Published on November 15th, 2012 | by Peter Svensson0
Race Report from Breizh Ocean Racing
Philippe Blanquet reporting from the Breizh Ocean Racing in France last month.
BREIZH OCEAN RACING – 19, 20 21th October 2012
After launching the first edition of Breizh Ocean Racing in November 2010, the Departmental Committee Canoeing of Morbihan (CDCK56) held the third edition of the race on the 19, 20 and 21 October this year. This year was the Breizh Ocean Racing also a part of the “World Series 2012”.
Nearly 70 competitors, representing the highest level of European and World paddlers, gathered at the National School of Sailing and Water Sports (ENVSN) in Saint-Pierre Quiberon, a partner to CDCK56. The ENVSN once again helped the race organization with technical solutions and logistics.
Paddlers from 10 nations and 3 continents: Netherlands, Denmark, Belgium, Holland, Great Britain, Spain, Portugal, South Africa, Australia and of course France (including a representative of Guadeloupe) came to the opening prologue on the Friday. The prologue was a 6 km “warm up” race in the water outside the ENVSN prior the main event, which should be a race between 15 to 20 km. Starting time and route was to be determined at a late stage, depending on weather conditions to promote “downwind”. Among the race favorites, Jasper Mocke, South Africa currently ranked second in the “World Series” came for his first visit in France.
The weather reports were very uncertain early in the week. The forecasts stabilized from Wednesday, predicting a Friday and Saturday with very calm conditions before a more favorable weather window for Sunday morning, with the return of some wind from northeast.
The prologue took place under very calm conditions on Friday afternoon. During the prologue the tendencies in the hierarchy for the main race was set. Walter Bouzan from Spain reached the first place just in front of Jasper Mocke, who obviously already was very comfortable by the effort. We noted a strong performance from the French paddler Benoit Le Roux, who has been French Champion several times, with his third place.
When weather conditions finally stabilized and specialists of the ENVSN confirmed the forecast, the racing committee decided for a course on Sunday morning in Quiberon Bay with the start in Locmariaquer and finish at the beach next to the ENVSN. With the start planned to 10 am, to meet the best downwind conditions, from a different location the organization became crucial. The organization was put to test in bringing all safety vessels (13 support boats), transport the entire organization and competitors before sunrise from ENVSN to the start. All things ran smoothly and just in time allowing a dramatic start from the “Pointe de Kerpenhir” at 10 o’clock.
The race started in a very rapid pace, the favorites immediately took the lead and kept the speed up, increasing the lead even more. One great innovation from the event was that all competitors were equipped with a GPS to track their progress in real time. The race organizer as well as spectators staying on the beach and fans all over the world could follow the race live via the Internet.
Even if sea conditions was too lenient to be a proper downwind race, the competitors still enjoyed the race and the route which allowed them to take benefit from the best window available during the weekend.
Upon arrival at the beach ENVSN, logic was met with a clear victory from Jasper Mocke, who covered the 17 km in 1:11, followed by Walter Bouzan from Spain and Dane Sloss from Australia. The first French paddler, once again, was Benoit Le Roux, who finished in a very respectable 5th place.
All smiles displayed by the competitors upon leaving say a lot about how satisfied they were with the weekend. The organizers and the volunteers received warm compliments from Jasper Mocke, who is used to international races. During the award ceremony he emphasized the quality of the race and committed to return at the next edition of Breizh Ocean Raing, in 2014.