Wednersday, the 9th september

Third stage - The arrival in Brest

Thierry Chabagny and Alexis Littoz winners in Brest,
Eric Drouglazet and Laurent Pellecuer second
for the stage and taking the overall lead

Thierry Chabagny and Alexis Littoz stood out by the middle of the afternon in Brest Roads for the third stage of the Tour de Bretagne à la Voile. The 34 Figaro-Bénéteau have left Perros-Guirrec on Monday evening, and have reached the Aber-Wrac'h by night to then head toward Brest by dawn and in the mist. At the end of this third stage, victory went to the crew of Suzuki Automobiles ahead from Luisina (Drouglazet & Pellecuer) who now take the lead of the overall ranking.

After a whole night of motorised convoying, and a stopover in the Aber-Wrac'h marina, Loïc Ponceau, race overseer, and Jean Coadou, Race Committee Chairman;, gave competitors a fresh start by dawn this Tuesday morning. On the third attempt, Race Committee had to flash seven crews in forbidden position beyond the start line prior to the liberating gunshot. Those seven, including the winner of both first legs, sailboat Espoir Région Bretagne steered by François Gabart and Jean-François Cuzon, were penalized by 7 points.

«We left under the black flag on the 4th attempt » remembered Eric Drouglazet. « From the Grand Basse de Portsall to Swansea Vale and until we reached tne entrance of Camaret, we were in the mist. In Portsall, we took the lead and, when the mist cleared up, we were fifth. So, we went South looking for the synoptic win. We jibed with Suzuki and took a kick in the bottom with the current. That's the whole story!» Luisina's skipper, teamed up with Laurent Pellecuer is now the new leader of the race after the first three stages. « Even without penalties, we would still be first overall, for we only were 6 or 7 points to make up for » he insists for pointing out.

If the story turns out fine for the pink spinnaker of Luisina, so does it for the white one from Suzuki Automobile of Thierry Chabagny and Alexis Littoz. The Figaro Bénéteau's full-time skipper and his crew coming from match-racing won the leg thanks to a wonderful maneuver initiated by the match-racer. «We jibe at the exact right moment before entering the bottleneck [NdT: to Brest Roads] » Thierry explains. «Victory for this leg must have been played on this perfectly placed jibe for slipping ahead and winning a 2 to 3 lengths advance that we managed to keep until the finish line. » Alexis fills in.

Behind both these crews, the rookies from de Port de Caen Ouistreham hit the third step, but they end up being penalized by 7 points as well. « We were up for it ! On that type of leg, it was really important to take a good start, but we ended up trapped in the dying current» Fabien Delahaye, who points out that a place among the first ten still is a good position in a race that is played by the low points rules, explains. Tenth in Brest, François Gabart and Jean-François Cuzon pile up 17 points on that stage, and loose their advantage in the overall ranking. They end up fifths, 8 points far from Luisina. "We took an early start, and then we tore out our spinnaker while we were in 5th position. 7 points penalty and 5 points for the spi, that's a lot for one single day. But we are still fifths overall, halfway down the race, and tomorrow we'll give everything for the courses in Brest Roads. Jef is a local! And anyone can take a penalty before the end of the race. So, everything is fine! " François Gabart comments.
For the rookies, Fabien Delahaye and brestois Paul Meilhat onboard Port de Caen Ouistreham keep the lead.

This Wednesday, the 34 crews will stay in Brest and struggle on two courses within Brest Roads, that might turn the rankings upside down. Two years ago, on the two courses ran in Douarnenez Bay, Eric Douglazet, who was then teaming up with Jean-Pierre Nicol, was in the overall leading position... and then found himself tenth at the end of an epic day. « We'd better be good on those windward-leeward courses on Wednesday in Brest. It's a really risky day » warns Laurent Pellecuer.


They said...on the arrival in Brest

Thierry Chabagny - 1st onboard SuzukiAutomobiles : « Great! ... We jibe at the exact right moment before entering the bottleneck [NdT: to Brest Roads] Right before that, we were within the first five with Port de Caen and Défi Mousquetaire. And then it eased down. We didn't go too deep toward Camaret, and passed three boats in a row thanks to this 20 meters gap. And for the other, it started buffering in the Southern pass. And behind us, Eric Drouglazet managed to come back to the second position. It was right by the time the thermal breeze starts picking up, making the final approach a bit tense. »

Alexis Littoz - 1st onboard Suzuki Automobiles : « It wasn't easy. It kept very tight until the very end. Three hour prior to our arrival, the mist cleared up, we had no idea where we were in the fleet... It was all set on the final 8 miles. Then, the game consisted to enter Brest Roads inside the leading pack. When it turned out to be the right time for jibing, I invited Thierry to do it. Victory for this leg must have been played on this perfectly placed jibe for slipping ahead and winning a 2 to 3 lengths advance that we managed to keep until the finish line. »

Eric Drouglazet - 2nd onboard Luisina : «We left under the black flag on the 4th attempt. From the Grand Basse de Portsall to Swansea Vale and until we reached tne entrance of Camaret, we were in the mist. In Portsall, we took the lead and, when the mist cleared up, we were fifth. So, we went South looking for the synoptic win. We jibed with Suzuki and took a kick in the bottom with the current. That's the whole story!»

Laurent Pellecuer - 2nd onboard Luisina : «We'd better be good on those windward-leeward courses on Wednesday in Brest. It's a really risky day, especially for me, since I haven't sailed such courses with such a level this year...»

Fabien Delahaye - 3rd onboard Port de Caen Ouistreham : «We were up for it ! On that type of leg, it was really important to take a good start, but we ended up trapped in the dying current. For the 4th start under the black flag, we took some more risks. We knew there would be some wind on the line, but we had taken reliable marks. We were then 4th or 5th at the clearing. And we spend the whole race in the leading pack of 5. We end the leg with a 7 points penalty, but that makes us one leg finishing among the first ten. »

François Gabart - 10th onboard Espoir Région Bretagne : " We took an early start, and then we tore out our spinnaker while we were in 5th position. 7 points penalty and 5 points for the spi, that's a lot for one single day. But we are still fifths overall, halfway down the race, and tomorrow we'll give everything for the courses in Brest Roads. Jef is a local! And anyone can take a penalty before the end of the race. So, everything is fine! "

Oswenn le Foll - 19th onboard Côtes d'Armor : « We have been sailing together in Match-racing series for 5 years now, so we know each other quite well and that our main asset. We do things out of habit, we work pretty much the same way. That's why we're complementing each other for steering, for tactics or for managing the boat. We don't control 100% of the speed of the boat. What I appreciate with this race is that we try some options before the others, and sometimes risky, but we really like doing what we believe in. I still lack a few reflexes rgarding the settings of the sails and mast for going faster. »

Arnaud Godart - Philippe -13th onboard Senoble : "We haven't seen anything coming down from the Foue. It was really a nice contact regatta, but without seing that contact! We came out of it fine. 13th in Brest 8th entering the bottleneck. We had a great time. When the mist cleared up, i twas gorgeous. We slept for 3 1/2 hours in the Aber Wrac'h marina. This tour de Bretagne makes me works on the boat's settings, and the speed. It's a good practice and makes me renew with the crew while sailing a Figaro. »

Antoine Carraz - 7th onboard Ilidan : « We were fine at the start. We passed the clearing buoy in 8th position. By St Matthieu's Point, we caught up with the leading boats. It was really tight, we managed passing one boat after the other. It's our first time sailing a Figaro together in a regatta. When the others pass us, we look at their settings and we start learning... And struggling with the best ones! "

Vianney Jacquier - 24 th onboard Alhyange Acoustique : « We were fine to begin with, maybe we pulled it too much among the rocks.It was a great stage. Pierre was one of my instructors at the Institut Nautique de Bretagne and he has sailed Figaros, including an AG2R transat. He has a lot of things to teach me about the preparation to navigation, streams and the Figaro. Everything onboard is great. »

Gwenolé Bernard - 29 th onboard Ito Marine : « We took a wrong start, we take a 20% penalty. We still work on discovering the Figar, we have had times handling the speed. I am a naval architecture student, and Vincent works in a shipyard. We are good friends first of all. We found th eboat, some firends gave us a hand, we manage to find the budget, and there we are ! Our main objective is offshore racing. The Tour de Bretagne is the best race format, from regattas to coastal courses. A good training is necessary when you see how good these guys are. Our objective is to race while keeping our jobs on the side. »

Fred Duthil - 9 th onboard Bbox Bouygues Telecom : « There might be some clearing up to be done on tomorrow's both windward-leeward legs. »

Adrien Hardy - 21 th onboard Agir Recouvrement : « We had a good bight in spite of everything. We could take some sleep before leaving again by the Aber Wrac'h. Then we took 4 stats. We were all up for it! After the actual start, it was a bit more difficult and just after the Basse of Portsall, we headed offshore and we lost it all. There must have been hardly two boats behind us. But we managed to finish well, since we must be 17th or 18th. I am a bit disappointed, for I'd like to make one leg among the first ten. On the water, it's clearly a two categories race, even though we live really tense arrivals. It was eventually a great stage! »