After eight races, Jean Le Cam in Jet Services claimed his fourth overall victory in the 1999 Porquerolles -Figaro, with three leg wins under his belt. In a regatta where the racing was so close all week, Le Cam won by only half a point over second place Marc Guessard (Nantes & Saint Nazaire), who also gained three race wins. Yann Eliès (Groupe Generali Assurances), Porquerolles’ overall leader right up until the last race with consistent results but no race wins, came third, another single point behind behind Guessard.
Round-up of last 4 races:
The first race around the buoys was indicative of how in Figaro racing it is impossible to predict the winner until the finish line itself. It was Irishman Damian Foxall (Barlo Plastics) who led the fleet from his perfect start, proving that his boat has the speed to win, but as ever the positions constantly changed up and down the fleet. Foxall scored a highly impressive 6th place in ‘Barlo Plastics’ at the finish with the line honours being taken by a three times previous winner at Porquerolles, Jean Le Cam (Jet Services).
Next came the 16 mile coastal race from Porquerolles to Port-Cros, where right from the start the fleet separated into smaller groups in their search for wind, which has frustrated the 31 skippers for most of the racing at Porquerolles. Damian Foxall (Barlo Plastics), Jean Paul Mouren (Marseille Entreprises Qualité), an expert sailor along this coastline, and Sébastien Josse (Espoir Credit Agricole) skirted the rocks around the Notre Dame Bay, while others like Pascal Bidegorry (Europ Assistance), Gilles Chiorri (meteoconsult.fr) and Jean Le Cam (Jet Services) sailed further offshore.
The offshore option paid off, which opened up the lead to Bidegorry and Chiorri. These two battled out the top positions for the rest of the race and it was only just before the line when approaching the finish under spinnakers that Chiorri snatched the line honours over his rival, thanks to a small wind advantage, and gained his first victory this year at the Porquerolles-Figaro.
In the overall classifications, the results from Race 6 closed the gap to 1.5 points between leader Yann Eliès (Groupe Generali Assurances) with 29 points, and second place Jean Le Cam (Jet Services) with 30.5 points. Damian Foxall (Barlo Plastics) climbed back up the rankings with a 12th position in Race 6 to give him 14th place overall.
In the seventh race, it was exciting to see two non-French skippers, Foxall (Barlo Plastics) & Hutchinson (Impact) in the top 5 as the leading boats headed round the first marker buoy. Foxall pushed really hard against Le Cam and Guessard as the three of them took the shore side route under spinnaker, which made for some dangerous gybing right up against the coast.
Gildas Morvan (Cercel Vert) and Eric Drouglazet (Carven Defenders) headed up the group offshore, with only Sidney Gavignet (TBS) taking a neutral position in the middle of the disparate fleet. As the skippers drew together at the end of this long race, Guessard (Nantes & Saint Nazaire) won through with Drouglazet and Gavignet just behind. In their wake Le Cam and Eliès were battling it out for the overall victory and as they sailed under spinnaker into a hole near the line, it was Eliès who skilfully managed to sail his boat through Le Cam, and the older had to concede to the younger skipper.
The Race Committee put in one final afternoon race taking advantage of a good wind. The 8 mile banana course off Hyeres was decisive in determining the Porquerolles-Figaro winner. Thomas Coville (Zurich) sailed to his first race victory at Porquerolles this year, but even in the last leg, the overall title was still in contention by three skippers: Yann Eliès (Groupe Generali Assurances), Jean Le Cam (Jet Services) and Marc Guessard (Nantes & Saint Nazaire). Eliès, the overall race leader up to this point, had the title snatched away from him on the finish line as he came a disappointing 10