Because it was painful – 15+ hours of sailing upwind in 25 knots of wind and a rough sea state, because it finished late at night, because it was tight at the front. At 2.30am, TPM Coych won this third offshore leg of the Tour de France à la Voile 2012. Courrier Dunkerque 3 and Bretagne Crédit Mutuel Elite weren’t far behind.
“It was a tough leg and the tougher it is, the happier we are to be in front!” Tugdual Becquemie, co-skipper of TPM Coych, is relieved. The southern team takes a deserved victory in front of Courrier Dunkerque 3 and Bretagne Crédit Mutuel Elite – thanks to a good option at the end of this 76 miles long leg.
The wind dropped down in the seven islands after a long daytime drag race along the Brittany coast. It was time to call the tactics – something TPM was the best at.
“Eric (Péron), our navigator, picked the tide change perfectly,” adds a grateful Becquemie. “If you would head too early to the coast to make the most of the tide change, you would face the current. We went too early but understood we were loosing ground and tacked offshore again. Courrier Dunkerque and CMB stayed ashore; we won lots.”
Ranking don’t change after this coefficient 2 leg – the overall leader remains Courrier Dunkerque 3. On the amateur side, the Swiss of Ville de Genève, fifth tonight, are still fourth overall.
At the front or at the back of the fleet, all the 15 M34 went through the same tough upwind conditions. Daniel Souben, second in Roscoff, speaks of “a boat like a cork in the sea”. Slamming, banging, hiking on the rail – all crew arrived tired to the new port of Roscoff tired and looking forward to rest.
But once again there won’t be much time for that. The boats are sailing tomorrow: the start of the first technical race of the day will be given at 12.30am.
Tugdual Becquemie – co-skipper, TPM Coych
“It was a tough leg and the tougher it is, the happier we are to be in front! We struggled to start and didn’t sail well the first two hours. But we stayed motivated, reminding us not to give up. It was a long leg and these were our conditions – we like upwind sailing in strong wind.
“We came back step by step and did the good tacks. We were fast and trimmed the boat well. Then, we took the only possible option when coming closer to Perros-Guirec. Eric (Péron), our navigator, picked the tide change perfectly. If you would head too early to the coast to make the most of the tide change, you would face the current. We went too early but understood we were loosing ground and tacked offshore again. Courrier Dunkerque and CMB stayed ashore; we won lots. We took the lead at the good moment ‘cause the rich only got richer afterwards.”
Daniel Souben – skipper, Courrier Dunkerque 3
“It’s not that bad for us; we’re giving some points away to TPM but not too many – it’s fine, I’m happy. We stayed focused all along and it was exhausting.
“Sailing upwind in a rough sea state has never been a nice thing. It’s like sailing on a cork, it’s not the nicest thing. We will wait for the day to rise before to start sailing technical races again!”
Armel Le Cleac’h – navigator, Île de France
“We got to know each other ‘cause it was the first time we were sailing together. It went well, we didn’t go aground, we didn’t break the boat. That’s a good point since we sailed in the rocks quite a lot. We fought well and took a good start and pass Fréhel well. Reaching Perros, we took a little risk to sail offshore and stay in the current but that didn’t pay. Then we tried to keep our fourth place.
“We had a good laugh. We went on and on about the Figaro, the Whitbread and the Volvo with Jimmy (Pahun, skipper), who knows everything about that! We enjoyed it. We had to hike and that’s not the nicest thing ever; yet it went by quite quickly.”