Saturday’s opening non-scoring prologue saw the British University Sailing Team start their campaign and recover from a disappointing start to finish 10th overall
Saturday’s opening non-scoring prologue in Le Harve saw the British University Sailing Team start their campaign and recover from a disappointing start to finish 10th overall. However on Day 2, a day of mixed fortunes for the British Students saw them take second place in Race 1, twenty-third in Race 2 and finish the day tenth overall once again.
On Day 3, it was deja vu for the French as two foreign teams were once again at the front of the fleet with Team New Zealand scoring two bullets and the British University Sailing Team finishing second in the first race in a much improved performance.
Day 4 saw the first offshore race of the 2001 Tour Voile, a 55-mile leg from Le Havre to Dieppe, shortened due to lack of wind. Light winds and the strong current meant that the fleet were forced to motor up the Normandy coastline for the first twenty miles before the committee decided that conditions were right for racing to get underway. However, a combination of a false start and dying wind meant that this attempt was abandoned, sails dropped and the fleet continued under engine.
Five miles later, off Fecamp, racing finally got underway at 1455 and with a breeze of 10 – 15 knots it was Tri Yann, Mandelieu, Correze and the British Students, who all got the best start. By St Pierre-en-Port, 25 miles from Dieppe, Team New Zealand, Cote D’Armor, Saint James and Marseille TBS had moved to the front, opened up a slight advantage and maintained these positions as the fleet sailed upwind towards the next stop-over on the Tour.
At the final buoy, five miles from Dieppe, Cote D’Armor headed offshore leaving Team New Zealand, Saint James and Marseille TBS continuing to favour an inshore position and concentrate on the battle amongst themselves. From the press boat ahead of the fleet it was evident that Cote D’Armor had gained a significant advantage from this move. At 8.40pm Cote D’Armor crossed the line followed five minutes later by Ville de Geneve Carrefour, Vinci Thales and Antibes Juan-les-Pins, all of who had made the same call as Cote D’Armor and headed offshore. Team New Zealand, who had led the fleet at the final buoy finished 9th .
For the British University team it was an offshore race full of incident as unfortunately they struck a rock a quarter of the way through the race. In addition to this an incident with Correze saw them take a 360 penalty and eventually they crossed the line in 34th place. On lifting the boat out of the water it was discovered that significant damage had been done to the keel leading to an overnight repair job for boatman Alec Frazer.
“We were about a quarter of the way into the race when we hit a ledge. Perhaps we were pushing a little bit too hard. With the incident with Correze it was a port/starboard and rather than take it to the protest committee we decided to do the 360?” commented trimmer Simon Fisher.
Two inshore races this afternoon will give the Brits a chance to make up for their disappointment. However, they will have to replicate their two seconds achieved during the Le Havre leg and aim for more consistency if they are to match the perfomance of Coych Hyeres, overall leaders, and Thales Vinci, currently first in the student class and second in the 2001 Tour Voile overall.
PROVISIONAL RESULTS – DAY 4
1 Hyeres-Coych 247.5pts
2 Thales Vinci 243.5pts
3 Ville D’Antibes 236.25pts
4 Team New Zealand 229.75pts
5 Virbac St. Raphael 227.5pts
6 Nantes & St Nazaire 222pts
7 Region Ile de France 217.5pts
8 INSA 214pts
9 Beaume et Mercier Cassis 209.25pts
10 Defi Sport Adapte 207.25pts
17 British University 181.75pts