As the Valentin Bellet skippered Beijaflore resumed normal service and sailed to their expected form, winning the second Stadium Nautique Final of the 2018 Tour Voile’s ACT 2 in Dunkirk, the Oman Sail teams have cause to celebrate. Skippered by Stevie Morrison and Thierry Douillard #sailingarabia powered by oman sail finishing second and their up and coming second crew Team Oman Sail lead by French new generation multihull ace Pierre Le Clainche finished fourth.
Morrison, Mat Richard and Abdul Rahman improved not just on their final finish for the day, their second added to Day 1’s fourth moves them up the Tour Voile leaderboard to second – three points behind Beijaflore – but their qualification series was improved too. But the biggest and most notable step up was that of their counterparts who missed out on the yesterday’s Final by some distance.
A heart searching Thursday night debrief with Douillard and the full team saw the newer, younger team stick to the plan today – keep it simple, sail fast and work to the pre agreed strategy round the course, minimising tacks and gybes – and Le Clainche and Omanis Yasir Al Rahbi and Haitham Al Wahhaibi came ashore up Dunkirk’s expansive Plage Malo les Bains wearing big smiles, almost as big as that of English helm Morrison after England’s world cup win against Sweden.
“Really we never expected to be better than mid fleet but yesterday was terrible. Today we changed the way we sail, we took the pressure off and took no risks, less gybing, less tacks, make easy. We hit the mark yesterday and that cost us a penalty.” Said Le Clainche whose impressive multihull resumé spans Hobie 16, Formula 18, Extreme 40, Decision 35, MOD 70, GC32, Flying Phantom. “Everything that goes fast on the water I love, but not monohulls ”.
Correspondingly #sailingarabia also moved up a gear and carried their consistent momentum through from qualifying into the final. They were second off the start line behind Beijaflore and that was the way it stood to the finish line. Team Oman Sail made nice gains up from an early seventh to cross fourth.
“We had a better day today with sailingarabia leading the group and then second overall, they took not too much risk and were fast. We had a long briefing with Team Oman Sail and told them to keep it simple. The current is the same all day the wind is the same all day, we can almost design the strategy on the table last night and so I said ‘please stick to the plan’ and they did. They stuck to the plan and left the other teams to make the mistakes.” Douillard explained.
On Team Oman Sail Le Clainche is partnered by two hugely motivated Omanis Yasir Al Rahbi and Haitham Al Wahhaibi. The team was put together at the back end of last year but Le Clainche only stepped in as skipper in May. Of most benefit recently was a week in Quiberon two boat training.
“It was an amazing day. Yesterday we were desperately upset and since them we have thinking and focusing on our manoeuvres and our boat handling.” Said Al Rahbi whose third Tour Voile this is, starting out on the Farr 30 ten years ago. He has two MOD70 Transatlantics and two Round Britain and Ireland records to his name.
Beijaflore – winners this season already of the Sailing Arabia Tour, the Grand Prix Guyader and the Grand Prix École Navale – were ahead off the start line and proved uncatchable. Helm Guillaume Pirouelle explained: “We did well in our qualifying but the Final is always different because the counters go back to zero. We had a great start and that allowed us to take the win. It is a very good start for us but we are well aware that everything remains to be done.”
Yesterday’s Finals winners Team Réseau IXIO took too many risks in the Final, splitting away on the beats and runs to finish seventh today, dropping to fourth overall. Bernard Stamm’s Cheminées Poujoulat finished sixth and are now eighth in the 26 boat fleet.