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Gran Canaria delivers fantastic stage for Ocean Fifty trimarans

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Gran Canaria delivers fantastic stage for Ocean Fifty trimarans on the Pro Sailing Tour
Gran Canaria delivers fantastic stage for Ocean Fifty trimarans on the Pro Sailing Tour

The third stage of the Pro Sailing Tour concluded today in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria. The seven strong fleet of Ocean Fifty trimarans revelled in excellent racing conditions over the competition with new records in front of the natural sailing stadium offered by the Las Canteras beach. Overall victory goes to Leyton skippered by Sam Goodchild with local Olympic champion Luis Doreste guest sailing on board.


The four days of competition ended today for the offshore Ocean Fifty fleet with ideal conditions on the final 20-mile coastal race in the Las Palmas de Gran Canaria stage of the Pro Sailing Tour.  The coastal race from San Cristóbal and on around La Isleta towards the beach of Las Canteras was followed by two races in front of the Barra de la Barra of the popular Canary Island beach and a final course back to San Cristóbal, which nearly provided a dramatic reshuffle to the overall standings.

Arkema 4 was the best of the day. The boat skippered by Quentin Vlamynck won three of the four races sailed and seriously contended Leyton’s lead, who would see their points cushion diminish on the weekend races. Sam Goodchild's boat had an irregular day (2nd/4th/1st/6th) but in the end it was enough to win his third consecutive title following Brest and La Rochelle. He was joined on the podium in Gran Canaria by Arkema 4 (two points behind the champion) and Erwan Le Roux's Ciela Village. The final awards ceremony was held at FIMAR, the International Maritime Fair who shared venues this weekend with the Pro Sailing Tour at the Muelle Deportivo de Las Palmas de Gran Canaria.

Manrique "beats" Doreste
The Canarian Olympic champions Luis Doreste and Domingo Manrique sailed as guests on board Leyton and Arkema 4. Partners on board the Flying Dutchman with which they won the gold medal for Spain in Barcelona 1992, this time they lived the intense battle for the victory from rival boats. The Arkema 4, in which Manrique sailed, won the first race of the day ahead of Doreste's Leyton, which was 37 seconds ahead after an hour and a half of racing. Both enjoyed the adrenaline fuelled sailing on board the Ocean Fifty, which in the case of Manrique meant sailing at the highest speed of his sporting career, as he declared at the end of the day.

Summary of an exceptional event
Episode 3 of the Pro Sailing Tour concluded following four days of competition and a full program consisting of eight coastal races and a 24-Hour Challenge in which the Arkema 4 set a new record for the round Gran Canaria: eight hours and four minutes. Five of the seven teams achieved partial victories at some point during the event, showing an equality that had not been seen in the previous events of the season, and only two points separated the top two finishers (compared to 12 in La Rochelle and 14 in Brest).

Next event, Toulon-Brest
The Pro Sailing Tour 2021 will be decided in the final stage race linking the French towns of Toulon and Brest. An ocean course of 1,650 nautical miles between the Mediterranean and Atlantic coasts of France. Sam Goodchild's Leyton leads the provisional ranking after three events, three 24-Hour Challenges and 21 coastal races raced.

The third stage of the Pro Sailing Tour has been supported by the City Council of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, the Cabildo de Gran Canaria and the Port of Las Palmas.

Quotes of the day:

Sam Goodchild, skipper of Leyton, winner of Stage 3 of the Pro Sailing Tour:
"It's nice to win when the racing is tighter. Our small lead point is perhaps keeping things simple, although this weekend it wasn't easy with lots of manoeuvres and decisions to take the right options and all in a venue, we are not very familiar with. We were really surprised by the sea state. I think that we have formed a strong core team between Aymeric, François and myself, since the start of the circuit and it has allowed us to work well together, but here, in the Canaries, we have seen that we must not slow down, as the others are progressing very fast. Today we were a bit scared when Arkema 4 came back to within three points. Fortunately, winning the third leg of the day saved us."

Gilles Chiorri, regatta director of the Pro Sailing Tour:
"The event has proved just what an excellent choice it was to come to Gran Canaria. A good place to sail, both for wind conditions and sea conditions. The 24-Hour Challenge was a success: it was fast, and we got very good images, which is important for the Pro Sailing Tour concept, as we need good scenery for the documentary series, we are filming. The teams have evolved a lot since the first event of the season, although we still see room for improvement, as there are two or three crews that are still slightly ahead. But we must not forget that the circuit is only part of their preparation, and performance in this format does not only been offshore sailing performance, which is a very important part of the Ocean Fifty program."

Julien Mauriat, Director of the Pro Sailing Tour:
"Las Palmas de Gran Canaria has proven to be an excellent venue for the Pro Sailing Tour. The conditions have been extraordinary, but I would especially like to highlight the enthusiasm, energy and support of the local people, who have made a decisive contribution to the success of the event. On the water, we have been able to witness a magnificent competition; the fact that all the boats completed the round Gran Canaria faster than Arkema's previous record shows their progression and seeing them compete in front of Las Canteras is an image that we will always remember. On land, the support has been excellent from the City Council, the Cabildo, the Port Authority and the Club Marítimo Varadero, where we have felt at home. The personal involvement of Pedro Quevedo and José Eduardo Ramírez has been key, and we hope to have reciprocated the trust placed in us".  

"The teams have not stopped praising the event, both for the sailing conditions and the facilities they have found on land. Everything we have experienced this week of immersion in Gran Canaria reaffirms our commitment to the future with the local authorities and with the island, which we trust will become a fixed venue for the circuit." 

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