Vivacar.fr-Cefim skippered on home waters by Mathieu Souben won the 36 nautical miles Coastal Race of Act 4 of the 40th Tour de France à Voile to become the fourth different team to have won a long race, coastal discipline since the annual French tour classic started in Dunkirk on July 7th.
For France’s big holiday weekend, the Fete National, the famous Golfe du Morbihan and the Baie de Quiberon were at their picture postcard best as thousands took to the water to enjoy the warm summer sunsh ine and light winds. The region which has produced dozens of the proud sailing nation’s world beating racers such as Armel Le Cléac’h, Yann Eliès and Jéremie Beyou welcomed the modern Tour Voile for the first time since it evolved to its inshore Diam24 version and the seventh time in its 40 editions.
Vivacar.com Cefim’s Souben grinned, “ The first victory always feels good. It’s great to put one on the meter. We see this as a home win because we all grew up on this bay of Quiberon. The course was complicated. We fought from start to finish. The first attack we launched at the beginning of the bay of Quiberon. We stole the chance to get round Houat three lengths ahead of Tahiti and we kept these three lengths until the finish. It was real boat for boat contact racing. It is always stressful to have a crew behind you but these are the best kind of race to win. And to win here is fabulous. The level is right up there. It was close and stressful to the end and these are the best kind of race to win.”
Hosted from bustling Arzon, Port du Crouesty the Coastal Race took the 29 crews south into Quiberon Bay to round the beautiful little island of Houat, just 4kms by 1.5kms, lying to the SE of the tip of the Quiberon peninsula. Tresors de Tahiti skippered by Teva Plichart and Vivacars.fr were among those who benefited most from the left on the long outwards six miles first beat as the sea breeze came in earlier than some expected, swinging the breeze right. That plus extra current allowed the boats on the left to rise up to the island while some on the right overstood. Vivacars and Tahiti lead the early breakaway peloton of five boats.
As the light breeze built during the afternoon, delivering a perfect champagne sea breeze finish in 12kts of wind and summer full strength sunshine, Vivacars.fr could not be caught by Tresors de Tahiti and the pacemakers took first and second.
Five boats were over the start line early. Among them was Damien Seguin and Damien Ihel’s Fondation FDJ-Des Pieds and Des Mains. They fought back to 11th place on the water but that result sees them give up second place overall to Tresors du Tahiti. Neither was it a good day for the Tour leaders Team SFS. They were 15th at the first mark, Benigeuets and chipped away to take tenth at the finish line but their lead over the ascendant Tahiti is now just 11 points.
Noé Delpech of Team SFS responded, “ It was the worst day since the start of the Tour. It’s hard to get up there. We were not going so fast, most particularly at the start of the race. Then our tactics were not good. We tried to take risks to get back into the game. And the risk-taking did not pay. Soon you are paying twice the price. We then continued to attack to no effect. In the end we did something average. It is not a catastrophe but it’s not good. We will try to do better in the next few days. ‘.
Stevie Morrison and Thierry Douillard’s Team Oman Sail returned a consistent day. On the wrong side of the first split they chased hard for a useful sixth place which now gives them exactly the same points aggregate as third placed Fondation FDJ.
“Things are going in the right direction for sure. Today was not really that exciting. We were just on the wrong side of that first break when the wind swung and we were suddenly up to layline for the island with miles to go. But I say it is better to have a boring sixth like we had than an exciting eighth.” Commented Morrison. “This is all about the long game. We are not even half way through the Tour so we are happy to be able to be reasonably consistent. There are always little niggling things which are annoying and frustrating, but all in all it’s OK.”
Vivacar.fr are skippered by Souben, a team newly formed for this season under the coaching and management of three times Tour winner Daniel Souben who previously trained young multihull sailors on Morbihan bay. Son Matthieu has trained since 2000 at the Pôle Quiberon and sailed the 2011 Transat Jacques Vabre with Lionel Lemonchois. Third in the coastal race in Dunkirk, their win today takes Vivacars.fr to fifth on the Tour leaderboard.
After two wins in Jullouville, the local favourites – 2016 champions Team Lorina Limonade-Golfe du Morbihan finished third to continue their comeback trail, now seventh overall.
Hugo Rocha’s New Territories team hold their station just inside the top 20 on the overall leaderboard, while GBR’s Team Maverick SSR lie 26th overall, only just making the start line today after having to make repairs to their cracked main hull.
Act 4 racing continues with Nautical Stadium Racing Sunday before the Tour Voile moves Monday, Tuesday to the Vendée Globe pontoon in Les Sables d’Olonne’s Port Olonna.
by A.S.O./Tour de France à la voile