The young guns on Lorina Mojito-Golfe du Morbihan, average age 20, showed the 40th Tour de France à la Voile crews the way around a challenging, breezy coastal race of more than 30 miles, to take their first big win as Act 2 of the nine stage opened in Fécamp, just to the east of Le Havre.
The trio, already earmarked by the French Sailing Federation as some of the best young multihull talent in a nation, lead almost all of the way around the second coastal race of the Tour, extending away from the Tour leaders Team SFS in an impressive display of raw speed.
The Mojito ‘kids’, Solene Robert, Louis Flament and Tim Mourniac, made an impressive start in 14-17kts of NWW’ly wind but it was their electric reaching and downwind speed which was key to their victory. The youthful understudies left their senior counterparts, the defending champions on Lorina Limonade-Golfe du Morbihan trailing in fourth place today.
“For once we have pulled out a win over the pro crew, so we are really pleased. Everyone did a good job. The whole race seemed to take ages but we stayed well coordinated on board. We managed to extend our lead towards the finish.” Said 21-year-old skipper helm Solune Robert who was part of the France Jeune Team for the recent Red Bull Youth America’s Cup, a past runner up in the Youth World Championships and was French F18 champion in 2015,” I think we were fast downwind because we had really good communication and feel between the trimmer and the helm.”
“Physically it was tough, it was very hard with lots of upwind and downwind sailing. It doesn’t feel too bad now but I’m sure we will feel it later.”
The young group from the Morbihan area were talent spotted but the FFV three years ago. Their training began in February alongside their senior champions. At the age of 19 Mourniac was Youth World Champion in the Nacra 15. The Mojito programme has been included in with the FFV set up so they have expert support and post regatta analysis.
Team SFS Extend Lead
For Sofian Bouvet’s Tour leading Team SFS second today extends their overall lead at the top of the General classification to ten points ahead of Fondation FDJ-Des Pieds et Des Mains (Damien Seguin and Damien Iehl).
After a slightly disappointing start in Dunkirk, Valentin Bellet’s Beijaflore Sailing grabbed third on the long coastal race which went seven miles west, upwind to Etretat, the headland which marks the east end of the Le Havre bay, fast reaching at speeds of up to 20kts back to a gate off Fécamp, tehn six miles east, returning to finish of the beach. Beijaflore’s Kiwi Olympian Jason Saunders was happy with their performance today “It was nice to be at the right end of the fleet. We were not so good in Dunkirk. We had really good speed today. We did not have the best of starts, I think we had a good feel for the boat and caught up nicely near the top of the first upwind and then really attacked on the downwind. We made good gains and are really stoked to come away with a podium there. It is tiring. The waves downwind really moved the gennaker a lot. It was good fun, just the type of racing we really like.”
Team Oman Sail finished with a slight air of disappointment at having slipped back to a seventh placed finish today having been up in third at the top end of the first beat. But their result promotes them back inside the Top 5 on the Tour standings after missing out on Sunday’s Super Final in Dunkirk,
“It’s a bit like my school report ‘could do better’’ helm Stevie Morrison admitted, “But in saying that seventh is a solid score we will probably get to Nice and consider it a useful result. “Tacking up the sandbank to start with was hard with 30 boats like this, there were good shifts on the shore and if you could get in a good rhythm it was good. There were some big waves at the headlands and so you had to watch where you manoeuvred.
We were second when we got back to Fécamp but we felt like we were not so fast and having to stick our elbows out and defend rather than attack the young lads who got away a bit.” Morrison concluded.
There was disappointment for the young British Maverick Team who had to retire early in the race when the top gudgeon on one of their rudders detatched itself from the hull float.
by A.S.O./Tour de France à la voile