Foncia puts down a marker
After the first three Betfair City Races of the MOD70 European Tour raced in a light northerly breeze, Michel Desjoyeaux and the crew of Foncia lead after winning the first two short races on the Kiel Fjord in pleasant sunshine.
The tight, compact courses – just 600m wide at the windward mark – proved to be just the challenge expected, but each of the races was closely contested whether the wind was at its maximum, around 10 knots in the first race or when it dropped away to a gentle five knots in the third.
Foncia laid down their marker with two back to back wins. In the first race Desjoyeaux and his crew were required to take a penalty at the approach to the windward turn for impeding Sidney Gavignet’s Musandam-Oman Sail. But in turn Desjoyeaux and his team were ready to pounce when the breeze faltered near the finish and they found themselves a clear lane to take the first winning gun of the regatta.
The first race was the most spectacular with the lead changing several times. Teams had to be doubly aware of the chains of events which would happen in the tight situations and thinking well ahead and, often, staying clear of the pack paid a dividend. Stève Ravussin’s Race for Water, with Volvo Ocean Race winning duo Franck Cammas and Thomas Coville on board, led until close to the finish line.
Sidney Gavignet’s Musandam-Oman Sail was forced to retire after an injury to their local ace, Michi Mueller who will now not take any further part in races here.
Michel Desjoyeaux commented: “It is a good welcome for us to Kiel. In fact we had a good feeling for the starts today, which is not my common performance. But today I was inspired and there was good feeling with the crew. It is a bit like the Clairefontaine Trophy in France but with bigger and more expensive boats and so you have to be careful. Sometimes you can make mistakes but we are lucky today to have jury on the water.
"In fact the starts were important especially when it was reaching like the last race but during the two first races the wind was much more up and down the axis of the course, so there were more opportunities to win and lose places, and you can be lucky if the wind dies a little bit ahead. But we did it correctly today.”
With the wind dying for the third race on a more reaching orientated course Race for Water were able to hold on to take their first winning gun.
City Race Betfair after three rounds
1-Michel Desjoyeaux (Foncia): 12 +12 +10 = 34 points
2-Sébastien Josse (Groupe Edmond de Rothschild): 11 +8 +11 = 30 points
3-Steve Ravussin (Race for Water): 9 +9 +12 = 30 points
4-Yann Guichard (Spindrift racing): 10 +11 +8 = 29 points
5-Sidney Gavignet (Musandam, Oman Sail): 8 +10 +9 = 27 points