Foncia claims 'round Portugal race'
They led out of Cascais yesterday at the very start of the 213 miles Leg 3 of the MOD70 European Tour and this afternoon finished first across the Cascais finish line at 16:07:44 local time (UTC) this afternoon. In so doing Michel Desjoyeaux and his crew of Foncia collected the maximum points on offer for the third stage, three bonus points for the start prologue and 12 points for winning the third of the five offshore stages of this MOD70 European Tour.
Race for Water took second at 16:13:34, five minutes and 50 seconds behind. With Yann Guichard’s Spindrift Racing finishing in third place, behind Stève Ravussin’s Race for Water, the Foncia team return to the top of the MOD70 European Tour leaderboard, now with a 6 point margin over Spindrift Racing.
At the start of this offshore race, which was contested mostly in light northerly breeze, which saw the MOD70s' speeds range from 1 knot to 25 knots, Spindrift Racing led by four points: 133 points for Guichard's team to 129 points for Desjoyeaux's.
This was the first light airs offshore contest yet for the MOD70s, taking the five trimarans upwind to the Berlingas islands off Peniche, and downwind to a mark at Sines. It proved who is quickest in the gentle breezes, perhaps a preview of the next stage, the leg from Cascais to Marseille – into the Mediterranean –, which starts on Thursday.
For the third successive time there was some compression at the finish and the last miles were some of the more difficult. The biggest separation between the two leaders and the chasing pack occurred around dawn this morning as Foncia and Race for Water led around the Sines mark, gaining to be some 16 miles ahead of the chasing trio who were going less than half their speed. But that gain was eroded during late morning and early afternoon, with Spindrift Racing reducing the delta to four miles.
This time Foncia held out to take the win. “It is a very valuable win," said Desjoyeaux. "We gained some valuable points in just 24 hours of racing and the bonus ones at the start of the leg. So it was a good 24 hours - a good day for us. It was very hard because the wind was very light. We knew that before the start. And because we knew that, we followed the strategy very accurately and it was very close to what happened in reality. So we were very lucky in the right perception of where to go at what time. Even if at some times other boats were faster elsewhere on the water, we kept cool on our boat and confident in what we did. And that was enough to save our lead on the fleet. We did a bit of match racing against Race for Water when they came back during the night with a good gybe. Then we had to protect our lead against them."
For Stève Ravussin's Race for Water crew, with Volvo Ocean Race winning skipper Franck Cammas navigating, this is their best offshore result yet and a clear sign they are on the ascendancy.
“It is good," said Ravussin. "We worked one long day for our best result yet, finishing second. We fought hard for a long time with Foncia, it is always the same when you have five identical boats, it is very hard to get past them. But it is a good result for us and we are only in the middle of the European Tour and we are getting better. Franck was very good on the strategy. We lost a little time when we caught on a net at the last buoy, we were just ten metres back behind them at the buoy. That’s life, though. We are happy.”
Complementing their victory in the Cascais City Race series, which concluded Sunday, the Sidney Gavignet skippered Musandam-Oman Sailfinished fourth with Groupe Edmond de Rothschild fifth.
Finish Race Around Portugal (local time)
1- Foncia (Michel Desjoyeaux) Tuesday 18th September, 16:07:44 - 1d 1h 47m 44s
2- Race for Water (Stève Ravussin) at 16:13:34 – 5m 50s behind the winner
3- Spindrift Racing (Yann Guichard) at 16:33:56 – 26m 17s behind the winner
4- Musandam-Oman Sail (Sidney Gavignet) à 16:42:50 – 35m 06s behind the winner
5- Groupe Edmond de Rothschild (Sébastien Josse) at 16:53:25 – 45m 41s behind the winner
Ranking MOD70 European Tour –
(Kiel City Race Stage 1 + with + bonus + Dun Laoghaire City Race Stage 2 with bonus + Race + Cascais City 3rd stage with bonus)
1- Foncia (Michel Desjoyeaux) 12+53+10+46+8+53 = 182 points
2- Spindrift Racing (Yann Guichard) 11+47+12+52+11+43 = 176 points
3- Groupe Edmond de Rothschild (Sébastien Josse) 10+44+11+41+10+36 = 152 points
4- Race for Water (Stève Ravussin) 8+38+9+35+9+46 = 145 points
5- Musandam-Oman Sail (Sidney Gavignet) 9+34+8+42+12+38 = 143 points