The last hurdle
Rob Greenhalgh's Tour de France à la Voile team believe they are perfectly placed for next months event.
The big tournament gets underway in just under a fortnight and Rob Greenhalgh’s Tour de France à la Voile team is battle ready. While Greenhalgh himself was busy sweeping up at the 18ft skiff Nationals in Weymouth this weekend, six of his sailing squad have been in Holland contesting the Mumm 30 European Championship and are brimming with confidence after a telltale third place amongst many of their Tour rivals.
In Greenhalgh’s absence Mike Budd steered, with Duncan McDonald handling the mainsheet, money man Simon Sarsfield in the pit, Anthony Haines and Alec Frazer trimming with Simon Nadin on the bow.
"We’re perhaps a little bit disappointed as we were comfortably the fastest boat here [in Medemblik] but they held four races on the first day in two to four knots of wind and out of the four we had three bad results with no discards in the series," explained stand-in skipper Mike Budd afterwards from the Dutch sailing center.
On a month long event like the Tour, it will be important to quickly bury bad days and Budd and his boys seemed resilient. "Yesterday it was breezy and we were boat of the day with a first, two second places and a fourth. Today there was only one race in 12 knots of breeze and we won by about two minutes. We kept extending the whole way round the course."
"The boat is very, very quick and if it wasn’t for that light day we would of won quite easily. We’re the quickest by a knot in every direction," he added with confidence.
At the same time, the team still acknowledges their Achilles Heel of light wind sailing, although they do not believe it will be a major obstacle in their quest for victory around the coast of France. "We’ve always been weak in light winds as sailors and a team but they [the Tour race committee] are not going to hold races in four knots of wind. They’ll send us off to the next port so we’re very well set up."
Their steed Panthar AMG will be delivered back to Hamble tonight for some 11th hour finishing touches and a last gear check before heading to Dunkerque for the team weigh-in on Monday 24th June. Racing gets underway the following weekend and Greenhalgh will be keeping his fingers crossed for some breeze in the Channel and the Atlantic to propel his challenge into an early lead before they hit the light winds of the Mediterranean.
The Mumm 30 European title and second place overall went to two Italian teams on Cheyenne and Baque respectively. Both will compete in the Tour. Asterix, helmed by Briton David Evans, was fourth.
|1||Cheyenne Unicredito||C. Recchi/ C. Silva||2||3||6||1||7||2||8||3||7||39|
|2||Baqua Finnat||Andrea Cecchetti||3||14||2||6||4||6||4||4||5||48|
|3||Panther AMG||Simon Sarsfield||11||11||4||19||1||4||2||2||1||55|
|6||Minolta QMS / Overstag.com||S.Wasserval||9||5||13||4||5||5||7||5||11||64|
|7||No Contact||Peter Houtzagers||8||1||10||9||9||3||5||8||14||67|
|8||Mordilla Power Bikes||Camilla Bert||5||9||11||13||2||9||12||6||3||70|
|10||Van Uden Logic||Stichting Benodet||12||4||DSQ||8||6||1||13||12||2||81|
|11||Joe Fly||Giovanni Maspero||13||19||1||21||14||12||11||9||12||112|
|12||Unquote||Maarten van den Biggelaar||6||13||7||17||DSQ||13||9||7||17||112|
|13||MagiColor||Fezi Khaleghi Yazdi||20||10||8||5||13||16||15||19||13||119|
|14||International Yachtpaint.com||Johan Mast||7||15||15||12||17||14||17||15||9||121|
|16||Royal Thames/ Bite The Bullet||Owen Modral||19||8||12||11||10||DNF||OCS||17||6||129|
|17||Pogo Bogo||David Knight||14||16||19||14||12||18||16||13||10||132|
|22||Belvedere/ Cassis||Vincent Portugal||DNC||DNC||DNC||DNC||DNC||DNC||DNC||DNC||DNC||207|