Gilles Chiorri, race director of the Pro Sailing Tour had predicted it: the episode 3 in Las Palmas was going to be the hardest of the season… And it was! The tough weather conditions made things difficult for the Ocean Fifty fleet. After a great win in the 24-hour challenge, the Leyton crew won 2 of the 8 races and finished 1st in Las Palmas, still leading the general ranking.
Sam Goodchild, Aymeric Chappellier and François Morvan were at the start of the 24-hour challenge on Thursday. This opening race took the fleet around the island of Gran Canaria before heading to the neighboring island, Fuertaventura. The Leyton crew sailed around the two islands in a little over 20 hours, arriving in first place at sunrise on Friday morning. Seven multihulls were on the start line but only five finished the 24-hour challenge! The rough weather conditions and some damages forced two crews to retire from the race.
Leyton and Arkema 4 were once again head to head and managed to distance the rest of the fleet by quite a few miles. “It was an amazing experience! We had very changing conditions which was a little nerve-racking. On the other side of the Gran Canaria Island we had 35 knots for a good 20 minutes and then nothing! It was very intense, thankfully the boat was very well prepared and we didn’t have any technical issues. The Ocean Fifty are boats that can quickly become dangerous and we always have to stay vigilant. We have to find the right balance between performance and security, and learn to always manage our priorities.” explains Sam.
Saturday, the complete crew ( joined by Elodie-Jane Mettraux and Jackson Bouttell) was present for an intense day of sailing. The Ocean Fifty fleet ran four races in capricious winds, resulting in really tight offshore regattas that saw extremely close contact racing. The day started with a coastal race that took the Ocean Fifty just in front of Las Canteras beach, to the delight of the public, and was followed by three short and technical races. The Leyton crew won one of those four races and kept their overall lead. Following a minor incident with another boat before the start of the last race, the technical team had to work hard to ensure that the trimaran was ready for the last day of racing on Sunday.
“ It was a difficult day, the conditions weren’t easy, the wind was light and unstable and the decisions weren’t easy to make. We made a few mistakes that cost us some points but we know where we can get better, and that’s what matters. Overall, we’ve sailed well and we are still ahead!” said Sam after the first day.
Sunday the conditions allowed for another four races, in stronger winds than the previous day. Sam and his crew won one of those four races. The short and fast races resulted in some very close racing within the fleet. Winner of the 3rd episode, with a two-point lead on Arkema 4, the Leyton Ocean Fifty stays at the top of the overall ranking. By winning in Las Palmas, Sam Goodchild and his crew prove that they know their trimaran well and they are now eager for the grand finale of the 2021 season that will take place early August between Toulon and Brest.
Sam Goodchild, skipper of the Leyton Ocean Fifty
“We’ve been sailing on this boat for only 6 months. We’re constantly learning and even more in difficult conditions like these. Each episode has been different and the fleet is improving quickly but our crew managed to adapt and we’ve sailed really well. It’s a great victory because it was harder than the other ones, the competition was really tight, but we’re a few points ahead before the Grand Finale!”
Elodie-Jane Mettraux, number 1
“I’ve learned so many things, it’s an extremely rich experience to understand how an Ocean Fifty works. The crew is great, I feel very lucky to be here. I’m really excited to get the boat to the Mediterranean, it will be a new sailing experience with new things to learn. Thank you to Leyton for giving female sailors such an opportunity.”
Caroline Villecroze, Marketing, Communication and CSR director of the Leyton Group:
“Sam surrounded himself with an extremely strong and united team. And here in Las Palmas, the crew has once again proven how committed they were. Some Leyton collaborators from Poland and Italy were present and had the amazing opportunity to sail with the winning team! They will go home with so many great memories! We’ve had a great time following the team these past four days and we are delighted to share this victory with all our collaborators.”