Pittwater based Peter Byford’s new Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 469 L’Esprit de la Mer and Russell Durham’s new Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 509 Smooth Operator from Martha Cove, proved that Jeanneau yachts have the performance to do well at the most competitive cruising spinnaker fleet ever at this year’s Hamilton Island Race Week.
To the surprise of Durham competing in his first boat and in his first regatta, Smooth Operator was sitting in second overall before racing on the last day in the largest fleet of 34 boats including Maxi’s such as Condor and Ragamuffin, but slipped back to fourth overall due to getting caught out in a fading wind with a small headsail up on a long windward leg.
Durham’s 509 was fitted with factory supplied sails including a code zero that was used to sail upwind early in the regatta, with an extra knot of boat speed but at a true wind angle (TWA) of 45 degrees!
On the other hand L’Esprit won the second last race, were leading overall at the start of the last race but also had the fastest handicap of all of the production cruising yachts racing including a Beneteau 58, 54, 50, and 45, a Hanse 54, 505 and 495, and the new Dehler 38 and 41.
Despite this handicap, they were still the quickest European production boat racing in both Divisions 1 and 2 and ended up winning Division 2 by 1 point.
Byford commented “We were searching for horsepower in the 1st three races dominated by light air (4 -8 knots), but once we had a steady 10 knots there was no holding the SO469 back. We raced the boat with the factory supplied main and jib , complemented by a North 3DL Taffeta #1 and a second-hand spinnaker. The boat has a bit more drag than normal as we chose to have a bow-thruster fitted at the factory to aid handling in tight berthing situations. I could not be happier with how the yacht performs and coming out of my previous Jeanneau, a 2008 Sun Odyssey 42i, the advances Jeanneau have made with these new “9” series models are great.”
In Division 3 Rob Aldis’s Joie de Vie, Peter’s previous Sun Odyssey 42i, won the “Overall Gun Boat Award” at the Presentation Dinner, having fastest time in every race in that class and finished 4th overall.
Other older generation Jeanneau yachts with very creditable overall results in the three cruising divisions included:
3rd – Encore – Sun Odyssey 49i – Div 2 Cruising Spinnaker
3rd – Oasis – Sun Odyssey 40.3 – Div’ 3 Cruising Spinnaker
Photos by Andrea Francolini, Rohan Veal and Tomm V.