Beijaflore completed the dream Dieppe double when they won today’s fast, exciting Stadium Racing Final, their second of the 41st Tour Voile.
The young team skippered by Valentin Bellet which wear the colours of a Paris based management consultancy which are long time sailing supporters, now lead the tour to Barneville-Carteret, on the west coast of the Cherbourg peninsula with a cushion of ten pts.
Atop the Act 2 podium The 26 years old Beijaflore skipper said, “The only race we won today was the Final, so that is perfect! We made a careful start in the Final so as not to risk being disqualified. We found an opening in the first downwind under gennaker that got us right into it. So Act 2 in Dieppe has been very positive for us. But this does not mean that we will be lose focus. We will keep the same fighting spirit for the rest of the Tour.”
If the conditions yesterday for the 23 nautical miles Coastal Race were frustratingly benign, especially given the strong tidal current on the field of play, there was a welcome reward for the 26 teams today when the N’ly wind puffed up to 16-17kts at times. That the breeze brought a cool chill to the spectators on the Dieppe Plage was scarcely perceived as the action was fast and frenetic. With starts and finishes just metres from the sharply shelving pebble beach, this was the very essence of what the ‘new gen’ Tour Voile is, fast, fun and in your face. In the brisker, breezier conditions sharp, fast starting was even more crucial as was staying out of trouble around on the busy mark roundings. After a 12th in the coastal race yesterday and so needing a good, solid qualifying series and a top result in the Stadium Final, Stevie Morrison, Thierry Douillard and the #sailingarabia crew could not hit the qualifying consistency required.
In the big push to get off the start line fast three boats were over early in front of them in their Race 2 of qualifying. That compromised their first leg and contributed to a disappointing seventh.
That left #sailingarabia needing to beat CER 2 Ville de Geneve by four places in the last qualifying race. Crossing in third with the Swiss flagged team in sixth left them one place shy of making the final. But they leave Dieppe in third overall on the 41st Tour Voile leaderboard, ten points off second placed and 20 off the lead. Development crew Team Oman Sail lead by Pierre Le Clainche are in tenth. “Our starts were just not so good today. Out positioning was not great in the last minute and the launches were just not so good.” Explained Mat Richard, the #sailingarabia tactician, “We had a good start in the first race but in all the other races we started behind and had to catch up. On the tour you have these ups and downs. In Dunkirk we had a good start with 4.2.2 and here we are not so good. That is the nature of this tour, you need good results all the time.”
Helm Stevie Morrison added: “It was a tough day. We are not quite accelerating fast enough and we are maybe not aggressive enough in our positioning. There was some pin end bias and too often we maybe started in the middle or toward the windward end but it is that risk-reward things. You see with IXIO they got a black flag. It’s a juggling act and today we dropped the ball a bit.”
“It was hugely frustrating yesterday because we were leading and I felt like we did not do much wrong. But overall we have a good feeling on board, we are sailing smoothly round the course. If we can get to the first mark we can move away and get a good result.”
If it was not the final day in Dieppe that the #sailingarabia team wanted they can take some little solace in the fact it a good Stadium Racing day for Sandro Lacan’s young Team Réseau IXIO team. The winners of the first and last day in Dunkirk did not finish their third race after a collision with Pink Lady – Pays de L’Or – Hérault damaged their bow. Then, as a consequence when they had to push the risk-reward equation harder they were disqualified from the last qualifying race for jumping the start gun. So the team which was formed round members of last year’s Team France Jeune crew missed out on the stadium final for the first time and drop to fourth on the leaderboard.
One other top team which will not be rushing back to Dieppe for their holidays will be Bernard Stamm’s Swiss flagged Cheminées Poujoulat. They came back off the canvas today after 21st in the coastal race and were firing on all cylinders in Qualifying but started early in the Final and now lie ninth overall.
Stamm said: “It was tough luck because in qualifying we did not use up too much energy. Now we need to score points to get back on terms. It is a pity today because some of our near rivals also had did badly today.”
The Finagaz prize which is awarded to the team which shows the best fighting spirit was awarded to Team France Jeune skippered by Baptiste Hulin and Gauthier Germain. Top of the Amateur standings are Dunkerque Voile while Team Réseau XIO still lead the Youth standings.
Gauthier Germain (Team France Jeune) said, “Here we really have succeeded. Twice we have finished on the podium. Making it to the Final is no longer just a bonus we are competing. And now the football match tonight. Hopefully tomorrow afternoon in Barneville-Carteret we can get some rest!”
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by A.S.O. / Tour Voile