Swiss win La Rochelle

Isabelle Musy reports on the latest leg in the Tour de France a la Voile

Friday July 12th 2002, Author: Isabelle Musy, Location: France
Ville de Genève Carrefour skippered by Etienne David scored a third victory today in La Rochelle after another tough 98-mile offshore race. The Swiss boat crossed the finish line in first only a few seconds ahead of Pierre-Loïc Berthet's Nantes-St-Nazaire.

The race was won at l'Ile d'Yeu where the wind died for a couple of hours. The two boats managed to get the new wind shift before the rest of the fleet and sailed off to start a long match-race until the finish.

"After l'Ile d'Yeu, we've been battling against each other for the rest of the race. We managed to pass Nantes-St-Nazaire as we were coming towards l'Ile de Ré", commented Etienne David with a happy face. "We had been doing well in the previous offshore legs but failed at staying in the lead. This time we did it, so we're really happy", added the Swiss skipper.

Jimmy Pahun on board Région Ile de France came home in third and therefore still leads overall. But the distant between the points is getting extremely close among the top three boats.

"Among us three, we have won all the legs so far except for the one that Dieppe Seine Maritime grabbed. The winner is probably among these three", said Jimmy Pahun. "I'm concerned about the Swiss though. We expected them to be good but not so good in offshore races. Knowing that they're usually good in the Med, I think they' re the big favourite. Thought they never pictured themselves as big favourites. It's just their humble mentality. Somehow, I think that Ville de Genève, Nantes-St-Nazaire and us have had the same history in the Tour de France à la Voile over the last three years. That is with a crew that has been sailing together for a long time", added the skipper of Région Ile de France.

The crew of amateur British boat Royal Thames was most happy as they came home in 10th position. Owen Modral, the skipper commented on their strong
results: "We had a fantastic race. We loved every minute. We all sailed well and had good stamina that pulled us through the night. We all sailed like stallions".
Royal Thames is still ranked fifth in the amateur division Rob Greenhalgh's Panther Team GBR finished just behind Royal Thames in ''th position. "We enjoyed the race and we all had good fun. We did very badly because we went the wrong way at the first beat. We pulled it back because we sailed well and fast and went the right way. We hope for bigger and better things tomorrow with the mighty Ian Barker", explained Rob Greenhalgh. The 49er Olympic medallist will board Panther Team GBR tomorrow and will be a joint helm.

Force EDC, skippered by Australia's Simon Sutherland is still leading overall in the student class though they had a poor results today coming in ""nd. "We had a bad start when the start was very important. After that it was hard to recover. In this type of race, those who have a good start manage to do better. The rich got richer. It was frustrating at l'Ile d'Yeu because we ran out of wind and we had to drop the anchor. We're looking forward to some inshore tomorrow", commented Britain's Sam Stephens, navigator on board Force EDC.

Tomorrow, there will be three inshore races off La Rochelle.

Overall results after race 11 before jury (one discard)

1. Région Ile de France / Jimmy Pahun 786,5 points
2. Nantes-St-Nazaire / Pierre Loic Berthet 775 points
3. Ville de Genève Carrefour Prévention / Etienne David 773 points
4. Dieppe-Seine Maritime / Gildas Philippe 704,5 points
5. Défi Partagé / Thierry Bouchard 696,5 points
6. Vitamine Hyères COYCH / Nicolas Clément 686,5 points
7. Ville d'Antibes ­NEC / Julien Farnarier 674, 5 points
8. Côtes d'Armor Toztes Voiles dehors / Vincent Biarnes 667 points
9. Panther Team GBR / Rob Greenhalgh 657 points
10. Force EDC / Simon Sutherland 654 points
18th Cassis Maugio Carnon / Bernard Mallaret 540,5 points
22nd Royal Thames / Owen Modral 50" points

Student division
1. Force EDC / Simon Sutherland 433,5 points
2. Cap Université St-Quentin en Yvelines / Jean-Marie Gout 383 points
3. ENSAM-HEC / Marc Emig 358 points

Amateur Division
1. CSC Essec / Hervé Gautier 409,5 points
2. PSA Peugeot Citroën / Eric Blouet 404 points
3. Dinard La Pachanga / Eric Basset 395,5 points
5. Royal Thames / Owen Modral 353,5 points


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