Despite not winning a race yesterday, Nantes St-Nazaire retains a slim lead in the Tour de France à la Voile

The fleet of the 40 Mumm 30s competing in the Tour de France à la Voile produced close racing yesterday off Dunkerque’s beach.

The various changing results prove that several teams could win this event and that the suspense should last until the very end of this one-month regatta.

Nantes St-Nazaire retains the overall lead but victory in yesterday’s two races went Dieppe Seine Maritime, skippered by 470 former world champion Gildas Philippe, and Ville de Genève Carrefour Prévention, skippered by Etienne David. Having had a reasonable start they proceeded to work there way up the fleet on the first beat to lead the rest of the boats in procession around the course. “We’re very happy because we manage to get reasonably good results without taking too many risks, especially at the starts. We had our good boat speed back though we’re not performing to our full potential yet”, says Etienne David.

“Nantes-St-Nazaire and us are the two boats that probably sailed the most this year and therefore we probably refine our boat handling quicker. But I wouldn’t burry Région Ile de France or Panther Team GBR yet as it is only the beginning of the regatta.” Commiserations went to Panther: Team GBR of Rob Greenhalgh who had a shocker of a day. The Brits finished in a very disappointing 34th position in the first race and in 21st in the coastal race. “We basically went on the wrong side of the first shift of each race, then we didn’t get clear air downwind. We had a bad day,” commented Rob Greenhalgh.

Among the other foreign teams, British boat Royal Thames skippered by Owen Modral had a good day finishing in 11th and 10th place. “We’re happy. We’re slowly improving and getting a hang of it. I think there are areas in our sailing that are really good and a few areas in which we make mistakes. We hope to improve these,” says Owen Modral.

Force EDC, skippered by Australia’s Simon Sutherland, came in 16th in the first race but managed to finish the coastal race in eighth position ahead of the threatening Cap Université St-Quentin-en-Yvelines, current leader of the student ranking and third overall. A good day for the team Force EDC who climbed up to sixth place overall. “We had a good start in the second race. We rounded the top mark in sixth then we had a good run and rounded the bottom mark in fourth, but we had some problem sorting out which way the tide was going on the last beat and lost a few places”, explained Simon Sutherland.

There was also some drama out on the racecourse with some strong gusts playing havoc with the fleet. Two teams abandoned the first race after encountering breakages. In the second race, student boat Groupe Dassault-X-ESCP-EAP skippered by Marc Le Pesqueux, dismasted. The girls of Nantes-St-Nazaire au féminin also pulled out of the second race. The fleet will leave Dunkerque at 8:00 this morning and sail to Dieppe on their first (94-mile) offshore race.

Results (after race 4)

1. Nantes-St-Nazaire / Pierre Loic Berthet 203 points

2. Ville de Genève Carrefour Prévention / Etienne David 193 pts

3. Cap Université Saint-Quentin en Yvelines / Jean-Marie Gout 187 pts

4. Marseille / Dimitri Deruelle 181 pts

5. Dieppe-Seine Maritime / Gildas Philippe 179 pts

6. Force EDC / Simon Sutherland 174 pts

7. de Commerce La Rochelle / Yann Dube 172 pts

8. Dinard La Pachanga / Eric Basset 166 pts

9. Ville d’Antibes-NEC / Julien Farnarier 161 pts

10. Royal Thames / Owen Modral 159 pts

Other British18. Panther : Team GBR / Rob Greenhalgh 140 pts


1. Dinard La Pachanga / Eric Basset 113 pts

2. Royal Thames / Owen Modral 98 pts

3. Codiam ENSP DH / JC Nicouleau – Nicolas Loday 98 pts


1. Cap Université St-Quentin en Yvelines / Jean-Marie Gout 110 pts

2. Force EDC / Simon Sutherland / 106 pts

3. de commerce La Rochelle 106 pts