Britain’s Sam Goodchild skippers Leyton to success


The first season of the Pro Sailing Tour ended yesterday evening after a five-and-a-half day sail in the closing offshore leg of the race, the ‘Final Rush’. Having skippered their yacht from Brest to La Rochelle followed by Las Palmas de Grand Canaria, Sam Goodchild and his crew are crowned winners of this series of the Tour, adding yet another accolade to their already impressive tally. They came out on top after finishing the final leg of the race — a 1650-mile-long stretch of water from Toulon to Brest, in which they underwent several re-groupings and a final exhilarating sprint across the Bay of Biscay. In the end, it was Leyton, skippered by Goodchild, which prevailed over Arkema 4. These two crews, who have been consistent front runners in the offshore racing world, rightfully stand side-by-side on the podium at the end of this first season of the Pro Sailing Tour.

The hotly fought after third place went to Ciela Village skippered by Erwan le Roux and his crew, who were also raising awareness for multiple sclerosis. Just 57 seconds stood between their arrival and that of Quentin Vlamynck’s Arkema 4 in Brest. Thibaut Vauchel-Camus and his crew, who also enjoyed a hugely successful showing great potential taking the early lead on the ‘Final Rush’, which is reflected in their final results. “The run we had for the ‘Final Rush’ was simply brilliant. We all agree that we’ve had an extraordinary race full of contact, transitions, u-turns, intensity, subtlety, tactics and wild pursuit. We’ve had an amazing time and we’re happy to have been quite successful and finishing with a spot on the podium for this Pro Sailing Tour. We’re reaping the rewards of the progress we’ve made over the season. We had our sights set and we fought for it”, said Thibaut Vauchel-Camus, who skippered Solidaires en Peloton – ARSEP. “Reflecting on the season, we can see that the whole fleet is very level-pegged at such a high level. This Pro Sailing Tour has given us a good focal point in the wonderfully sporting atmosphere of the Ocean Fifty class, with its fair share of fighting as well as fair play. The format of the tour has allowed us to demonstrate what exactly our boats are capable of doing, not only offshore but inshore, too. It’s the first time we’ve raced so much on such varied water. The circuit has its own format, and it works well from a sporting point of view – as well as in the way we interact with our partners, such as the local authorities who have all given us a royal welcome. I can’t wait for the next season!”

The reactions in Brest upon arrival:
Sam Goodchild, skipper of Leyton:
“We’ve been through all sorts of conditions….we’ve even raced under full sail. Working with the team has been great throughout the race. Aymeric did a brilliant job working on strategy and weather conditions. As for Seb, he knows multihulls very well and is excellent at ocean racing. I enjoyed learning from him. It really was a perfect five days, and the season has panned out a lot better than we could have ever hoped. There are three of us on board, but there are many more people behind the scenes who make the project work. It’s great to be able to share this race’s finish and this victory.” 

Quentin Vlamynck, skipper of Arkema 4: “I’m happy to be on dry land. Time has absolutely flown by. There was never a moment where we weren’t in action, working together, and manoeuvring. We’re also happy that we made it to the finish line before Thibaut….it was intense! We fought it out to the very end, particularly as we made a minor slip in Ushant which allowed them to catch up, putting pressure on us right up to the finish line. It was the first time we had spent so much time on the boat – it taught us a lot.  We’re physically exhausted, just like the boat, so I think a good rest is in order after the race! “

Sébastien Rogues, skipper of Primonial: “As we were saying out on the water, this race is much better than a transatlantic race – seeing as there’s always lots of strategic thinking and other things to do.  Consequently, some tactics were more successful than others. But I have thoroughly enjoyed the moments shared with Mat and Julien. What an intense sail with an equally good racing on the water! It was great to be able to compete against the other teams over the course of the past three months.”

Erwan Le Roux, from Cape Finisterre, at 10:30pm: “The others have arrived. Props to them, and congrats to Leyton! Well done Sam and all the team, you’ve been amazing. Well done to Arkema 4 for second place and a special mention to Solidaires en Peloton – ARSEP for an excellent Final Rush. Your third place on the podium is well deserved and I hope that this great circuit will help you find more supporters for your cause. Well done to Primonial – and to everybody for that matter! As for us, we’re still becalmed at Cape Finisterre. It’s tough, but that’s how it goes. In any case, we’re doing all that we can to get to Brest – before the weather deteriorates, I hope!”

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