Victory for Sodebo into Brest
“Everyone wanted to win that one,” said skipper Thomas Coville after his Sodebo won the leg of the Tour de France a la Voile between Deauville and Brest this afternoon. “It was the longest one, crossing the English Channel downwind, in strong current and fighting hard with Nicolas Troussel on Bretagne. It was the dream leg and it changed the game too.
‘’We fought until the end. Jean-Luc Nélias got us started and the team gave it all to fight Nicolas Troussel and his guys. They really wanted to win as well. This is the proof that nothing is done: even the leaders are at doubt today and that’s the spirit of the Tour de France. At dawn we crossed ahead of Nicolas Troussel but he caught us back thanks to a great option. Nicolas is a true warrior, who never gives up and always keeps trying. An unpredictable boy, he never lets go. I like him a lot for that. He attacked us until the final channel and it was a great fight.”
Coville’s crew was the first to cross the line at 15:07 local time in Brest after 28 hours of sailing in 15 to 25 knots of northeasterly wind.
The fleet set sail from Deauville on a tight reach to Barfleur, followed by a tense run downwind north around the top of the Cherbourg peninsula, arriving before the tidal gate at Cape Blanchard. In the middle of the night they then sailed southwest, threading their way through the Channel Islands under spinnakers, the crews keeping their eyes peeled.
Sodebo and Bretagne Crédit Mutuel Elite owe their success to a night time tactical decision. Both teams opted for an offshore route in search of more wind. At dawn Sodebo crossed ahead of Groupama 34 and Courrier Dunkerque 3, with Bretagne Crédit Mutuel right behind her.
“Nicolas pulled what we've come to call ‘a Troussel’: managing to find wind better than the others,” said helmsman Félix Pruvot. “It put us back in the game. This was a leg for Bretagne, because we are took hold of the offshore leader’s green spinnaker.”
Troussel himself explained: “Everything happened at the Portsall mark. Sodebo did a great tack and left us behind. We came back on them in the Four and were right behind them at Vieux Moines. Afterwards we didn’t get more opportunities to come back. We are really happy with our race anyway and leading the offshore ranking is great news.”
Sunburnt and tired, the sailors faces speak to how happy they are to see the leaderboard shaken up at last. Franck Cammas' Groupama 34 is still leading overall but their fourth place on a leg with a X5 co-efficient has reduced their lead: Bretagne Crédit Mutuel is now 27 points behind and Courrier Dunkerque 40 points. Sodebo is now fourth overall while Team OmanSail, 8th today, are up to fifth.
The amateur crew on Martinique BE Brussels finished will in sixth place today but are not leading the amateur ranking yet; Normandie keeps the pink spinnaker.
Leaderboard after 14 races:
1 GROUPAMA 34, CAMMAS Franck 577 pts - Blue Spinnaker
2 BRETAGNE CREDIT MUTUEL ELITE, TROUSSEL Nicolas 550 pts
3 COURRIER DUNKERQUE 3, SOUBEN Daniel 537 pts
4 SODEBO, COVILLE Thomas 529,9 pts
5 TEAM OMANSAIL, POULIGNY Cédric 508 pts
6 TOULON PROVENCE MEDITERRANEE - COYCH, BERNAZ Jean-Baptiste 467 pts
7 VILLE DE GENEVE - CARREFOUR ADDICTIONS, METTRAUX Elodie-Jane and GROUX Nicolas 457 pts
8 NANTES - SAINT NAZAIRE - E.LECLERC, DOUGUET Corentin 452 pts
9 NORMANDIE, CHOQUENET Baptiste 403 pts
10 MARTINIQUE - BE.BRUSSELS, WOLTERS Delphine and MOURES Matthieu 392 pts
11 ISKAREEN, DITTMERS Christiane and BRUHNS Sönke 390 pts
12 BIENNE - VOILE – SRS, PETER Luzius and KUNZ François 358 pts
Offshore ranking after 4 races before jury:
1 BRETAGNE CREDIT MUTUEL ELITE, TROUSSEL Nicolas 335 pts - Green Spinnaker
2 GROUPAMA 34, CAMMAS Franck 331 pts
3 COURRIER DUNKERQUE 3, SOUBEN Daniel 313 pts(...)