blocks, having won the inshore race on Saturday, but was soon up to fourth, which is all skipper Franck Cammas needs to secure the 2011-12 race win no matter what happens in the inshore finale off Galway.
The Gold Roman Bowl overall winner of the Round the Island (of Wight) race was Tony Langley in a TP52.
In Newport, Rhode Island, Oracle’s America’s Cup defence skipper James Spithill was duly crowned winner of the 2011-12 world series, staged in 45-foot versions of the winged catamaran boats which, in full 72-foot Cup mode, will contest the San Francisco-based team’s first full defence in September next year.
Three teams are so far sure of challenging, Sweden’s Artemis, Team New Zealand, and Italy’s Luna Rossa. Team Korea has been announced as the fourth challenger to pay the $200,000 entry fee and is said to be starting work on a wing in New Zealand. But it has still to put a full financial package together to be sure of being ready to start, on July 4 next year, the Louis Vuitton Cup challenger elimination series.
The French Energy team, headed by the Peyron brothers Bruno and Loick, are cautious about their ability to make the 1 August deadline to make an official entry and the China Team has already announced that it will concentrate, in the near future at least, on the proposed Youth America’s Cup, which will be run additionally to the challenger series in San Francisco.
The five 70-foot one design trimarans (MOD70) start a feeder race from Newport to New York on Monday evening ahead of the opening big race, the Krys transatlantic challenge, from New York to Brest, Brittany, starting on Saturday.