Down to the wire in Nice
July 21 st 2018 - 19:54
After an electrifying day on the water, despite a fickle breeze, the cards have been dealt and those who are in, are in. The 10 places in tomorrow’s Super Final have been assigned following a decidedly entertaining conclusive nautical stadium day in Nice. After finishing at the back end of the fleet in today’s final the two ringleaders of the Tour, Lorina Limonade Golfe du Morbihan (on board today Kevin Peponnet, Bruno Mourniac, Tim Mourniac) and Beijaflore (Valentin Bellet, Guillaume Pirouelle, Valentin Sipan) now sit four points apart at the top of the classification, with a clear delta over the rest of the finalists, and will duel to the bitter end for victory tomorrow.
Meanwhile a win from Team Reseau Ixio today wraps up victory for them in the youth classification, where they can no longer be caught, and also mathematically assures them third place in the general rankings. Third place today for Dunkerque Voile, one of just four strictly amateur teams competing, sees them clinch the tenth and final ticket to the Super Final on their very first Tour Voile outing, as well as the overall win in the amateur classification.
It comes down to a numbers game in the end: if Lorina Limonade can keep their cool and finish ahead of Beijaflore they will claim victory. Things are a little more complicated for Beijaflore who need to conclude tomorrow’s final four points ahead of Lorina Limonade in order to finish on equal points with them and claim victory on countback. That means putting at least one boat between them and their nearest rivals – easier said than done.
Behind the top three a heated battle for the last two places in the top five will unfold between #SailingArabia, Lorina Mojito and Cheminees Poujoulat - currently fourth to sixth respectively and separated by just five points.
The organisers of the Tour Voile 2018 couldn’t have dreamt up a more exciting penultimate day of sailing off Nice’s old town if they had planned it. This was the final chance for the competing teams to make the cut and gain one of the ten coveted places in tomorrow’s Super Final, so the tension was palpable heading into the qualification rounds for today’s Nautical Stadium final. A match race was expected between overall leaders Lorina Limonade Golfe du Morbihan and Beijaflore, who sat just 3 points behind them this morning. What actually happened was a first start where both of the leaders, perhaps taking some extra risks in order to tuck away precious point before the Super Final, were disqualified for being over the line early. Luckily for them mother nature then decided to intervene and a wind shift caused the start to be cancelled and a new starting signal sounded minutes later.
All the usual suspects, who have been consolidating their positions at the top of the classification over the past few days, were present on the final starting line – with the exception of Lorina Mojito Golfe du Morbihan who consequently slipped down a place in the general rankings behind the #SailingArabia team which took a brilliant second place today. Rather than watching the two leaders mark each other around the course, spectators and supporters on the Promenade des Anglais saw the young sailors of Team Reseau Ixio take control of the fleet by the first downwind gate and make good, solid decisions throughout to cross the line unchallenged. Behind them Dunkirque Voile held second place for most of the race, but succumbed to the greater experience of #SailingArabia, skippered by Britain’s Stevie Morrison, who squeezed past them at the final downwind mark.
Meanwhile our heroes floundered in the light air at the back of the fleet, searching for the puffs of breeze their adversaries were able to take advantage of, with Lorina Limonade finishing sixth and Beijaflore way, way back in seventh.
Racing for places 11 to 26 will start at 11 a.m. tomorrow with the Super Final scheduled for 3 p.m.
Robin Follin, skipper Team Réseau Ixio: “We wanted this win in the final and we fought for it. The conditions were complicated, it was very tactical and it wasn’t easy to control our adversaries who kept coming at us from all directions. But we did it, it’s a superb day for us since we’ve also gotten the victory in the youth classification.”
Valentin Bellet, skippper Beijaflore: “There is everything to play for in the Super Final. We will have a thorough debriefing tonight to identify what worked and what didn’t today and will build or strategy based on that.”
Kevin Peponnet, Lorina Limonade Golfe du Morbihan: “Tomorrow we’ll be fighting to keep our lead right to the end. We have some ideas on how we’re going to approach the Super Final. It’s going to be tough. I like the tension and the pressure!”