Michel Desjoyeaux set the tone of things to come at the opening day of the Trophée Clairefontaine

Beautiful summer sun and a light breeze were there to liven up the day’s sailing at the open day of the 15th Trophée Clairefontaine in La Trinité-sur-Mer on Friday 3 September.

Eight Runs were programmed for the obligatory training sessions of the Rhodia Warm-up – which does not count for the final result – and Michel Desjoyeaux set the tone of things to come.

The eight guest champions fought in the harbour of La Trinité-sur-Mer, which has been transformed into a sailing stadium for the weekend, in a Force 2, which allowed all the identical 7.65m catamarans to leap forward under short puffs of wind. A preview of the final on Sunday afternoon, in which everything will be settled in the five last regattas of this competition in which there are nine in all.

Right from the start of first of the eight regattas, Michel Desjoyeaux set the tone, ahead of John Lovell and Franck Cammas. And one leg for the winner of the Route du Rhum, one. Loïck Peyron then made a come back. This just goes to show that the duel between the two last winners is thoroughly broken in. Olivier Backes, still tired from his recent exploits in Athens, brought an end to the ocean racer’s rounds by setting the rhythm. Michel Desjoyeaux quickly came back with a new victory, starting up the conversation again.

Just back from Athens too, the Americans John Lovell and Charly Ogletree, silver Tornado medallists in the Olympics, suppored by Mitch Booth, their Australian colleague, helped Olivier Backes lay down the law of the Olympic champions by signing a nice victory in front of Loïck Peyron. He also did it again at the end of the sixth leg, this time ahead of Charles Caudrelier, the recent winner of the Single-handed Afflelou Figaro Race.

Francis Joyon, who started mixing a good deal more with the big names of the day, completed the course perfectly in the seventh leg, ahead of Michel Desjoyeaux and Karine Fauconnier. Finally, on the eighth and last regatta, at the end of these eight set-tos, completed in two hours, Michel Desjoyeaux reached the finishing line ahead making a clean sweep of the stakes at the Rhodia Warm-up 2004.

Rhodia Warm-up Ranking

1- Michel Desjoyeaux, 57 pts

2- Loïck Peyron, 48 pts

3- John Lovell (E-U), 43 pts

4- Olivier Backes, 43 pts

5- Karine Fauconnier, 31 pts

6- Charles Caudrelier, 30 pts

7- Franck Cammas, 29 pts

8, Francis Joyon, 27 pts