For what is officially the second race of the Porquerolles-Figaro, at 12 o'clock 31 skippers finally left SaintRaphael
For what is officially the second race of the Porquerolles-Figaro, at 12 o’clock the 31 skippers finally left behind the fickle winds and departed from SaintRaphael in a magnificant start with a 6 knot South Westerly breeze to take them to Le Lavandou 30 miles away. Gildas Morvan (Cercle Vert), Jérémie Bayou (Volkswagen Castrol) and Pascal Bidegorry (Europ Assistance) led the fleet round the first marker buoy fifteen minutes later.
The boats remained in close combat as they sailed past the islet, ‘Lion de Mer’, the breeze constantly rising to just below15 knots. In a turn around from his 22nd place in race1, Pascal Bidegorry (Europ Assistance) took the lead.
The skippers welcomed the South to South Westerly wind change as they had to remain on Port tack for as long as possible to make it round ‘La Moute’ beacon in front of the Cap deSt Tropez, and then under the Cap de Camarat. These solo skippers race the boats right up against the coastline – certainly Eric Drouglazet was noted for ‘flirting with the rocks’ at Lion de Mer and Cap Lardier.
Irishman Damian Foxall in Barlo Plastics comments on this dangerous tactic: “These mini-offshore races are fairly short and intense, and with the competition barely a few boat lengths away, you have to take the ‘inside track’ round the coastline just as if you were on a grand prix race track. Also, in the Med’s lighter airs, when the boats are ghosting along, breeze often falls down the edge of the land and you have to take the necessary risk to catch it by sailing right up against the cliffs – this often leads to a few crunched keels though!’
Pascal Bidegorry (Europ Assistance) remained at the head of the fleet as they sailed a long close-reach around La Fourmigue rock, with Eric Drouglazet (Carven Defenders) & Gildas Morvan (Cercle Vert) very close behind. As little as 5 miles from the line, the softening breeze indicated a possibility that the fleet would not be able to make the finish and sure enough just before the line the wind died completely!
President of the Race committee,Philippe Rohart, and Yvon Fauconnier, Race Director, decided to shorten the race to end at the Cavaliere buoy, 2 and a half miles from the line. This meant that Marc Guessard (Nantes & Saint Nazaire) took the line honours in a race that was fought in a mostly consistent breeze under the brilliant Mediterranean sun.
CLASSIFICATIONS FOR RACE 2:
1. Marc Guessard (Nantes & Saint Nazaire) 2. Pascal Bidegorry (Europ Assistance)
3. Gilles Chiorri (meteoconsult.fr)
4. Yann Eliès (Groupe Generali Assurances)
5. Jean Paul Mouren (Marseille Entreprise Qualité)
6. Gildas Morvan (Cercle Vert)
7. Charles Caudrelier-Bénac (Groupe Pierre Le Goff)
8. Michèle Paret (Carrefour Préention Genève)
9. Sébastien Josse (Espoir Crédit Agricole)
10. Thomas Coville (Zurich)
22. Damian Foxall (Barlo Plastics)
DNF Marcus Hutchinson (Impact)
OVERALL CLASSIFICATIONS FOR THE FIRST TWO RACES:
1. Yann Eliès (Groupe Generali Assurances) – 7 points
2. Marc Guessard (Nantes & Saint Nazaire) – 10 points
3. Gilles Chiorri (meteoconsult.fr) – 11 points
4. Jean Le Cam (Jet Services) – 16.5 points
5. Thomas Coville (Zurich) – 20.5 points