Record turnout

The third episode of the Pro Sailing Tour has gathered the largest ever fleet of the Ocean Fifty trimarans for four days of racing in the waters of Gran Canaria.

Photography by © Jacques Vapillon / Pro Sailing Tour

02 July 2021


The third stage of the Pro Sailing Tour competition is underway in Gran Canaria, following from those held in Brest and in La Rochelle France.

The recent addition of The Arch, skippered by Armel Tripon brings the number of boats entered to seven, an unprecedented number in the history of the class.

The Pro Sailing Tour fleet is reinforced for this third episode with The Arch co-skippered by Armel Tripon and Benoît Marie.

For the first time since the creation of the class, all seven Ocean Fifties in the world will compete, a milestone that demonstrates the unity among the members of the class and the strength of this new circuit.

The intense sporting program will consist of a 24-hour regatta and up to 10 coastal races. Racing kicked off on Thursday 1 July with the 24-Hour Challenge.


The Arch will share the starting line with Erwan Le Roux’s Ciela Village, Quentin Vlamynck’s Arkema 4, Sébastien Rogues’ Primonial, Thibaut Vauchel-Camus’ Solidaires en Peloton – Arsep, Gilles Lamiré’s Groupe GCA – 1001 Sourires and Sam Goodchild’s Leyton, the current provisional leader after winning the two races in Brest and La Rochelle.

During the presentation, all the skippers agreed in praising the excellent sailing conditions in the archipelago, the great welcome of the city, the magnificent facilities of the host club and the competition format presented by the Pro Sailing Tour.

The competition started 1 July with the 24-Hour Challenge, a course of more than 300 nautical miles that will test the trimarans’ offshore capabilities in the trade wind conditions that prevail in the islands.

The start took place at 11:00 am in front of San Cristobal, south of Marina Las Palmas, from where the fleet will then head out to round Gran Canaria in a counter-clockwise direction.

After completing this first leg, they will set course north on a long 90-mile stretch parallel to the west coast of Fuerteventura to circumnavigate the island clockwise back to Las Palmas de Gran Canaria.

“Depending on how fast they complete the circumnavigation of Gran Canaria we will decide whether to round Fuerteventura or return along the same uphill leg,” explains Race Director Gilles Chiorri. “The goal is to get as close as possible to completing the race in 24 hours.”

The weather forecast ensures a spectacular battle for victory, with wind conditions ranging from 10 to 15 knots north at the start to 25 to 30 knots on the leg that will take the fleet in front of Gran Canaria airport, with average 18 knots. The teams will have to manage the intensity of the wind and negotiate the areas of lulls caused around the islands.

“This is the most exotic destination on the circuit and the one with the most complicated conditions for these boats,” warns Chiorri.

Just three hours into the race, and as the fleet was performing a series of gybes off the west coast of the island, The Arch tore its mainsail, seeing them forced to withdraw from the 24 Hour Challenge.

The boat headed to shore to assess the damage and the team is confident that repairs can be made in time for the weekend races. The incident did not cause any injuries on board.

The Pro Sailing Tour is designed to bring competitive sailing to the public. During their stay in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, the boats will be moored at the central Muelle Deportivo, an exceptional location that will allow the public to come and enjoy the spectacle while they remain in port and see how the teams are prepare and fine tune their boats.

The event will share space with the tenth edition of FIMAR, the International Maritime Fair, which will be held in Marina Las Palmas from 2 to 4 July. The protagonists of the Pro Sailing Tour will actively participate in FIMAR with a series of conferences and talks to bring the circuit closer to those attending the fair.

The Las Palmas de Gran Canaria event is the third qualifying event for the Pro Sailing Tour 2021, which has already visited the French ports of Brest (19 to 23 May) and La Rochelle (26 to 30 May). As in those first two stages, the third stage will consist of four days of racing preceded by an educational session in which local youths will be able to learn about the circuit from the sailors and organisers.

The action began Thursday 1 July, with a 24-hour challenge in which the fleet will compete in a fast 400 nautical mile ocean sprint around the islands of Gran Canaria and Fuerteventura.

After returning to port, boats and crew will move into coastal configuration to race on Friday and Saturday (3 and 4 July) in up to eight inshore races on a course located in front of the popular Las Canteras beach. The public will be able to enjoy the races from land. “It will be a real spectacle to see the boats sailing at 20 and 30 knots of speed,” says Chiorri.

Sam Goodchild’s Leyton leads the provisional Pro Sailing Tour after winning the first two events of the season, but according to the regatta director, the playing field is very even in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria.

“Despite Leyton’s victory in the first two events, the level is clearly even in terms of performance, and the difference was marked by mistakes,” he said.

“There is no doubt that everyone has worked since La Rochelle to eliminate their weaknesses and fight for victory here in Las Palmas.”

The Pro Sailing Tour will be decided at the beginning of August in an ocean race between the towns of Toulon and Brest, a course of more than 1600 nautical miles that will link the Mediterranean and Atlantic coasts of France, and which will define the first champion of the Ocean Fifty trimaran circuit.

Among the initiatives to bring the Pro Sailing Tour closer to the public, the event organisers, together with Upswing Prod, have launched an ambitious project consisting of the production of “Ocean Fifty“, a documentary series about the participating crews and the venues that host the circuit.

The five-episode series, which will feature the day-to-day lives of the Pro Sailing Tour’s protagonists at each of the season’s events, will be available on the main television platforms by the end of the year.

The full classification is available here.

Provisional overall standings Pro Sailing Tour after two stages


1 – Leyton (Sam Goodchild) – 7+7 = 14 pts
2 – Arkema 4 (Quentin Vlamynck) – 6+5 = 11 pts
3 – Ciela Village (Erwan Le Roux) – 5+4= 9 pts
4 – Primonial (Sébastien Rogues) – 2+6 = 8 pts
5 – Solidaires En Peloton – ARSEP (Thibaut Vauchel-Camus) – 3+3 = 6 pts
6 – Groupe GCA 1001 sourires (Gilles Lamiré) – 4+2 = 6 pts

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