Rob Greenhalgh and his crew aboard Panther Team GBR won their first race in the Tour de France a la Voile yesterday

The Mistral that arrived in Marseille yesterday seemed to suit the British sailors competing in the Tour de France a la Voile. Panther Team GBR scored their first victory, Royal Thames came home in sixth and Force EDC finished 12th.

The wind increased to 40 knots causing many breakages so the race committee decided to abandon racing after the first race.

Rob Greenhalgh and his crew took the lead on the first beat, rounded the top mark in first and kept increasing the gap with the rest of the fleet. “We had great fun. We were quick upwind and better than the rest downwind. We managed to pull out a large lead that gave us a cushion as we capsized towards the end. Luckily so did all the other boats and we had such a large lead that it did not matter.”

It was also a good race for amateur boat Royal Thames, skippered by Owen Modral, who came home in sixth position. “Windy, great, wicked, good fun. We have a great team and sailed well. We were a bit behind but came through by sailing sensibly and fast.” Student leading boat Force EDC, skippered by Australia’s Simon Sutherland, also felt comfortable in the strong Mistral conditions. The team comprises of Aussies, Brits and Dutch finished in 12th position. “We had a disappointing start. We were fast up wind and lightning downwind, which enabled us to catch up 10 places. We were in a good position then 100m from the finish we broached and many boats passed us.” As far as the top three boats are concerned, the results have changed the positions once again. Overall leader Ville de Genève Carrefour Prévention, skippered by Etienne David finished in seventh while their closest rival Pierre-Loïc Berthet’s Nantes-St-Nazaire finished in fifth. Therefore the Swiss dropped to second place and the team from Nantes reclaimed the red spinnaker. Jimmy Pahun’s Région Ile de France came in third and narrowed the gap with the top two. There was also some drama with seven boats retiring due to breakages.

The offshore race to Hyères was scheduled to start at 0600 this morning.

Overall Results

1. Nantes-St-Nazaire / Pierre Loïc Berthet 1494

2. Ville de Genève Carrefour Prévention / Etienne David 1492,25

3. Région Ile de France / Jimmy Pahun 1474,5

4. Défi Partagé / Thierry Bouchard 1334,25

5. Ville d1Antibes -NEC / Marc Audineau 1325,5

5. Panther Team GBR / Rob Greenhalgh 1325,5

10. Force EDC / Simon Sutherland 1246,5 (1st student boat)

14. Cassis Maugio Carnon / Bernard Mallaret 1176

17. Royal Thames / Owen Modral 1089,25 (3rd amateur boat)