Tour de France à la voile 2015 – Spindrift wins Act 7 Coastal Race in Gruissan, while CombiWest tops the leaderboard.
It’s never over until it’s over. The adage is being confirmed today after an incredible coastal race in Gruissan that saw Groupama making a costly tactical mistake resulting in an unexpected change in the rankings.
At the end of play yesterday, Groupama was the overall race leader with a 12 points margin over main rival CombiWest. Just a race later, and CombiWest is now leading by four points. What happened? A tricky weather call to make, two different options half way into the course, a big mistake from Groupama, a bit of a poker decision from CombiWest.
‘Our objective is still the same: to do well, and let them make mistakes’, said CombiWest skipper Frédéric Guilmin about their rival Groupama. He was not onboard today, but helmsman Damien Iehl and his crew did a fantastic job making the right call at the right time, to finish the race in third position. ‘It’s a crazy scenario! We knew looking at the weather forcast this morning that it wouldn’t be easy.
‘We knew the local synoptic wind Tramontana would blow, but there was a slight chance for the Seabreeze to kick in, conflicting with the Tramontana. At the mark near Valras, we were behind and we saw the leading pack going offshore choosing the sea breeze option. Groupama was with them. Then we saw Spindrift staying along the coast, chosing the Tramontana option and we went with them. We had nice breeze while the offshore group was going away from the course in lighter wind. And the gap extended. We took a risk and it paid off’, said Damien Iehl.
The Tramontana group was led by Spindrift and La France du Nord au Sud. Freeride ski champion Aurélien Ducroz who finished third in Stadium Racing yesterday in Roses, is in top form, scoring his best result so far, to climb up two places in one hit overall, from tenth to eighth. And winner of Roses Coastal Race Spindrift is back in the game for the Tour’s title.
Skipper Xavier Revil took the helm back from François Morvan today to take this team to victory, and to half the point margin overall, going from 28 to 14 points difference with first position. ‘To be honest, we were not so sure about which weather call to make, but when we saw the guys behind us tacking to stay by the coast, we thought it would be better to control the rest of the fleet than following the leading pack without having a chance to pass them… There are still five racing days until the end, so we’ll see when we get there. We are very happy with the results. It’s so nice to have a great fight when the boat and the crew work are going well’.
Tomorrow for second day of Act 7 in Gruissan, the fleet will sail in Stadium Racing format.