Boats tune up in the Med

... in preparation for a gruelling week of fourteen races

Sunday July 22nd 2001, Author: Isabelle Musy, Location: United Kingdom
The thirty-eight Mumm 30's are participating in a tune-up race today in St-Cyprien, on the Mediterranean coast. Races that count towards the series will resume tomorrow at 1230 with three inshore races. There have been a lot of crew changes for this final part of the Tour de France à la Voile 2001, and so today's practice is as important as a scoring race.
There are fourteen races left, which means fourty percent of the total scoring points. According to many skippers, the top six boats overall are still able to win the event. Bertrand Pacé and Tom Schnackenberg have joined Hamish Pepper aboard Sun Microsystems Team New Zealand Racing Crew. The Brits are more eager than ever as they want to win the student ranking and remain in the top ten overall.

The boats were craned out in La Rochelle on Friday as the offshore race to Bayonne was cancelled to due unsuitable condition. This meant that the crews could launch the boats earlier than previously timetabled. After sanding down the hulls and checking the rigs, the crews enjoyed a little rest on the sunny Mediterranean coast. René Boulaire, race committee director, decided to organise a non-compulsory tune-up race today at 1700. Most teams participated in it in order to trim their rig and train their new crew.

Looking forward to the coming races Simon Shaw, skipper of the British Universities Sailing Team, commented: "Both of the students boats that we're in between in the ranking are very close to us in points. However, we're not going to look at the points, we're just going to focus on each race as there are many left". Of the fourteen races remaining, eleven are inshore and three offshore.

François Brénac, driver of the overall leader Virbac St-Raphaël Générali commented on the current rankings: "I think that the top seven boats could make the podium but that only the first couple of boats could still win overall. We're approaching this last bit like we did in Le Havre at the beginning. That is to try to sail as well as possible without paying attention to the favourites. We'll keep an eye on them but we'll have to score points. We'll have to avoid up and downs and below par performance".

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