On Saturday’s capricious coastal race they were overshadowed by title challengers Beijaflore but when the seabreeze finally delivered on South Brittany’s beautiful Morbihan Bay it was the local aces on Lorina Limonade-Golfe du Morbihan who read it best and won the Stade Nautique Final on their home waters. As Act 4 of the 41st Tour Voile drew to a thrilling climax, just before the French nation sits down to cheer on their football team in the FIFA World Cup Final, the cheers were for the home waters heroes.
There may have been a long, long wait for the Bay off Baden’s Port Blanc to usher in a promised light sea breeze, and the one preliminary qualifying race for either group were an unseemly scrap, but Lorina Limonade-Golfe du Morbihan performed near faultlessly when the pressure was on to take the top Stadium Nautique points bounty.
The Amateur division leaders Dunkerque Voile led early in the Final but lost out to the local team on the second upwind leg. The Mourniac cousins Bruno and Tim, with French 470 Olympic campaigner Kevin Peponnet steering, Dunkerque by holding left up the last windward leg, finding better wind pressure and hence a more direct and shorter line to the final turn.
Beijaflore were not as good off the high pressure start line today but held a solid third all the way around the Baden event’s stadium showdown. Valentin Bellet, Guillaume Pirouelle and Valentin Sipan crossed the finish in third, under pressure from the all-girl team on La Boulangère, co skippered by Sophie de Turckheim and Mathilde Géron.
Limonade’s helm Peponnet said: “It was pretty stressful today because there was just the one qualifying race to make it to the Final. You just could not make mistakes. To finish fifth and your day would have been over. The result here is super positive for us here in Baden and if we become champions of the world this evening we will remember Baden and the 15th July for a long time to come.”
As the Tour heads for the three final Actes in the Mediterranean, and a requisite travel day Monday, it is Beijaflore – third overall on last year’s Tour Voile – which heads to Gruissan, by Narbonne – with the overall lead of just one single, slender point ahead of Lorina Limonade Golfe du Morbihan.
The long period of waiting proved to be in vain for the Oman Sail team #sailingarabia. They were fifth early on in their one hit a very light patch and rolled on to the turning mark. Taking their penalty in the very light conditions meant they failed to finish within the time limit and so were scored DNF. The 25 points #sailingarabia are landed with drops them from third to fifth on the leaderboard.
“It could not have been worse for us.” Says Thierry Douillard the #sailingarabia co-skipper, “There was just the one race and so nothing the boys could do to come back to reduce the damage. It is the worst case you could have. Ten minutes of racing and that is it, the worst thing. There is nothing we can do. It is a mess. We have to forget it and start again in Gruissan.”