TOUR DE FRANCE A LA VOILE – Groupama 34 won ahead of Courrier Dunkerque 3 and Bretagne Crédit Mutuel Elite in 10 knots of wind from the northeast. Nantes St Nazaire E.Leclerc and Iskareen were in fourth and fifth place, the German team taking their best result so far in the Tour 2013.
They gained points and confidence from these good results, something all teams will need for the 8th offshore leg leaving tonight. The wind is expected to be very light (3-4 knots from the southeast) but a stormy low pressure will pass the fleet overnight, messing all weather files up. All twelve M34’s will first sail a 80-mile tack across the Lion Gulf to the Planier lighthouse in Marseille and finish along the Provence coast to La-Seyne.
The leg is supposed to last 20 hours but the thunderstorms can change all this. Race director Christophe Gaumont said “this leg could turn out to be the longest leg in the Tour de France à la Voile”. The start is scheduled for 6:00pm.
Malo Bessec, Groupama 34 bowman:
“It went very well and it was much nicer than yesterday. To be honest with you, I saw none of yesterday’s races. I was inside the boat (to balance the boat in very light winds). The wind was slightly stronger this morning and we were excited to actually sail and move forward! We led the two laps. A perfect day in Gruissan!”
Daniel Souben, Courrier Dunkerque 3 skipper:
“Very happy with this morning’s race and happy to be gaining some points on our competitors. A second place is a great way to do so. It was tough yesterday ‘cause we’ve had a bad day and the atmosphere was a bit tense. We are four boats fighting against each other, Bretagne Crédit Mutuel, Sodebo, OmanSail and us. It’s a tight competition.”
Victor Vertregt, Iskareen trimmer:
“Fifth is our best result so far and we are delighted about it! We’ve been doing better for a few days, going uphill. We were in the leading group at the first mark and everybody got a bit nervous (laughs). We were expecting even less wind than yesterday but in the end it was fine. Let’s see what we can do tonight!”