The Tour de France à la Voile is currently in Dieppe. Cammas and his crewmembers have done it again! They sailed a relentless upwind leg from Breskens, Holland, to Dieppe, earning their second consecutive offshore victory. Bretagne Crédit Mutuel Elite take second, eight minutes behind and three minutes later Sodebo take third.
2013 Tour de France a la Voile
Groupama 34 crossed the finish line 25 hours after yesterday’s leg start in Breskens. The other 11 M34s all finished with 51 minutes. The fleet sailed upwind for 25 hours in the rain, fighting current, heavy waves and taking almost 200 times.
'We are happy to arrive,' admits Groupama navigator Erwan Israël. 'It was a bit long. The M34 is tough and physically demanding.
'We had a good fight with Sodebo, Bretagne Crédit Mutuel Elite and Team OmanSail yesterday afternoon, shortly after the start,' he says. 'Crédit Mutuel was super fast and we took a small lead on the others. We were a bit lucky when sailing past Dunkirk. The wind shifted to the right and we were on the right – it gave us a little boost. We stayed in the current longer and increased our lead by sheer luck. After Gris Nez we only had to keep the fleet to our stern.'
It was a gruelling sail. The wind dropped from 15 to less than 10 knots and shifted constantly from the SW and the W. Many competitors went aground on sand banks. Visibility was poor due to the fog. Hours of hiking (sitting on the rail) are exhausting; sleep deprivation leads to seasickness and cold food hardly provides sustenance.
The sailors are truly relieved to be in Dieppe tonight, especially the race leaders as points were multiplied by a factor of 4 on this leg. The rest of the fleet earned a much anticipated stretch, meal and rest.
Groupama lead the temporary overall ranking and Bretagne Crédit Mutuel Elite climb to second place. Sodebo are third overall after crossing the line in third. Meanwhile, Courrier Dunkerque drop to fourth place overall and OmanSail drop to fifth overall. Normandie barely lead the amateur ranking, tied for points with Iskareen.
Franck Cammas, Groupama 34 skipper:
'25 hours of upwind sailing is not a favourite of ours and it’s pretty long on these boats. But it’s interesting from a tactical point of view because of the tidal changes and wind shifts. It was all about picking the good side. I think nobody was always on the favourable side. It was just a matter of being there more than the others and we succeeded thanks to a fast boat. It was a busy one and we even went aground on a sand bank at some point. The bottom of our hull needs to be checked.
'Winning such long leg is always a good thing. Everything can change so quickly; we are only five days into the Tour. There are many more legs to come, including very important and complex ones. We are obviously doing well and we hope to keep doing like that. But it’s very tight and any badly managed wind shift is pricy. It’s a high-level fleet.'
Nicolas Troussel, Bretagne Crédit Mutuel Elite skipper:
We were counting the miles left and it was a bit long! We didn’t sleep much and hiked lots to make the boat go fast. We paid a visit to the sand banks too. We will count how many tacks we did… And we did a few.’’
Thomas Coville, Sodebo skipper:
'It’s incredible how much you have to go through to get to the third place! We knew it would be tough but it was just so difficult to do all these efforts and only take third. Anyway we put on a good fight and Groupama nailed it.'
Overall ranking after nine races before jury:
1 Groupama 34, Cammas Franck 347 Pts - Blue Spninnaker
2 Bretagne Credit Mutuel Elite, Troussel Nicolas 316 Pts
3 Courrier Dunkerque 3, Souben Daniel 308 Pts
4 Team Omansail, Pouligny Cédric 308 Pts
5 Sodebo, Coville Thomas 289 Pts
6 Ville De Geneve - Carrefour Addictions, Mettraux Elodie-Jane Et Groux Nicolas 279 Pts
7 Toulon Provence Mediterranee - Coych, Bernaz Jean-Baptiste 267 Ts
8 Nantes - Saint Nazaire - E.Leclerc, Douguet Corentin 263 Pts
9 Normandie, Choquenet Baptiste 231 Pts
10 Iskareen, Dittmers Christiane Et Bruhns Sönke 231 Pts
11 Martinique - Be.Brussels, Wolters Delphine Et Moures Matthieu 219 Pts
12 Bienne - Voile – Srs, Peter Luzius Et Kunz François 210 Pts
Offshore ranking after two races before jury: ??
1 Groupama 34, Cammas Franck 175 Pts
2 Bretagne Credit Mutuel Elite, Troussel Nicolas 165 Pts - Green Spinnaker
3 Team Omansail, Pouligny Cédric 160 Pts
Technical ranking after seven races before jury:
1 Groupama 34, Cammas Franck 172 Pts
2 Courrier Dunkerque 3, Souben Daniel 158 Pts - Spi Rouge
3 Bretagne Credit Mutuel Elite, Troussel Nicolas 151 Pts
Amator ranking after nine races before jury:
1 Normandie, Choquenet Baptiste 231 Pts - Pink Spinnaker
2 Iskareen, Dittmers Christiane Et Bruhns Sönke 231 Pts
3 Martinique - Be.Brussels, Wolters Delphine Et Moures Matthieu 219 Pts
4 Bienne - Voile – Srs, Peter Luzius Et Kunz François 210 Pts