Race for Water claims the day
In a day of light winds on the bay off Marseille it was Stève Ravussin’s Race for Water that finished on top of the Marseille City Race series leaderboard, while honours were more or less shared evenly between the two teams which are duelling for the MOD70 European Tour title:Michel Desjoyeaux’s Foncia and Yann Guichard’s Spindrift racing.
Spindrift Racing was marginally more consistent than Foncia over the three contests sailed mostly in a light southwesterly breeze which seemed to put a higher than usual premium on starting. They finished with a first, second and fourth for the day to lie second overall two points better than Foncia which scored a fifth, a first and a third to lie just behind them third.
But with only one day of City Races left on this MOD70 European Tour, the target of Guichard and his crew – to cross Sunday’s start to the final Offshore stage to Genoa, Italy needing only to beat Foncia on the water – is looking difficult.
The City Races are scored as a regatta series (rather than accumulating points race by race over the Tour’s duration) and so Spindrift Racing now need the chance to have other teams finish between them and Foncia in the overall Marseille City Race rankings.
Spindrift Racing won the start in the first race and went on to take first gun. The second race was a longer 13.5 miles coastal race passing inshore of the Frioul islands into the Rade nord. Foncia was fastest away from the line and was the best part of half a mile ahead with the only passing opportunity coming into the final mark when Race for Water (sans Franck Cammas) slipped from last place into third and Spindrift Racing just managed to get room at the mark from Groupe Edmond de Rothschild. In the third race Ravussin’s Race for Water won and atoned for a poor start in the previous race – when they were caught flatfooted and stopped on the start gun.
Yann Guichard, skipper of Spindrift Racing commented: “It was not a bad day. We are kind of on target but there are three races left and tomorrow will be different for sure, a bit more windy from the east and it will not be the same game if the wind is stronger. We had a good start in the first race but not on the second, we had another boat above us just five seconds before the start, and that race was a follow my leader race, there was no opportunity to come back and so there was no chance to pass. Nicholas is a great sailor who knows the Marseille bay very well so it is good to have him on board, he made some good calls. The ribs are bad. I have a problem between the ribs where the muscles are all torn, so on port tack it is okay, but on starboard it is not really fantastic.”
Charles Caudrelier navigator on Foncia added: "A day of mixed results. It was a bad first race. We made a poor start Anyway, you have to take risks at the start, because after it, it goes in quick and fast and there is little opportunity to get back so you must be good in this phase of the race. Our opponent is directly ahead on the rankings so it could be better. There are still races tomorrow and we are still very close in points. And the City Races are not completely decisive, everything might go down to the last stage. But to finish ahead of them tomorrow would be nice."
Provisional standings Marseille City Races after three races
1 - Race For Water (Steve Ravussin): 11 10 12 (2nd, 3rd, 1st), 33 pts
2 - Spindrift Racing (Yann Guichard) 11 09 10 32 (1st, 4th, 2nd), 32 pts
3 - Foncia (Michel Desjoyeaux) 08 12 10 (5th, 1st, 3rd), 30 pts
4 - Musandam Oman Sail (Sidney Gavignet) 09 11, 08 (4th, 2nd, 5th), 28 pts
5 - Edmond de Rothschild (Sébastien Josse) 10 08 09 (3rd, 5th, 4th), 27 pts