The immaculately sailed J Lance 12 has been crowned IRC European champion for 2018. The French J/112e skippered by Didier le Moal seemed never to put a foot wrong in the latter stages of this week-long regatta run from Cowes by the Royal Ocean Racing Club.
“It’s great – I didn’t expect that,” said le Moal of claiming the IRC Europeans title. “First of all we wanted to win our class, but this is fabulous. It concludes the wonderful week we’ve had. If you enjoy racing, we have been in paradise. The weather, sun, light winds, heavy winds, big tides – everything you could expect to enjoy from racing, we’ve had.”
Winning today’s first windward-leeward race, held in 15-20 knot winds, was the French team’s sixth bullet out of ten races. For the final big breeze, double points scoring, round the cans race, the French didn’t have the class win secured, so played it safe. “The wind was increasing a bit so we preferred to sail safely because we had a big lead. We just needed to finish, not last, but fifth or sixth to win,” explained J Lance 12’s navigator and team secret weapon Nicolas Lunven, the reigning Solitaire du Figaro champion.
In addition to Lunven, le Moal and Frederic Bouvier, who are respectively President and Sales Manager of J Composites, European builder of the J/Boats range of yachts, the J Lance 12 crew of Christophe and Cyrille Cremades, Jean Francois Nevo, Jean-Michel Roux and Cyrille Teston are all friends who have sailed with le Moal for years.
“It is our third season on this type of boat, so we know exactly how it works,” continued le Moal. “We had a very, very good navigator – to be fast is one thing, but to be fast on the right side is perfect. ”
J Lance 12 finished first overall on 20.5 points, ahead of the second boat on 50 points.