Tour Voile fleet regroup
As the race to Bayonne was cancelled, the 38 boats taking part in the Tour de France a la Voile were craned out on Friday in La Rochelle and were directly towed to St-Cyprien on France's Mediterranean coast where they arrived Saturday morning. They were therefore relaunched earlier than planned.
After sanding hulls and checking 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.
There have now been quite a few changes among the crews.
French-Kiwi (now part of Team New Zealand) Bertrand Pacé and other heavyweights such as Tom Schnackenberg, Peter Evans and Chris Ward have joined Hamish Pepper aboard Sun Microsytems Team New Zealand Racing Crew.
Pace's former crewmates such as bowman Ronan Lucas and mainsheet trimmer Thierry Fouchier, are both now aboard Jean-Pierre Dick's Virbac St-Raphaël Générali, and are really anxious to watch Bertrand sailing with his new Kiwi team.
The Brits are really eager to resume racing again and determined to try and win the student ranking. "Both of the students boats 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", said Simon Shaw, skipper of British University Sailing Team.
There are 14 races left - 11 inshore races and 3 offshore races. That means that 40% of total scoring points are up for grabs.
"The first six boats can still win this event. Even the Kiwis! They're really good on inshore races. If they win several races in a row like they did in Le Havre, they will be hard to beat. Besides, they have Bertrand Pacé joining them!", commented former 49er world top-ranked Marc Audineau, skipper of Ville d'Antibes Juan Les Pins.