It not only came down to the last race but actually to the last run for Nantes-St-Nazaire to win the Tour de France à la Voile 2002 by just 1,5 points.

It not only came down to the last race but actually to the last run for Nantes-St-Nazaire to win the Tour de France à la Voile 2002 by just 1,5 points.

The overall winner changed several times during the final race, sailed yesterday in very light and fluky air outside Nice. At one stage Jimmy Pahun’s Région Ile de France was third. Ville de Genève Carrefour Prévention snatched a spectacular victory in this last race with a huge lead. The mimic typical Swiss lake conditions suit Etienne David and his crew who had nothing to lose and claimed their sixth victory in the regatta.

At the top mark, Ville de Genève Carrefour Prévention was leading, Nantes-St-Nazaire was in 4th and Région Ile de France in 11th. So Nantes-St-Nazaire was winning. At the leeward mark, Pierre-Loïc Berthet’s team, in 9th, was still the virtual winner but Jimmy Pahun’s crew were in 17th which meant they would be third overall. When the fleet rounded the windward mark for the second time, Région Ile de France had climbed back to 6th position while Nantes-St-Nazaire was in 4th, therefore Jimmy Pahun was the leader.

Everyone was holding their breath during the last run. Nantes-St-Nazaire remained in 4th. It’s only when Région Ile de France crossed the finish line, in 8th, that the winner’s name was eventually revealed. Last time, the Tour de France à la Voile saw such a close finish was in 1995 when Bernard Mallaret beat Chris Dickson by only a 0,25 point margin.

The winning team was jubilant, “We were three in the competition until the last minute. Everything went fine for us. We’re really satisfied as this victory is the award of four years hard work”, commented Pierre-Loïc Berthet on the pontoon after having had a sip of Champagne and before to been thrown to the water like everyone else. He then resumed the conversation: “We’ve had all sort of conditions. Gale winds, lack of wind, races cancelled and some fog in the Med. We’ve had it all, from Dunkerque to Nice and for us it’s just happiness”, added the skipper of Nantes-St-Nazaire before dedicating this victory to their deceased crew member who accidentally fell from his hotel room last year at the end of the regatta. “We have a very special thought today for Manu who tragically left us last year”.

Though disappointed to have been so close to winning, Jimmy Pahun proved sportsmanship today on the docks. “That’s life and that’s sport. The crew of Nantes-St-Nazaire were the best. Besides, I think that they had an extra crewmember with them, Manu and that carried them on. They are brilliant winners. They really wanted to win this event and they did it”, said the skipper of Région Ile de France before summarising his regatta. “It started badly for us with many points lost in Dunkerque. Then, we were been excellent in the long offshore races. It will remain our best memories. We had a black day in Bayonne that probably cost us the final victory and we did very well in the Med. I’m proud of my crew. They did a great job and were really motivated”.

The Swiss of Ville de Genève Carrefour Prévention were most happy, after a few bad days, they end this Tour de France à la Voile on a good note. “We’re really pleased to finish like this. We sailed very well today. It’s true that after the start today, as we were leading and saw Nantes-St-Nazaire and Région Ile de France far behind, we thought that we still had a chance. But the top three results I think are pretty logical. I say well done to both of them. I admire both team for what they’ve achieved”, commented Etienne David.


1. Nantes-St-Nazaire / Pierre Loic Berthet 1851,5 points

2. Région Ile de France / Jimmy Pahun 1850 points

3. Ville de Genève Carrefour Prévention / Etienne David 1838,25 points

4. Panther Team GBR / Rob Greenhalgh 1713,5 points

5. Défi Partagé / Thierry Bouchard 1698,25 points

6. Marseille / Dimitri Deruelle 1655 points

7. Ville d’Antibes -NEC / Julien Farnarier 1639 points

8. Dieppe-Seine Maritime / Gildas Philippe 1624,5 points

9. Côtes d’Armor Toztes Voiles dehors / Vincent Biarnes 1610,5 points

10. Force EDC / Simon Sutherland 1597,5 points (1stclassement étudiant)