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ABC Arbitrage wins the disputed GPA Pro Am Foiler ETF26

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ABC Arbitrage wins the disputed GPA Pro Am Foiler ETF26
ABC Arbitrage wins the disputed GPA Pro Am Foiler ETF26

After dominating the Foiling Week back in July, one could have thought that Billy Besson's firm hold on the ETF SERIES would continue without a blip. But it definitely wasn't smooth sailing for Billy, Matthieu Salomon and Valentin Bellet! Only third after the first day, they gave it their all on Saturday and finished strongly by winning the last 3 races. Those three consecutive wins put them at the top of the overall ranking.

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Three races took place on the Friday morning, which saw three different teams finish first: Youth Foiling Team (Charles Dorange), ABC Arbitrage - Entreprises du Morbihan (Billy Besson) and Cool Runnings Racing Team (Jochem Visser). At the mid-day break forced by the lack of wind, it was Team PRO (Jean-Christophe Mourniac) who was the overall leader thanks to their three straight second-place finishes. As racing resumed, the water became British as Toroa Racing Team deployed its albatross wings. The trio of John Gimson, Anna Burnet (both silver medalists at the last Tokyo Games) and Jason Saunders only left scraps as they won three consecutive races preceded by a second-place finish. Thanks to that performance and with help from ABC Arbitrage - Entreprises du Morbihan's disqualification on race 5, Mark Rijkse's British and Kiwi team was at the top of the overall rankings after Day 1. "John and Anna had never sailed on an ETF26 before last week. We had a pretty big disadvantage in terms of experience compared to the other boats!" says Mark. "We had excellent onboard chemistry. John is always in control and Anna was simply brilliant. She has the level to be on any boat throughout the fleet, and I hope that it will give the other teams some ideas."

The wind took its time before it showed up on Saturday, and the first start was given at 12:35. Same as the previous day, Youth Foiling Team started out strong and won the first two races ahead of Toroa and ABC Arbitrage - Entreprises du Morbihan. But just like the previous day, Charles Dorange and his crew weren't able to capitalize on their good start. So When the wind picked up enough to see the boats fly, Billy Besson and his guys won three straight races to finish Day 2 and take first place. There were also some noticeable battles between Bourgnon's Foily and Cool Runnings Racing Team, as they clawed at each other all day long.

Due to the absence of wind and a persistent fog in the bay of La Baule on Sunday, the decision was made not to go sailing and confirmed ABC Arbitrage - Entreprises du Morbihan's victory. "It was highly competitive and very fun! There was quite the fight between us and Toroa, Youth Foiling Team and Team PRO who was quite often at the very front. It ended very well for us with great results on Saturday which put us ahead" explains Matthieu Salomon. "It was a great event, and we were remarkably hosted by the APCC Voile Sportive yacht club. To manage to have 14 races with the weather that was forecasted was far from a sure thing. So, congratulations to the Race Directors, to the referees and to the volunteers on the water."

Saturday afternoon gave the chance to many sponsors and guests to sail on board the ETF26 for some speed runs under the Pornichet sun! Maxime Grimaud, head of the ETF26 project at Absolute Dreamer: "These runs allow the sponsors and their guests to live a very special experience on the boats. It's quite the thrill. This weekend we had the chance to host sponsors or their representatives, but also friends of the ETF26 Class and even potential investors for some new boats. These moments are key as they allow the Class to get more awareness and they help us build the future."

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