Beijaflore’s First 2019 Tour Win Comes in Jullouville, A Strong International Day
July 10 th 2019 - 19:01
Leaders of the Tour Voile's General Classification Beijaflore scored their first win of this 2019 edition when they triumphed around Act 3 Jullouville's shortened Coastal Raid course. With their nearest rivals Cheminées Poujoulat back in fifth place, Valentin Bellet's team, which finished overall runners up last year, restored their leading margin to a more comfortable five points after it was cut back to just one in Fécamp yesterday.
Beijaflore skipper Bellet observed, "We have been waiting for Act 3 to clinch our first victory. That's good because all the other favorites have already managed to win at least one day but the key is we move a little more ahead. But there seven acts and the competition will remain very, very, tight "
Around the scenic 13 nautical miles course on the famously tidal Bay of Mont Saint Michel, up the coast past Granville and offshore to the small rocky islands offshore and back to the finish off the sandy beach seaside resort, Beijaflore's win gives them breathing space at the top of the leaderboard but it was an excellent day also for the top international teams on the Tour, three non French crews finishing second, third and fourth.
Pierre Pennec's Oman Sail team on EFG Private Bank scored their best result so far of the annual tour when they finished second, as also did the young international team on Pink Lady - Pays de L'Or Sud de France which finished third whilst Stevie Morrison's run of form continued with the Renaissance Services crew from Oman Sail, taking fourth.
Pennec confirmed, "It is good to have another good coastal for us after finishing sixth in Fécamp in the breeze. We have been comfortable with this discipline since the pre-season races. Now we have to really underline that this is a progression by going better in tomorrow in Nautical Stadiums to make this a good Act. It's good for the team to get a good result."
EFG Private Bank move up to fifth overall, one place ahead of their teammates on Renaissance Services who are still smarting from the 27pts they have to carry because of their retirement from the Fécamp Coastal Raid.
Although a patchy, gentle sea breeze of six to eight knots filled in a little stronger than expected the course was all about starting cleanly and following a strategy, managing the strong tidal currents and the transition areas.
The Pink Lady team which races in the colours of La Grande Motte's Centre Entraînement du Méditerranée were delighted to have finally realised their potential.
Comprising two French sailors in skipper Gaby Skoczec and Lucas Chatonnier, experienced Tour sailor Belgian Pieter Tack, Texas born Italian Jacopo Rizzi and Johan Kohlhoff from the famous Kiel, Germany sailing family, this is the second year the Pink Lady crew has competed in European colours and today equaled their best, fourth last year also on a coastal race.
They were pipped in photo finish with EFG Private Bank, which is skippered by French Tornado Olympian Pierre Pennec with Figaro ace Corentin Horeau on board.
"Today we just changed the mentality a little bit." said ex 470 sailor Rizzi who works as a gondolier in Venice, "There was more speaking on board and we really wanted the result. We sailed clear from the start and then followed our strategy, going a little further out to catch some wind and then sail direct for the point. That was our plan and we executed. We seem to go better in the coastals but maybe this will raise the bar for the coastal races."
The Oman Sail teams also executed on a strategy which benefits from the weather input of past La Solitaire du Figaro winner Nico Lunven. "We were a little bit disappointed because we really did have a very good picture of what we wanted to do on that first upwind and we did a good job as first at the first upwind mark. We got to the headland where there was a big tidal switch happening, our strategy for the day was to protect the right which was perfect but was less perfect on the second bit." Renaissance Services’ Stevie Morrison said, "But it was very hard to tell with your strategy because there was so much weed in the water. It is not like you are the only boat in the fleet getting weed but the point is it is very hard to tell if you are making a loss because of weed or because of your strategy. We played it a bit too safe on the upwind and were fifth and then on the downwind we made a place, but there was so much potential for losing places so we are very happy."
And commenting on the strong international showing today Morrison smiled, "There are a lot of other countries in the world. The French are spectacular at sailing these boats in this kind of coastal orienteering is very well suited to them, so it is nice to see the international teams have a good day."