Foncia wins the first leg of the Cap d’Agde Grand Prix, followed by Belgacom, Bonduelle and Banque Populaire
Foncia has won the first leg of the Cap d’Agde Grand Prix, followed by Belgacom, Bonduelle and Banque Populaire. Victory was obtained by Foncia thanks to a good tactical choice in the first beating leg. With a south-easterly wind of 15 knots and a small chop, the first race of this Grand Prix (three loops of an upwind/downwind course started off nicely for the eight competing multihulls. Right from the beginning, this Grand Prix has seen close competition between the boats, particularly between their tacticians.
Banque Populaire got of to a terrific start on port tack. Lalou Roucayrol and his crew then proceeded to cross in front of the whole fleet, and Daniel Souben took the best option to stay on the right hand side of the sailing area. They were followed by Foncia, Belgacom, Fila and Bonduelle. The opposing strategy was disastrous for the other competitors, who sailed along the coast and were soon almost one leg behind : Fujifilm, Groupama and Bayer were unable to catch up. The time difference at the finish was huge; more than 25 minutes between the first and the last boat.
Foncia took the lead as early as the first windward mark, thanks to a better evaluation of the layline. She kept her leading position until the finish line, and even managed to widen the gap from her pursuers. Behind, Belgacom rapidly took control of second position, holding on to it until the end. The last two legs saw a nice duel between Banque Populaire and Bonduelle. As the wind died down, the van Peteghem-Lauriot Prévost and the Lombard designs fought for third, Jean Le Cam on Bonduelle just managing to sneak over the line before Banque Populaire.
Even though this first race went to the most experienced multihulls, the newer boats have shown that they can compete at the same level. It will be interesting to see what happens in Race 2?
Provisionnal ranking of Race 1 :
1- Foncia (Alain Gautier)
2- Belgacom (Jean Luc Nélias)
3- Bonduelle (Jean Le Cam)
4- Banque Populaire (Lalou Roucayrol)
5- Groupama (Franck Cammas)
6- Fila (Giovanni Soldini)
7- Fujifilm (Loïck Peyron)
8- Bayer (Yvan Bourgnon)