Fresh success for Golfe du Morbihan Breizh Cola in Hyères
July 18 th 2019 - 19:13
The final Coastal Raid of the Tour brought an incredible day of wind shifts and reversals of fortune, at the end of which the Breton team on Golfe du Morbihan Breizh Cola had notched up their second win of the Tour and their second consecutive win on a Coastal Raid Course. After a difficult day yesterday in Port Barcarès, the local sailors of Team Réseau IXIO – Toulon Provence Méditerranée came back with a second place finish ahead of overall leaders of the General Classification Team Beijaflore in third.
The top four teams of the day are also the top four in the General Classification who have been battling it out for the past two weeks with their sights firmly fixed on the final prize. Golfe du Morbihan Breizh Cola, in fourth place overall, inches ever closer to the podium with today’s win. Team Beijaflore’s third place leaves them still sitting 10 points clear at the top of the scoreboard followed by Cheminées Poujoulat in second with Reseau IXIO – Toulon Provence Méditerranée a further 10 points behind in third.
The last of the Coastal Raids took the fleet around one of France’s top regatta courses in the bay of Hyères. From the start just off the crowded beach, the 23-boat fleet of Diam 24s headed along the coast to the western end of the bay before rounding marks just north of the islands of Porquerolles and Port-Cros and touching the easternmost end of the bay at Brégançon. A final upwind beat took them to Porquerolles again, where a shift in the breeze left the leaders of the fleet in a windless hole and gave those behind the possibility of locating new air before the final downwind run to the finish. This was no doubt the stuff of nightmares for Team Beijaflore, who had led the fleet for the majority of today’s race, and could only watch helplessly as their rivals tore past on the approach to the final stretch.
Golfe du Morbihan Breizh Cola skipper Solune Robert explained how his team went from 16th place at the first mark off Esterel to winning by an unheard-of margin in the Tour of almost 9 minutes. “It was a very complicated day, there were a lot of shifts to handle and we didn’t handle the first one well. With the final shift at Porquerolles the boats in front stopped, so at that point it was better to be behind as we could see what was happening up ahead. We had to be fast in looking for the new wind and we were able to stay out of the hole where the others were.”
“This was a Raid full of danger! You had to keep your eyes open.” noted Valentin Bellet, skipper of Team Beijaflore. “It ended up going quite well for us, we could have lost the Tour today but we managed not to do that. There are three days of Nautical Stadiums left in the Mediterranean and anything can happen. Having a 10-point lead is both a lot and a little.”
Another miraculous comeback was made by the amateur team on CER – Ville de Gèneve, skippered by Victor Casas. After a disastrous start, they began this race on the worst of footings and right at the back of the fleet. Having grappled their way back to the middle of the fleet by the final mark rounding off Porquerolles, they skillfully managed to avoid the fickle shore breeze that many of their rivals got entangled in once again on the final run, and finished in fifth place overall.
Cheminées Poujoulat remains at the top of the separate Youth classification, CER – Ville de Gèneve remain the leaders of the amateur teams, and the all-female team on La Boulangère, who had a great start today but fell foul of the deadly wind shift and ended up in eight place, stay at the top of the Mixed ranking.
So after a thrilling final Coastal Raid of the tour, racing will return to the Nautical Stadium racing format from tomorrow and through Sunday’s Super Final off the Promenade des Anglais in Nice. The qualification rounds for tomorrow’s Nautical Stadium Final in Hyères are scheduled to start at 11.30.