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A Season of Comebacks – Guadeloupe’s Sailboat Championship

The five stages of the Guadeloupe Traditional Sailboat Championship this year saw an increase in participants, with an average of 25 to 30 boats registered, but also an enormous variety of weather conditions, ranging from one extreme to another, most notably during the first two legs at Saintes (Terre de Haut) and Basse-Terre (Vieux-Fort).

Looking back to the start on February 4, a strong wind and choppy sea greeted contestants for the opening leg of the Championship in the magnificent Baie des Saintes. In difficult conditions only 10 out of 25 participants managed to cross the finish line in the allotted time. Two boats were not able to start, six crews had to abandon for mast or boom breakages and seven other boats arrived over the time limit. In such extreme conditions, it was Sonje, belonging to Abel Magloire, which took first place, while the Saints’ duel between Calin du Matin and La Phil’o was disturbed by the comeback of Jean Forbin on L’arme Fatale which finished third.

On the 25th February, unlike the leg to the Saints, the 30 participants battled it out in gusts and squalls on calmer seas. This leg involved a start at Anse Dupuy with buoys to be rounded at Basse Terre then Vieux Fort, before returning to Anse Dupuy. This second final gave rise to some good duels over the next three regattas because the three traditional boats La Phil’o, Sonje and L’arme fatale were once again in the front pack.

This trio didn’t drop out of the leading group during the last three legs which were run: at La Desirade on the 18th March, Saint-Francois on the 15th April and Sainte-Rose on the 20th May, in calmer wind and sea conditions. The leg from La Desirade welcomed a new boat: Bwa Bande (a brand of condom), whose owner Tristan Komorn and sponsor were raising awareness about AIDS. The fourth leg was dominated from start to finish by Patrick Forbin on Y Ja La, followed by Marcellin Wilbon on Café Edouard G1. Jean Forbin on L’arme Fatale took third place as usual.

Finally, for the last leg on the 20th May, and the closure of the 2007 Championship, Cedric Rolin’s Foute Fe was back, backed up by Claude Thelier. He wasn’t troubled by his opponents throughout the race, tailed by Jean Forbin, whose consistency was rewarded in the final standings. Philippe Petit on La Phil’o and Abel Magloire on Sonje finished third and fifth, which allowed them second and third place respectively on the podium.

The aim of these crew then turned to the Round Guadeloupe Race by stages, which, as All at Sea went to print, again promised some good battles on the water between July 13 and 21.

Final Standings over five legs

    1. L’arme Fatale, Jean Forbin.
    2. La Phil’ô, Philippe Petit.
    3. Sonjé !!!, Abel Magloire.
    4. Y Ja La, Patrick Forbin.
    5. Câlin du matin, Alain Dabriou.
    6. Café Edouard G1, Marcellin Wilbon.
    7. Gren Kafé, Mathieu Forbin
    8. El Désirada, Cédric Mirre
    9. Mirre Rive, Stéphane Mirre
    10. L’Esprit, Robert Berdier.

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