Tour de France a la Voile - Groupama 34 wins stage to St Gilles

Groupama 34 - 2013 Tour de France a la Voile
Alexis Serini
Tour de France a la Voile - 84 miles in a day: an early start followed by many lead changes, a bold but unsuccessful option for Nantes St Nazaire E. Leclerc before a final gybing battle. Groupama 34 wins less than a minute before Bretagne Crédit Mutuel Elite and Courrier Dunkerque 3 takes third.

After the light morning breeze gave way to a steady westerly sea breeze, 12 M34s passed the Boeufs buoy off Noirmoutier.

'Bretagne Crédit Mutuel was in the lead but they went to one side,' said a victorious Franck Cammas on Vendee pontoons. 'We made the most of some wind shifts and came out on top.'

This victory adds a factor of 3 to Groupama 34’s two offshore victories so far. Bretagne Crédit Mutuel and Courrier Dunkerque are disappointed to miss the victory, as OmanSail who finished off the podium. The Ville de Genève Carrefour Addictions Swiss guys are delighted with their fifth place; crew Martinique BE Brussels has a huge smile taking sixth place, and the first amateur.

Tomorrow two in-port races will be sailed St Gilles, weather permitting. Departure time from the dock at 11:30am; racing start at 12:30pm. It will be the very last Atlantic racing day.

Franck Cammas, Groupama 34 skipper: 'It's good for our spirit! We were not very good at sailing in these conditions couple of months ago, we are happy we improved. We sailed a safe race unlike Bretagne Crédit Mutuel Elite. In our situation there is no place for risk.'

Tanguy Cariou, Groupama 34 tactician: 'A nice finish under the sun and some good breeze from 14 to 18 knots. We left Lorient early this morning. Our strategy: manage transitions well to be in a good position for the last upwind tack.'

Nicolas Troussel, Bretagne Crédit Mutuel Elite skipper: 'Nice run, good fight. Bretagne Crédit Mutuel Elite is in the game. But we are a little disappointed because we could have won. They caught our speed, which was a bit disappointing. We made beautiful tacks and gybes and lost out on the small technical settings. It's nice to be able to navigate as I do in the Figaro, that is to say, doing what I want to do!'

Dimitri Deruelle, Bretagne Crédit Mutuel Elite tactician: 'We had a great battle with Groupama. We must recognize that at the beginning conditions were not doing very well. But we came back and it helped us to fight again. Before the next 25 mile downwind leg, we were in front with a bit of lead. It was exhausting but are very happy with how we sailed.'

Erwan Le Roux, Courrier Dunkerque 3 navigator: 'We sailed well at least until Quiberon and poorly negotiated the transition zone out of the morning breeze. We found ourselves a little behind. We are disappointed. We didn't raise our game enough to win the stage but there are still three left.'

Elodie-Jane Mettraux, Ville de Genève Carrefour Addictions skipper: 'We had a very good start, and despite the early hour we were wide awake. When we sailed into the light area we took the two hours to rest, which allowed us to find the energy to finish the day strong despite three weeks on the tour! We were always in phase with the other boats, tweaking our settings to go faster - and we went faster.'

Delphine Wolters, Martinique BE Brussels co-skipper: 'It was a good fight from beginning to end. At first, no wind was difficult and we did not see the end. And then at the end, the fight just before the finish was great. We had so much fun. To top it all off, we only raced with seven today. We were initially pretty stressed out, but now we've got two sixth place finishes!'

Overall ranking after 19 races before jury:

1 Groupama 34, Cammas Franck 793 Pts - Blue Spinnaker
2 Bretagne Credit Mutuel Elite, Troussel Nicolas 760 Pts
3 Courrier Dunkerque 3, Souben Daniel 739 Pts
4 Sodebo, Coville Thomas 722,5 Pts
5 Team Omansail, Pouligny Cédric 703 Pts
6 Toulon Provence Mediterranee - Coych, Bernaz Jean-Baptiste 625 Pts
7 Ville De Geneve - Carrefour Addictions, Mettraux Elodie-Jane Et Groux Nicolas 618 Pts
8 Nantes - Saint Nazaire - E.Leclerc, Douguet Corentin 605 Pts
9 Normandie, Choquenet Baptiste 575 Pts
10 Martinique - Be.Brussels, Wolters Delphine Et Moures Matthieu 548 Pts
11 Iskareen, Dittmers Christiane Et Bruhns Sönke 531 Pts
12 Bienne - Voile – Srs, Peter Luzius Et Kunz François 497 Pts

Offshore ranking after six races before jury:

1 Bretagne Credit Mutuel Elite, Troussel Nicolas 482 Pts - Green Spinnaker
2 Groupama 34, Cammas Franck 474 Pts
3 Courrier Dunkerque 3, Souben Daniel 448 Pts (...)

Technical ranking after 13 races before jury:

1 Groupama 34, Cammas Franck 319 Pts
2 Courrier Dunkerque 3, Souben Daniel 291 Pts - Red Spinnaker
3 Sodebo, Coville Thomas 283 Pts (...)

Amator ranking after 18 races before jury:

1normandie, Choquenet Baptiste 575 Pts - Pink Spinnaker
2 Martinique - Be.Brussels, Wolters Delphine Et Moures Matthieu 548 Pts
3 Iskareen, Dittmers Christiane Et Bruhns Sönke 531 Pts
4 Bienne - Voile – Srs, Peter Luzius Et Kunz François 497 Pts

Tour Voile website
http://www.sail-world.com/111997