'It’s going to be a nice downwind leg in great conditions,' smiles Christopher Pratt. Like all his competitors in the Tour de France a la Voile, Bretagne Credit Mutuel Elite navigator is looking forward to sail twelve hours downwind to Deauville. They are eager to start because of the cancellation of both in-port races scheduled this morning in Dieppe.
2013 Tour de France a la Voile
High-pressure weather has its problems but the system currently sitting above Belgium is mainly good news. Dieppe’s race village has been sunny and busy, with many spectators paying a visit to the M34 dock. And the upcoming leg promises a nice downwind sail in pleasant conditions.
Eight to 12 knots of wind from the NW are forecast for the third offshore leg of the TFV 2013. Racing will start at 9pm and the fleet will cover 79 miles sailing Southwest from Dieppe to Deauville. It will be scored by a factor of three and should last around 12 hours. Navigators foresee a downwind leg only, with 12 miles of upwind sailing in the end to reach the finish line.
Current will be key, at first pushing against the M34s and then with them after the evening tidal change. The fleet will receive a current boost once again tomorrow morning. Options will rely on in-port tactics. 'Some may go offshore and some may play with the current inshore,' says Groupama 34 navigator Erwan Israël, adding on a mysterious note: 'I can tell you anything more.'
Amateurs are more anxious about staying awake and ready to make good decisions. 'We know it’s going to be a rather tough leg. It won’t be long but we will have to stay awake all night to make sure sails are trimmed properly and miss no gust! It’s a lot of work so we’re going to get some rest and get ready for it,' says Johan Jacqua, bowman on Martinique – BE Brussels.
Race director Christophe Gaumont estimates the fleet’s time of arrival in Deauville tomorrow morning around 9am.
Erwan Israël, Groupama 34 navigator: 'It’s going to be a proper downwind leg in rather light wind. We will start with 10 to 12 knots against the currant and a first mark to round offshore. Some may go offshore and some may play with the current inshore. I can tell you anything more. Then it’s a long downwind sail with the Paluel and Antifer marks to leave on port side. There will be many gibes to come to play with the wind. It’s very similar to a long downwind in-port leg with more tactics than navigation.'
Daniel Souben, Courrier Dunkerque 3 skipper: 'Today was positive because it was the first day where we did not lose points on Groupama. Finally, the wheel is spinning! This afternoon we will rest, eat and check the latest weather files to see how it has evolved. Everyone will be on the attack tonight.'
Johan Jacqua, Martinique – BE Brussels: 'We know it’s going to be a rather tough leg. It won’t be long but we will have to stay awake all night to make sure sails are trimmed properly and miss no gust! It’s a lot of work so we’re going to get some rest and get ready for it.'
Overall ranking after 11 races before jury:
1 Groupama 34, Cammas Franck 397 Pts - Blue Spinnaker
2 Bretagne Credit Mutuel Elite, Troussel Nicolas 357 Pts
3 Courrier Dunkerque 3, Souben Daniel 354 Pts
4 Team Omansail, Pouligny Cédric 354 Pts
5 Sodebo, Coville Thomas 353 Pts
6 Ville De Geneve - Carrefour Addictions, Mettraux Elodie-Jane Et Groux Nicolas 319 Pts
7 Toulon Provence Mediterranee - Coych, Bernaz Jean-Baptiste 305 Pts
8 Nantes - Saint Nazaire - E.Leclerc, Douguet Corentin 300 Pts
9 Iskareen, Dittmers Christiane Et Bruhns Sönke 267 Pts
10 Normandie, Choquenet Baptiste 261 Pts
11 Martinique - Be.Brussels, Wolters Delphine Et Moures Matthieu 250 Pts
12 Bienne - Voile – Srs, Peter Luzius Et Kunz François 239 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 nine races before jury:
1 Groupama 34, Cammas Franck 222 Pts
2 Courrier Dunkerque 3, Souben Daniel 204 Pts - Spi Rouge
3 Team Omansail, Pouligny Cédric 194 Pts (...)
Amator ranking after nine races before jury:
1 Iskareen, Dittmers Christiane Et Bruhns Sönke 267 Pts - Spi Rose
2 Normandie, Choquenet Baptiste 261 Pts
3 Martinique - Be.Brussels, Wolters Delphine Et Moures Matthieu 250 Pts
4 Bienne - Voile – Srs, Peter Luzius Et Kunz François 239 Pts
Tour Voile website