The 99 Fountain 1st4boats.com crew of James Sheppard and Craig Wilson took a dominant win in today’s Evolution class Sprint race of the Grand Prix de Marseille, heading home the 88 Kiton Outerlimits OSG Racing boat and the 10 Fantastic 1 Cigarette Racing Team in a dramatic event that had thrills and spills aplenty.
The race got off to a controversial start before the boats even reached the first turn as the 99 Fountain boat and the 69 Honeyparty.com had a close shave that left the 69 Honeyparty.com boat limping back to harbour with severe hull damage. In the ensuing confusion, the majority of boats managed to miss the first buoy, allowing the 99 Fountain boat to make a clean escape before building a 20-second lead.
"It was a fantastic race," Sheppard said. "We never pushed the boat to the maximum. We had a difficult situation at the start with three boats who missed a buoy and were forced to turn around. Conditions were incredibly difficult, but we have a superb crew. Mark Wilson, our team manager, planned an awesome boat."
In today’s SuperSport race, the reigning champion 44 Conam Yachts crew continued their dominance. The Italian-based pairing of Angelo Tedeschi and Aaron Ciantar led home the 59 Saho Offshore Rana’s boat and the 08 Phoenix TV team, with a lead of almost three-minutes at the chequered flag.
The battle for second place was initially an incredibly close-fought scrap between the 47 Silverline Buzzi Bullet and 07 VoomVoom.com crews, but both boats ground to a halt midway through the race with technical problems, severely hampering their bid to stay ahead of the 44 Conam Yachts crew at the top of the points table.
"The water conditions were very bad, but we applied our strategy to make a good start," said Ciantar. "This advantage gave us the possibility to manage our position to the middle of the course. The conditions kept changing with the wind, but it was okay for the victory."