With all five of the MOD70 fleet safely finished into Marseille after the most mentally demanding stage of the MOD70 European Tour yet, Leg 4 from Cascais to Marseille, skippers and crew were keen to immediately catch up on their required rest.
Race for Water claimed second two and a half hours after leg winner Musandam-Oman Sail, successfully fending off the advances of the Michel Desjoyeaux-skippered Foncia which finished third. They were followed almost three hours later by Spindrift Racing with Groupe Edmond de Rothschild bringing up the rear.
Ironically it was the two lowest boats on the overall leaderboard going into this leg that came out on top.
Stève Ravussin, skipper of Race for Water, commented: “I think now as a fleet we are all in the same place, at a good level and so second is good for us. We did not win this time. We were close to Oman at Cape St Vincent, less than one mile away, and after that there was no catching them. They took ten miles from us. Some times it is about a good feeling for going fast. It is good to be ahead of Foncia, it is the second leg we have fought so close to him. In the last leg he killed us, this time we beat him. It is satisfying after a long, hard leg like that, the hardest in the light winds and then the last few hours hard and windy.”
Race for Water navigator and Volvo Ocean Race winner Franck Cammas added: "Not being the skipper is fun, you do not have the pressure and you are there to really discover this kind of racing. I had no specific ambitions but then this boat is good and we all want to win. This time I got the impression that Stève wanted to win more than I did. It is interesting being navigator on board and then leaving the things that are not so nice to do to the skipper!
"But it was interesting navigating on this leg with the light conditions with such complicated weather and then directing the boat where to go with so many options. We are not perfect but we try and make fewer mistakes than take good options."
The stage from the Atlantic into the Mediterranean proved the longest yet in terms of duration, with long periods becalmed, or close to it, especially for the later arrivals.
Michel Desjoyeaux commented: “At the start we were already a little tense, becalmed nervously…. We were physically tired along with the nervous fatigue and there you go, we were toast. Last night, we went further in distance than we had done on the three first days when we were becalmed! In the last hours, we were in a fight with Race for Water and were trying to hang in there. Yesterday afternoon, Race for Water had nearly 20 miles on us. And at the Omega buoy, this morning, for the last little part of the course at Iles de Marseille, we were just 1.5 miles behind. We spent a night at full speed, in a tricky sea state…. I think that we reached 38.4 knots! We were pumped, well positioned and it was hot. We did the first broach with the boat. Xavier was at the helm and I was listening to the wind, we held our position, but we wanted to be on the attack. At the end, we have a good position in the overalls. The game is not over, there’s everything to play for between the City Races here and the final leg. That said, we are in a good position..."
In terms of the overall standings for the MOD70 European Tour, with 79% of the maximum available points now allocated, Foncia sees her lead over second placed Spindrift Racing increase by a net two points to 8 points.
The combined effect of winning the Cascais City Race series and then Leg 4 into Marseille this morning sees Musandam-Oman Sail up to third place overall – tied on points with Stève Ravussin’s Race for Water.
Conversely two offshore fifth places in a row for Groupe Edmond de Rothschild finds Sébastien Josse’s team now at the bottom of the leaderboard albeit only seven points from third. Spindrift Racing skipper Yann Guichard will have his ribs checked this afternoon after he injured them last night. Success in the Marseille City Race series Friday and Saturday is essential to Spindrift racing.
Guichard concluded: “It was a leg which really was not easy, especially for us. It was a break at Cape St Vincent and from there we failed to get back into. We tried different things but nothing worked. So it was hard being becalmed at the back without being able to do much.
I hope I have not broken ribs. Last night I was sleeping on the floor when Pascal Bidégorry somersaulted into me. I have a sore left arm too. On the boat everything is okay though we broke the gennaker tack strop just before Gibraltar and we lost Foncia there, suddenly it was 10 miles and we could not get that back and it grew. Overall it was neither good nor bad. The overall is still tight with Foncia with eight points of difference. Everything can go down to the last leg but these last City races will be important. The goal here is to get back to within four points of Foncia here, then whoever wins the last leg, to Genoa, wins the MOD70 European Tour.””
Leg 4 results:
|1||Musandam-Oman Sail||Sidney Gavignet||05:11:34||3d 16h 11m 34s|
|2||Race for Water||Steve Ravussin||07:39:41||3d 18h 39m 41s|
|3||Foncia||Michel Desjoyeaux||07:57:06||3d 18h 57m 6s|
|4||Spindrift Racing||Yann Guichard||10:45:41||3d 21h 45m 41s|
|5||Groupe Edmond de Rothschild||Seb Josse||11:04:12||3d 22h 4m 12s|
Leaderboard after Leg 4
1 Foncia, FRA, Michel Desjoyeaux, FRA 225pts
2 Spindrift Racing EUR,, Yann Guichard FRA 217pts
3 Musandam-Oman Sail, OMA, Sidney Gavignet FRA 193pts
4 Race for Water SUI, Stève Ravussin, SUI 193pts
5 Groupe Edmond de Rothschild, FRA Sébastien Josse, FRA 186pts