Last races in the Atlantic -Tour de France Sailing

2008 Tour de France Sailing Race - Tour de France à la Voile
© Jean-Marie Liot

The last two legs of the Atlantic part of this Tour de France Sailing Race were races today in front of Royan. Some ten knots of a shifty wind blew today.

Current leader in the overall ranking Courrier Dunkerque (Daniel Souben) won the first race and the last one was won by the amateur crew Saint Malo Purflo Team SNBSM (François Lebourdais). Lebourdais’ crew is the new leader in the amateur ranking, after hitting another competitor yesterday. The crews are working on their boats so as to put them on trucks tonight. They will drive tomorrow to Saint-Cyprien, on the Mediterranean Sea.

First victory for Courrier Dunkerque!
Leader in the overall ranking since Lorient, Daniel Souben’s crew never won a single race in the Tour de France Sailing Race in seven participations! Such is not the case anymore since their victory in the first race of the day. Courrier Dunkerque remains in the lead in the overall ranking, forty-two points ahead of Nouvelle-Calédonie (Vincent Portugal / Ronan Dreano / Bernard Mallaret). There is only one point between them and Dimitri Deruelle’s Elcimaï – Ville de Marseille. Six points behind, Toulon Provence Méditerranée – COYCHyères (Fabien Henry) will be working hard in the Mediterranean Sea to get back in the lead!

Deception for Henry
Thirteenth and eleventh today, Fabien Henry’s crew (Toulon Provence Méditerranée – COYCHyères) didn’t match their expectations! Tactician Erwan Israël explains: 'we sailed ahead at the beginning of the first leg, but we didn’t do a good second beating leg'. The race committee decided to change the disposition of the course, and some competitors didn’t do well in the shifty wind: 'some went on the left side, and it paid off… we were on the right'. A bad start ruined the efforts of the crew in the second leg: they finished eleventh. The tactician isn’t worried: 'the Med is going to be full of new developments… the race isn’t over!'

Success for the students!
Third: INSA – Sopra Group (Simon Troel), second: CSC – HEC – Ecole Navale (Hervé Gautier)… the students were competitive today! Loïc Le Garrec, skipper on Brest Grandes Ecoles ENSIETA ESC, ranked sixth in both races: 'the first race was difficult, with a shifty wind and an opposite current. We had to be very responsive adjusting our sails, and we needed to observe all the time the sailing area. The wind was more stable during the second leg, so speed and placement were the main criteria. Unfortunately, we didn’t give T. Brussels Région de Bruxelles Capitale (Laurent Declercq / Cyril Michel) the place we owed them, as he was on starboard tack. We had to turn, and we lost several places whereas we could have won the race!' Finally, the Dutch crew VanUden TUDelft VanOord (Suzanne Leinders / Michiel Van der Meulen), last in the overall ranking, sailed their best day of the whole race! They ranked tenth and sixteenth. Helmsman Nicholas Heinder is glad to head off to the Mediterranean Sea: 'sailing in the Channel and in the Atlantic wasn’t very beneficial for us… but the Med is a whole new race!'

Saint Malo Purflo Team SNBSM new leader in the amateur ranking
They had had to abandon yesterday after tearing the main sail due to a collision with Toulon Provence Méditerranée – COYCHyères (Fabien Henry). The case was considered by the international jury, which decided to put François Lebourdais’ crew boat back in a place equal to the average of all their legs (apart from the worst two legs). Saint Malo Purflo Team SNBSM was also allowed to change their main sail: 'after the accident, Courrier Dunkerque lent us another sail… we had to learn how to adjust it during the first leg, and it was all right for the second leg!' As a matter of fact, Saint Malo Purflo Team SNBSM won the second leg of the day. 'The crew feels fine for the Med, we are now leader in the amateur ranking!' François Lebourdais’ crew is now five points ahead of former amateur leader Val Thorens (Alexis Littoz / Lucas Millieret).

The Swiss are right on time!
Ville de Genève – Carrefour Prévention ranked fourth in the second race of the day: « We were second at the windward buoy. After this, we managed to remain in the top although there were many tricky wind shifts… We shall continue like this, because we are at ease on the Med' explains the skipper, Jérôme Clerc. Aboard Bienne-Voile, Lorenz Müller ranked fifth twice today: 'such things happen!'

Belgian crew T. Brussels Région de Bruxelles Capitale (Laurent Declercq / Cyril Michel) had a good day, they ranked twelfth and fifteenth today. Bâtisseurs du Morbihan Espoirs (Thomas Audren / Vincent Fresnais) also did a good performance with a place of third in the first leg.

Tomorrow, the M 30s will drive for their longer onshore race! Some 600km towards Saint-Cyprien, on the Mediterranean Sea. The races will start again on Wednesday morning. The competitors will then have only a week left to try and win the 2008 Tour de France Sailing Race!
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