Michel Kleinjans Roaring Forty has won the inaugural Petit Bateau 2004 singlehanded race

The inaugural Petit Bateau 2004 – a singlehanded ocean race for monohulls or multihulls from 30-45ft LOA, which started from Mylor YC Falmouth on the 17 July, was won by Michel Kleinjan’s Open 40 Roaring Forty.

Kleinjan won two of the three legs beating Ronny Nollett’s Open 40 La Promesse into second place, Nollett won the final leg into Camaret. The course from Falmouth to Kinsale Ireland, Kinsale to Gijon Spain and finally Gijon to Camaert France – a total distance of 1,000 miles – was a great success.

Class 2 boats up to 35ft was won by Olivier Desport’s Calisson series class winner in the 2001 Mini Transat race, he won all three legs in his JOD 35. Second place was not so easy with a tough battle between Pierre-Yves Chatelin in his Figaro 1, Destination Calais, Mary Falk’s beautifully prepared Open 35, QII, and Paul Peggs modified JOD35, Audacious, fought to the end and was finally decided in the last miles in favour of Audacious.

The first leg race started in a 20kt south-westerly which was the strongest wind seen during the entire race. The two Open 40s Roaring Forty and La Promesse soon pulled out ahead of the fleet, followed by Leon Bart on his 35ft trimaran Hound Van Hout. But within half an hour the wind died away to a light, variable breeze leaving the fleet to struggle to clear the Lizard. Later the wind veered to north-west increasing to Force 3 as the fleet reached Land’s End. Now with a beat to Kinsale the tactical decision was to either tack on the shifts or hold on to port tack and wait for the forecasted light winds to back.

During the first night there was no time for snatching any sleep as the Irish Sea was busier than the M25 due to a vast number of boats returning from Cork week. Neither tactical decision seemed to have a major benefit and Roaring Forty was the first to cross the line in a time of 31hrs 27mins followed 2hrs later by La Promesse. Third in Class 1 was Nico Budel sailing Hayai a Benateau 40.7 from Holland.

First to finish in Class 2 Calisson in a time of 34hrs 56mins followed 40 minutes later in a very close finish was Audacious only a few boat lengths ahead of Destination Calais from France. Kinsale YC made all the competitors very welcome and a great two-day stopover was had by all.

The fleet set off on the second leg to Gijon in 15 knots from the south-west. Some boats including Calisson, Destination Calais, and Alices Mirror – a stretched Open 30 with many Atlantic crossings to her name and sailed by Jerry Freeman -sailed high on starboard tack keeping to the rumb line, while others the two Open 40s and Audacious footed more towards the French coast in a hope of getting more breeze and a better angle.

However, on the second day the wind shut off and everyone was left with sails flogging in a big swell. On the thrid day the breeze filled in from the east and spinnakers and reachers where hoisted and a good day and night of fast reaching was enjoyed. The first boat to finish was again Roaring Forty in a time of 79hrs 51mins followed again 2hrs latter by La Promesse. First Class 2 winner Calisson spent four hours a short distance from the finish line with no wind,. She finally finished in 97hrs 50mins. Again 2hrs 25mins later there was a nail-biting finish for second and third in Class 2 with QII beating Audacious to the line by 200m after swapping places many times during the previous couple of days.

Leg 3 start was postponed for one hour waiting for the breeze to fill in and with only light winds forecast it looked like the passage to Camaret was going to be a slow one.

Once clear of the bay and with what little sea breeze there was now died away. It was slow progress for first night. But by the morning of the second day 10-14kts of breeze filled in from the west giving the fleet a pleasant spinnaker reach for most of the day. With open 40s ahead QII managed to build a small lead in Class 2 followed by Destination Calais who had broken his tiller and could only steer with his autopilot, and Jaraella was lying third.

During the night the wind suddenly shifted to the north and gradually dropped in strength thoughout day three. But the two open 40s managed to get to the finish line before the wind dropped completely. This time it was La Promesse” who crossed the line first in a time of 52 hrs 4mins followed an hour later by Roaring Forty.

Class 2 had to struggle on through the night in light winds and adverse tides before again Calissson manage to get across the line in 65hrs 39mins. Two hours later Destination Calais came in to take second place. QII ,and Audacious where fighting it out again, this time for third place on the leg and second overall. Audacious got her revenge from the previous stage and managed finish just ahead of QII.

Prize giving and party time was at the Hotel Vauban in Camaret, with pictures and signed posters of sailing superstars such as Eric Taberly, Peter Blake and may more adorning the walls it was a fitting place to end the first Petit Bateau singlehanded race.

Overall Results

Class I 35ft

1st Roaring Forty Michel Klienjans Open 40 Belguim

2nd La Promesse Ronny Nollet Open 40 Belguim

3rd Hayai Nico Budel Benateau 40.7 Holland

Class 2 30-35ft

1st Calisson Olivier Desport JOD 35 France

2nd Audacious Paul Peggs JOD 35 UK

3rd Destination Calais Pierre-Yves Chatelin Figaro 1 France


1st Destination Calais