10th sept : press release /The Figaro-Bénéteau are heading toward Piriac sur Mer
Vendredi 11 Septembre 2009 06:59
The 34 duets of the Tour de Bretagne à la voile left Brest this morning at 9h38 sharp. After one and one only valid start, the sailing yachts set sail toward the bottleneck of Brest Roads with their spinnalers hoisted, before turning to the Raz de Sein and head toward Loire-Atlantique for a last stopover in Piriac-sur-mer, small detour in the historical Britanny. First at the Raz, Eric Drouglazet and Laurent Pellecuer, the race leaders were still to be spotted in the leading pack whilst the ships were following the Southern coastline of Britanny, propelled by their spinnakers.
Winners of the two windward-leewards races in Brest Roads, the crew from Luisina had a 12 points lead on Bbox Bouygues Telecom (Fred Duthil and François Lebourdais) prior to the final two legs of the event. « On principle, Eric (Drouglazet) doesn’t want to keep a hold on our adversaries, but we might not help doing it» informed Laurent Pellecuer before setting sail from the Breton harbor. « Only once we’ve reached St Nazaire and passed the SNA mark could we say whether the race is going well or if there’s an urgent need for saving points. »
On his own side, François Lebourdais knows that, with Fred Duthil, they will have to leave Luisina far behind twice if they want to keep hope for the final victory. « We’ll put it up a gear today ! » warned the Melges 24 and Farr 30 monotypes specialist helmsman. Fifth overall with Jean Le Cam, Nicolas Lunven reckons that « this stage shall not be too complicated, but it doesn’t mean that it will be an easy leg. This might make for some surprises in the ranking. »
For the tenors as well as for the other competitors, the accumulation of racing days is heavy on the bodies. Cherbourgeois Rolf Toulorge, holding a fair 15th place with Bruno James on his ship, Audition Santé, recalls that the Brest - Piriac leg takes place on the « fifth day of race. In that leg, physical condition will be quite important. One shall have kept some good condition for the end of the leg. Lucidity is what will make the difference over the last miles. »
In the afternoon, Race Overseer Loïc Ponceau was confirming sunny but tough conditions favouring the strong arm men of the circuit, seating in the outposts. « The Figaro-Bénéteau are sailing on close quarter. Up to the Toulinguet. They are sailig a good 10 knots, making them ahead on the ETA, calculated prior to the start for an arrival by 9AM on Friday morning. »
The Tour de Bretagne, a physical competition
The Tour de Bretagne is standing out in the Figaro-Bénéteau circuit, for it is sailed with a double crew and on coastal courses. Ran on a low points system, over 7 races including 5 legs and 2 windward-leeward courses in Brest Roads, only 2 weeks after the arrival of the Solitaire du Figaro, it remains a competition for perfectly fit sailors.
« After the Solitaire du Figaro, I feel like I get tired faster. » declares Nicolas Lunven, winner of the race on CGPI. « The first legs of the Tour de Bretagne were more complicated navigationwise, and Wednesday’s windward-leeward courses were quite demanding physically». « The Tour de Bretagne sets a rythm much closer to the Tour de France à la voile than to the Solitaire du Figaro. There’s also the exhaustion due to the ending season, but it’s a nice and quite motivating race! » reckons on his side Matthieu Girolet (Entreprendre - Lafont Presse). Second rookie on the Solitaire and leading this ranking with Fabien Delahaye on Port de Caen Ouistreham, Paul Meilhat supplements: « The race being ran on short courses, the excitement caused by these legs encourages us not to feel the exhaustion ». Winner of the Tour de France in rookie division, François Lebourdais (Bbox Bouygues Telecom) strengthens : « It’s quite a physical race. So, after a few days, we end up being wasted. »
ON Saturday evening, after the arrival in La Trinité-sur-mer, competitors will have plenty of time for recovering, after their ending the summer around Britanny, memories, images, and a couple of aches, but « we are having a lot of fun on this race. It’s a nice adventure, and it feels weird to know that in a couple of days, the race will be over » closes English sailor Jonny Malbon.
They said... out at sea
Loïc Ponceau – 5PM : « We are right off the Glénans with a Northeastern 18 - 20 knots. The sea is quite soft, but it’s hitting hard offshore. A great sunny sky is bathing us. There’s a little gap, but not quite significant for the leaders. The Figaro-Bénéteau are sailing on close-quarter with the spinnaker until the Toulinguet. They are doing a fair 10 knots or so, making them ahead on the original ETA calculated prior to the start for an arrival by 9AM in Piriac on Friday morning. »
Zoom on the general ranking on departure from Brest
Si Luisina (Eric Drouglazet - Laurent Pellecuer) alongside Bbox Bouygues Telecom (Fred Duthil - François Lebourdais) have been on the podium since Perros Guirec, some competitors have decreased the gap with the leader. Like Renault Arcadie (Ronan Treussart - Thibaut Vachel-Camus), hoisting himself up from the 9th to 3rd place after the two windward-leeward races in Brest Roads ;or Défi Mousquetaires (Thomas Rouxel - Sébastien Josse) coming from 8th to 4th.
Others have suffered a few misfortunes and lost precious positions, such as ESPOIR REGION BRETAGNE (François Gabart - Jean-François Cuzon) and CGPI (Nicolas Lunven - Jean le Cam).
Then, there are those who proove a flawless consistency. The discreet but efficient duets of SENOBLE (Arnaud Philippe-Godart et Yannick Le Clech), SAMSUNG MOBILE (Joseph Brault - Antoine Koch) maintain respectively a 10th and 13th position, like TRIER C'EST PRESERVER (Laurent Gouezigoux-Etienne Svilarich) and SUZUKI AUTOMOBILES (Thierry Chabagny-Alexis Littoz) 12th and 6th.
On the rookies’ side
The duet made of the first and second rookies from the Solitaire du Figaro on PORT DE CAEN - OUISTREHAM (Fabien Delahayes-Paul Meilhat) preserve a solid 9th, while the second rookie, ILIDAN (Antoine Carraz-Johan Barbarin) distinguish themselves with a fair 15th. Third upon arrival in Brest, AGIR RECOUVREMENT (Adrien Hardy-Dominique Hardy) gives way to ESPOIRS HABITABLES BAIE DE MORLAIX (Damien Cloarec - Guillaume Rivoalen) 17th.
They said ... before leaving Brest
Adrien Hardy – 18th on Agir Recouvrement with Dominique Hardy : "It’s going to be fast ! Conditions won’t be that easy, even if there’s not much to do regarding the strategy. It’s going to be straightforward. Being in good position for the exit form Brest Roads and the scoring by the Raz de Sein will be quite important. We are a bit tired, but the fast is fast on this point. It’s going to be nice! "
Rolf Toulorge – 15th on Audition Santé with Bruno James : "We’re going to have a bit less wind than forecasted yesterday. It’s the « fifth day of race. In that leg, physical condition will be quite important. One shall have kept some good condition for the end of the leg. Lucidity is what will make the difference over the last miles. »
Antoine Koch – 13th - Samsung Mobile with Joseph Brault : "Yesterday’s racing was pretty exhausting. It follows on quite good. It’s going to be quite a physical leg. The wind is going to pick up, it will go pretty fast. By the end, we are going to have to change sails a few times, and it will all end up with some tacking. We are still in good condition; it’s more relaxed than the Solitaire. With Joseph, we have come for having fun and sailing together. That’s the most important part. "
Jean-François Cuzon and François Gabart – 11th - Espoir Région Bretagne : "It’s going to be quite sporty until the Raz de Sein, jibes, lots of rocks to pass by. There will be a lot of gambling, it will be fun. On the other hand, after Audierne Bay, we’ll all be on the same tack, in a single file, for a straight run. It kind of reminds me of the second leg of the Solitaire du Figaro. The wind will ease up, but it will pick back by tonight, and we’ll end up being shaken a bit!"
Jonny Malbon – 27th- Artemis with Nick Bubb : " It will be a long offshore race. We had a nice day yesterday, and I hope it will keep that way tonight and overnight. We are very dynamic, which is perfect! Yesterday was very windy and we’ve done some pretty good work. Today will be pretty much the same, about 20 reaching knots. We’ll see if we can keep within the leading pack today. We are having a lot of fun on this race. It’s a nice adventure, and it feels weird to know that in a couple of days, the race will be over."
Nicolas Lunven – 5th sur CGPI with Jean le Cam : « We are happy we were able to sleep an extra hour and half this morning. After the Solitaire du Figaro, I feel like I am getting tired a bit faster. The first legs were a bit more complicated navigationwise. Wednesday’s windward-leeward courses were physically demanding. Today, we’re setting sail for a long leg. Anyway, all legs are dangerous. And even if this stage shall not be too complicated, but it doesn’t mean that it will be an easy leg. This might make for some surprises in the ranking. »
Arnaud Godart - Senoble : « We are satisfied with our race opening. We’ll keep on trying to continue our Tour de Bretagne without any incident. Saling double is great for improving our sailing skills on this boat and work on the settings. I am starting to get to know my sails now, and so we are quite in the game. One has to give 100% of oneself to the boat, but that’s sports ! I have recovered quite well after the Solitaire du Figaro, so I’m in quite a good condition. We’ll try to make a good stage. We will try not to get a Z on the start, and sail fair and smooth. »
Matthieu Girolet - Entreprendre (Lafont Presse) : « I have entered the Tour de France à la voile this summer. And the Tour de Bretagne sets a rythm much closer to the Tour de France à la voile than to the Solitaire du Figaro. There’s also the exhaustion due to the ending season, but it’s a nice and quite motivating race! It goes on well. Onboard, the roles have been distributed quite well. For this leg, Alexandre Toulorge will be in charge of the navigation. The wind shall hold for a while and ease up on the arrival. If the committee has gone for a longer course, it means they think it will be fast, which is perfect! What is interesting in this race is the change of size between the legs, their intensity, making it a different game each time. Since it’s the end of the season, it’s great to be sailing double, but it doesn’t make for an easier exercise. »
Paul Meilhat - Port de Caen Ouistreham : « We’re still feeling the exhaustion from the Solitaire du Figaro, that’s why we’re a bit tired. But the race being ran on short courses, the excitement caused by these short legs encourages us not to feel the exhaustion Especially since I have been in charge of the maneuvers since Saint Malo. Courses are quite demanding. Yesterday, on Brest Roads, it was the climax of the thing. It’s quite tough at the end of the day. All the more since they were my first windward-leeward courses sailing a Figaro ! »
Tual Le Guillerm - Côtes d'Armor : « We’ve had some trouble at the beginning of the Tour de Bretagne. But we’re back on our tracks now. We’ve set the mast further back to give it more rake following the advice of the circuit performers. Now, we shall be able to go faster. They are nice races, but it’s tough. The Figaro-Bénéteau is designed quite well for the race with a minimum crew, so everything is fine. We’ll try to sail well until the end. But for now, we get along quite well with Oswenn Le Foll. Eveything’s going fine ! »
François Lebourdais - Bbox Bouygues Telecom : «We’ll put it up a gear today ! It’s quite a physical race, that’s why after a few days, we end up a bit wrecked. Even if you go t obed early, we’re starting to feel a bit tired. Today is going to be quite a physical day. We’ll sail close-quarter, spinnaker or not… And it’s going to be a close call. »