En route to the Med

A convoy of trucks transports the Tour Voile boat to the Med

Friday July 19th 2002, Author: Isabelle Musy, Location: France
There is no racing today as the boats have arrived by truck from Bayonne and are in the process of being put back into the water in St-Cyprien, the first stopover in the Mediterranean.

This break gives a chance for the teams to look back to what they've achieved so far and to prepare for the Med. There are still '7 races to go (4 offshore and '3 inshore) and '058,75 points to grab.

Pointswise the top three boats have separated from the rest of the fleet and have therefore a rather comfortable lead. It will be interesting if to see whether they'll keep on playing musical chairs or if one them will dominate in the fickle and tricky Mediterranean conditions.

Pierre-Loïc Berthet, the skipper of overall leader boat Nantes-St-Nazaire commented on the current situation and on his further expectations: "We're very happy to be leading after the Atlantic and to have a little lead ( 3' points) when it has been very tight before. I think the Med is going to be difficult for every one. If there is a good wind, it will be clean racing, if not one will have to accept good and bad results. We'll have to take the points when we have the opportunity. We do not intend to control anyone until the last couple of races. We'll sail our own race. Our team is ready and most motivated."

Etienne David, skipper of Ville de Genève Carrefour Prévention: "We're very happy with our results so far. We're happy to be in second position overall. We're confident though we'll have to remain very careful as the Med can play bad tricks. Every one thinks that we are used to fickle winds but we've had weaknesses in the Med before. Therefore we trained a lot earlier in the season to improve in light airs. We're not going to control the opponents to we'll keep an eye on Nantes-St-Nazaire and Région Ile de France. We'll try to avoid sailing further offshore and stay close to the shore. As we have a comfortable lead over the rest of the fleet, it doesn't mean that the others won't be a threat but it makes it easier."

Simon Sutherland, skipper of Force EDC: "At the moment we're eighth overall and first student. We've got about a 50 point lead in the students so we're very
happy with that. We feel that we're stronger than some other teams when it gets windy, but now we're in the Méd, obviously the wind is not going to be as strong. So we'll have to really work hard on our light air sailing to maintain our lead.

"Our team has not sailed in the Med much at all. We expect a fairly strong sort of sea breeze pattern. In the morning there's not gonna be much breeze but in the afternoon the sea breeze will come in. That's a similar sort of pattern to where I come from in Perth. So hopefully we can find some patterns there and do well from that. It's just gonna be a case of keeping your eyes open and learning from the other boats at the start and try to improve.

"Our tactics have been fairly conservative. We try to sort of stay in the middle and be fairly consistent with our results. If you can sail in the top ten or five boats for every race in the Med you can look pretty good overall. Easier said than done !

It has been a little bit of a surprise to us to be slightly better offshore than inshore. I think in the Med, there is more inshore races than offshore races. I still think we should be better in inshore races. If we keep starting the way we've been starting we should keep in good step. Aim? Obviously our aim is to win the student division. Down the Atlantic, in some races we were in the top five so we feel we're good enough to be in the top group of boats. Looking at the points, I don't think we can finish in the top four. Those guys are a step above the rest. We think somewhere between five and eight will be good.

Rob Greenhalgh: "Obviously we're a bit disappointed with our Atlantic effort so far. We found we're not as fast as we thought we were downwind. A couple
of offshore were down wind and we struggled. We're seventh overall so we could probably go top five. It's gonna be light winds and we don't know what our light wind speed is like either. So we could struggle."

Owen Modral, skipper of Royal Thames: "We're really happy with what we've done so far. A bit disappointed because we got a couple of results that are
dragging us down the ranking overall. We're happy that we've put in some good top ten results in the last few races. We feel we could have done a little bit better as far as consistency is concerned. We've made a couple of mistakes. We believe we can improve. As far as the Med, we're a little bit apprehensive because a lot of our strength lie in the Atlantic winds and getting over the waves and that sort of style of sailing. As far as the actual wind and tactics of sailing in the Med conditions, we still got a bit to learn but hopefully it won't take too long to pick up. I think one of our weaknesses in the Atlantic was over night sailing and we're not doing anymore of that, so hopefully that'll be a good point. Crew change? Nothing major. It's quite a small squad. It's the same core crew throughout. Lizzie Vickers is coming out, so it should be cool to have her onboard. Apart form that, it's the same people.

"Aim? Our aim would still be and I still think we can, - if it wasn't for these couple dodgy results -, finish in the top ten and first amateur. Whether we'll be able to pull it back from where we are now I don't' really know. But we're certainly aiming to crawl up the rankings of both the amateur and overall."

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