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British sailor Sam Goodchild takes line honours as Pro Sailing Tour fleet arrives in Cowes

by Pro Sailing Tour 6 Jul 02:02 BST 5-6 July 2022
The Leyton Ocean Fifty trimaran skippered by Sam Goodchild cross the Royal Yacht Squadron Line and win the offshore leg from France © Lloyd Images / Pro Sailing Tour

Offshore sailing's most exciting new competition arrived in Cowes this morning when a delighted Sam Goodchild crossed the Cowes finish line onboard Leyton to the sound of the Royal Yacht Squadron cannon after a hard-fought 515nm offshore battle from Saint-Quay-Portrieux in Brittany that started on Sunday.

"The race along the Solent, the gun, the finish with Leyton, it was beautiful!" said Sam Goodchild shortly after the finish this morning. "Being here brings back a lot of memories, as my career as an ocean racer with Team Artemis started here in Cowes."

After 38 hours at sea the top three finishers arrived within 30 minutes of one another, but line honours were not enough to secure the Episode 3 podium for Goodchild. It was the youngest skipper in the fleet, Quentin Vlamynck onboard Arkema, who having won 4 out of the 6 inshore races on Friday and Saturday last week in the Bay of Saint-Brieuc (the first half of Episode 3), who won this highly technical stage. Erwan Le Roux on Koesio finished second just 25 minutes adrift and continuing his upward trend.

In the match race up to Portsall and on the way back up the Channel, Thibaut Vauchel-Camus on Solidaires En Peloton - ARSEP, and Eric Peron on Komilfo,fell behind their rival Ocean Fifty teams overnight. And while at Portland Bill only 22nm separated Thibaut Vauchel-Camus from leader Leyton, the rich got richer with those at the back of the fleet feeling the effects of a slackening breeze and increasing tide in the Solent.

Welcomed by Gary Hall the Harbour Master at Cowes Harbour Commission, Ed Walker the Harbour Master of Cowes, Martin Thomas the Commodore of the Royal London Yacht Club and Rodney Barton the Trustee of the Royal London Yacht Club, the crews felt immediately at home at the heart of British yachting and were looking forward to recharging before the festivities tomorrow which will include the Episode 3 prize-giving.

Everything comes down to the Final Rush which will start tomorrow at 19:00 CET and will take the fleet from Cowes to Roscoff via the Fastnet Rock.

Who will be crowned the Pro Sailing Tour champion 2022?

Order of finish of the Offshore Challenge in Cowes

1- Leyton
2- Arkema
3- Koesio
4- Solidaires En Peloton - ARSEP
5- Komilfo
6- Groupe GCA-1001 Sourires
7- Primonial (DNF)

General ranking of episode 3 (6 inshore races + Offshore Challenge to Cowes)

1- Arkema - 67 points
2- Koesio - 60 points
3- Leyton - 55 points
4- Komilfo - 41 points
5- Solidaires En Peloton-ARSEP - 40 points
6- Primonial - 28 points
7- Groupe CGA-1001 Sourires - 19 points

They Said...

Sam Goodchild (Leyton): "The race along the Solent, the gun, the finish with Leyton, it's beautiful!" he said shortly after the finish this morning. "Being here brings back a lot of memories, as my career as an ocean racer with Team Artemis started here in Cowes. The start in Saint-Quai was testing, there was no margin for error. We played it safe, but at the same time we wanted to perform well. We had all the right conditions; it was a very technical course. We were in contact with the others all the time, there was always a way to come back, everyone could win. There was a lot to play for, Arkema dominated a good part of the course but lost the lead at Land's End. Last night we were all together. On board we have an excellent operation to make sure the boat goes fast all the time. We're keeping in mind that we only have one night in Cowes before we head out for the Final Rush tomorrow. We'll get a good night's sleep!"

Quentin Vlamynck (Arkema): "We got off to a good start, but we were careful. We were quickly in front but there was a good fight with Leyton from the start. The most complicated part of the race was the crossing of the English Channel with a lot of manoeuvres and strategy. Mayeul (Riffet) did a great job! We arrived in the lead at Wolf Rock with less wind and competitors coming from behind. We made a mistake, but we managed to come back last night under gennaker with the wind and a flat sea. A great angle to go fast! We managed to get away from Koesio. At the end, Leyton handled the windward side of the island a bit better and lengthened their stride. The main thing for us was to keep Erwan (Le Roux) behind, so we are happy. The guys have done a lot of manoeuvres, they are tired, but we are going to rest, the boat is fine, it's great!"

Erwan Le Roux (Koesio): "It's quite rare to see the Solent in this light. This morning at daybreak, it was exceptional. The lights, the wind, the flat sea, we enjoyed ourselves. The cannon shot is always a pleasure when you arrive. We were very happy! It was very close, Leyton sailed very well, they don't have any slack in terms of speed, they are always in the right place. We're still discovering and learning about the boat, especially on beam reachs. We're happy with what we've done, we've been in the game all the time. The start in Saint-Quay was great, with the light shining down on us and a great speed run! After that nothing was easy, with changing conditions from 5 to 25 knots, but we managed to sleep well. We're not under too much pressure. There is still a match for the podium in the Pro Sailing Tour 2022, it will be played out on the Final Rush!"

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