Top entertainment in Tour Voile 2018

July 25 th 2018 - 11:35

Pro-sailors alongside youth promises and seedling amateur talents prove variety really is the spice of sailing.

After a gruelling seven-leg excursion comprising 14 race days and stretching from Dunkirk in the north of France to the Cote d’Azur in the south, Lorina Limonade Golfe du Morbihan were crowned champions of the 2018 Tour Voile. Vying for the leadership of the classification for the duration of the Tour, Lorina Limonade Golfe du Morbihan and Beijaflore entered the seventh and final Act in Nice neck-and-neck, with the “Limonadiers” holding a tenuous advantage. Each team had just one shot left in the Super Final race to decide their fates in the culmination of a uniquely demanding sailing event.

The 41st edition of the event ran from 6 to 22 July and visited seven locations that are part of the fabric of French sailing: Dunkirk, Dieppe, Barneville-Carteret, Baden-Golfe du Morbihan, Gruissan, Hyères and Nice. This year’s focus on holding the races just metres from the shoreline and providing live commentary for the public meant that great numbers of enthusiasts and holidaymakers took part in the Tour Voile experience in each location.

Varying between Coastal Raids of up to 50 miles and Nautical Stadium days with a series of rapid-fire windward-leeward qualification races before the all-important daily final, the Tour had something for everyone, in terms of both sailors and spectators. A fact that was reflected in the range of teams that made their way to the top of the classifications over the course of the event. Many of the youth teams - so numerous that they enjoyed their own separate classification - as well as teams new to the event and amateur crews, featured among the top eight boats in the daily finals. And many even created their fair share of upset for the seasoned Tour veterans they encountered there.

After two weeks of taxing competition in this whistle-stop tour, no less than four of the 10 Super Finalists were youth teams, including third-place finisher overall Team Reseau Ixio. Winners of the youth classification, they performed brilliantly in their Tour Voile debut, taking home three victories and four second place finishes over the 15 race days. Another, Dunkerque Voile, was an amateur team who were delighted to be part of the top 10 line-up in the Super Final, a feat which they put down to a dedicated eight-month training programme prior to the Tour.

As Super Final day dawned, leaders Lorina Limonade clearly decided that fate should not intervene and left nothing to chance, dominating their rivals straight off the starting line, a winning tactic that left Beijaflore with little choice but to congratulate their worthy opponents and accept the second step on the podium. Both teams had given their all and racked up an impressive number of wins and podium finishes throughout the Tour, a demanding test of mental and physical resilience. But as is often the case on the Tour Voile it was consistency and a cool head that paid off for Quentin Delapierre’s team in the end and led them to inscribe their name in the Tour Voile palmares for the second time.

Third place had already been wrapped up a day early by the promising young crew of Team Reseau Ixio, while behind them a battle for the final two slots in the top five raged between #SailingArabia, Lorina Mojito and Cheminees Poujoulat. The Omani team, who lost out on the skills of one of their crew members due to a fracture sustained in Act 3, took fourth place, one step higher than their 2017 final ranking. Renowned Swiss navigator Bernard Stamm with Cheminees Poujoulat just missed out on the objective he had set himself for this Tour of placing in the top five, and had to settle instead for sixth place behind Lorina Mojito Golfe du Morbihan.

Perhaps one of the greatest surprises of the tour was the top three line-up in the much-awaited Super Final. Victory went to CER2 Ville de Geneve: the young Swiss team’s only podium finish in the Tour, leaving them in seventh place overall. They were followed on the big day by newcomers Team Reseau Ixio and amateur team Dunkerque Voile, proving that anything is possible on the Tour Voile.

Of the international teams competing #SailingArabia, representing Oman, was the highest finisher in fourth place. Stevie Morrison, co-skipper and a British Olympic sailor, described his Tour experience and summed up the feeling of the crews at the prize giving: “It’s been a very light wind tour, the breeze has been pretty fickle, so that’s made it very challenging, very mentally tiring, if perhaps physically a bit less tiring than it might have been if we’d had a few more 20-knot days. But this is a unique contest and it was great fun, the best team won, and that’s what you want.”

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