It will take the final points scoring race in the 25th Tour de France à la Voile to decide the winner after the top two boats swapped places today.

It will take the final points scoring race in the 25th Tour de France à la Voile to decide the winner after the top two boats swapped places today. Jimmy Pahun’s Région Ile de France is leading overall again after today’s two races which took place in inshore waters immediately adjacent to Nice.

The first race of the day, a windward/leeward, was raced in very fickle conditions. It was patchy with puffs and holes all the way through. The wind dramatically shifted to the right during the second beat which made the last run extremely tricky. Swiss boat Team Bienne Voile snatched their first victory in that first race. “We’re used to sailing in these conditions on our lakes and we managed to read the shifts quite well,” commented skipper Lorenz Muller. “As an amateur boat, these conditions are our only chance to win a race”.

Région Ile de France and event leader Nantes-St-Nazaire controlled each other for most of the race. Pahun rounded the marks in eighth position just ahead of Pierre Loïc Berthet. But the last run proved decisive with Nantes-St-Nazaire losing ground just before the line and ending up in 12th position, cutting three points off their slender 8.75 points lead in the rankings.

Pascal BidPartagégorry at the helm of Région Ile de France made the right calls, reading the shifts perfectly. “We sailed as we always do but Nantes-St-Nazaire was controlling us too much and therefore lost a few points in the first race,” he commented. “As far as pressure is concerned, you just have to try to think about nothing but your boat speed.”

The wind increased and became steadier before the start of the second race, set around a coastal course. After two recalls with no disqualifications the race was mostly decided during the first beat.

The boats that favoured starting close to the committee boat on the right side of the course called it correctly. Amongst them, Thierry Bouchard’s Défi Partagé rounded the top mark in first ahead of Etienne David’s Ville de Genève Carrefour Prévention, the latter trying to recover from the damage of a poor first race result. Région Ile de France was in third but managed to come back to second position at the next mark and maintained it. After that the positions remained the same, an ominous state of affairs for Nantes-St-Nazaire which passed the first mark in 12th position, although they did finally claw back three places to finish ninth.

The top two are now separated by just 2.5 points, turning the last race of this grand tour of France into a sudden death shootout at 1100 EST tomorrow. They will not be the only ones with everything at stake either. Rob Greenhalgh’s Panther Team GBR will need to sail well to hang onto fourth overall after Défi Partagé’s performance today which has left them 6.25 points behind. And the final three placings in the top 10 are also close to call, with Simon Sutherland’s Force EDC being today’s big losers in the reshuffle amongst that trio.

Overall standings with one discard
1Région Ile de France, Jimmy Pahun, 1805pts
2Nantes-St-Nazaire, Pierre Loïc Berthet, 1802.5pts
3Ville de Genève Carrefour Prévention, Etienne David, 1783.25pts
4Panther Team GBR, Rob Greenhalgh, 1667.5pts
5Défi Partagé, Thierry Bouchard, 1661.25pts
6Marseille, Dimitri Deruelle, 1613pts
7Ville D’Antibes-NEC, Marc Bouvet and Marc Audineau, 1591pts
8Dieppe Seine Maritime, Gildas Philippe, 1572.5pts
9Cotes d’Armor Toutes Voiles Dehors, Vincent Biarnes, 1563.5pts
10Force EDC, Simon Sutherland, 1554pts