Groupama 34 first into St Gilles
An early start followed by many lead changes, a bold but unsuccessful option for Nantes St Nazaire E. Leclerc before a final gybing battle - Groupama 34 won the Tour Voile leg from Lorient to St Gilles, less than a minute ahead of Bretagne Crédit Mutuel Elite with Courrier Dunkerque 3 third.
After the light morning breeze gave way to a steady westerly sea breeze, 12 M34s passed the Boeufs buoy off Noirmoutier.
"Bretagne Crédit Mutuel was in the lead but they went to one side," said a victorious Franck Cammas. “We made the most of some wind shifts and came out on top. It's good for our spirit! We were not very good at sailing in these conditions couple of months ago, we are happy we improved. We sailed a safe race unlike Bretagne Crédit Mutuel Elite. In our situation there is no place for risk."
Tanguy Cariou, Groupama 34 tactician added: "A nice finish under the sun and some good breeze from 14 to 18 knots. We left Lorient early this morning. Our strategy: manage transitions well to be in a good position for the last upwind tack."
This victory coming with a X3 co-efficient is added to Groupama 34’s two victories in previous offshore legs. The Bretagne Crédit Mutuel and Courrier Dunkerque crews were disappointed to miss the win. With Oman Sail fourth, the Ville de Genève Carrefour Addictions crew from Switzerland were delighted with their fiveth place. The first amateur crew was Martinique BE Brussels that wre sixth into St Gilles.
Nicolas Troussel, Bretagne Crédit Mutuel Elite skipper commented: "Nice run, good fight. Bretagne Crédit Mutuel Elite is in the game. But we are a little disappointed because we could have won. They caught our speed, which was a bit disappointing. We made beautiful tacks and gybes and lost out on the small technical settings. It's nice to be able to navigate as I do in the Figaro, that is to say, doing what I want to do!"
Dimitri Deruelle, tactician on Bretagne Crédit Mutuel Elite said: "We had a great battle with Groupama. We must recognise that at the beginning conditions were not doing very well. But we came back and it helped us to fight again. Before the next 25 mile downwind leg, we were in front with a bit of lead. It was exhausting but are very happy with how we sailed."
Tomorrow two in-port races will be sailed off St Gilles, weather permitting. Departure time from the dock at 11:30 with racing scheduled to start at 12:30pm.
Overall results after 19 races:
1 GROUPAMA 34, CAMMAS Franck 793 pts - Blue spinnaker
2 BRETAGNE CREDIT MUTUEL ELITE, TROUSSEL Nicolas 760 pts
3 COURRIER DUNKERQUE 3, SOUBEN Daniel 739 pts
4 SODEBO, COVILLE Thomas 722,5 pts
5 TEAM OMANSAIL, POULIGNY Cédric 703 pts
6 TOULON PROVENCE MEDITERRANEE - COYCH, BERNAZ Jean-Baptiste 625 pts
7 VILLE DE GENEVE - CARREFOUR ADDICTIONS, METTRAUX Elodie-Jane et GROUX Nicolas 618 pts
8 NANTES - SAINT NAZAIRE - E.LECLERC, DOUGUET Corentin 605 pts
9 NORMANDIE, CHOQUENET Baptiste 575 pts
10 MARTINIQUE - BE.BRUSSELS, WOLTERS Delphine et MOURES Matthieu 548 pts
11 ISKAREEN, DITTMERS Christiane et BRUHNS Sönke 531 pts
12 BIENNE - VOILE – SRS, PETER Luzius et KUNZ François 497 pts