There are good days and bad days. Friday was not a good day for Gitana. The first race was run in a feeble 5-8 knot westerly winds against a strong incoming tide on the legs raced head to wind. Frédéric Le Peutrec managed to get off to a good start, blocking Michel Desjoyeaux at the committee boat with Franck Cammas to leeward. Along the cliffs in Fécamp, the breeze was a little more favourable and Foncia came off best. Groupama-2 did not do too badly at all either – she is always at ease in light air. Franck Cammas broke away at the first windward mark, with Gitana 11 fighting hard against Armel Le Cléac'h and Pascal Bidégorry. In spite of the odd tactical trick here and there, the outcome was uncertain as to which of the three would take second. Frédéric Le Peutrec lost out by just a few lengths and Thierry Duprey du Vorsent followed up the rear with Michel Desjoyeaux after having made a bad start.
The second round was run in a steady breeze. A 12-15 knot westerly, quite favourable for Gitana 11 racing at close quarters with Foncia, leading the fleet, and Groupama-2 and Géant. Down the ranks, Banque Populaire took a penalty for an erroneous tack, leaving the way open for Gitana X. As the fleet rounded the second windward mark, Gitana 11 struck the mark, carried by the strong current and had to take a 360° penalty turn. A heavy price was paid for this mistake – she finished last behind Gitana X…
The very last round of the day marked the comeback of the « eleven » to the top places although there was really not that much air at all – not generally the sort of conditions which suit Gitana 11… But Frédéric Le Peutrec and his crew made excellent use of the shifting winds and the currents to finish off Géant's transom, with Groupama-2 winning the windward leeward course once again.
Frédéric Le Peutrec (Gitana 11):
« A tough day for us. We messed up a situation which we really ought to have handled differently. We tacked too late on the first upwind section. That left us behind a little and then we were sluggish on the run downwind. In the second round, we decided to move a little further to windward at the start to avoid the cliffs but as it turned out, it all happened underneath and afterwards when we touched the mark, the wind from the helicopter made us muck up our penalty altogether. By then we were well and truly out of it!
To conclude, we did not do too badly on the last course finishing behind Géant. With a little cause for concern when the wind dropped as Gitana 11 is not at ease in light air. In terms of points, the result is not that brilliant but it's not dramatic either, even if Groupama-2 set off like a canon in Fécamp! I'm keeping my eyes on Foncia but this is early days yet. It could have been a good day so we've still got work to do… »
Provisional rankings in the Grand Prix du port de Fécamp (results over three rounds):
1- Franck Cammas - Groupama-2 (1+1+1) 3 points
2- Armel Le Cléac'h – Foncia (2+2+4) 8 points
3- Michel Desjoyeaux – Géant (5+3+2) 10 points
4- Pascal Bidegorry - Banque Populaire (3+4+5) 12 points
5- Frédéric Le Peutrec - Gitana 11 (4+6+3) 13 points
6- Thierry Duprey du Vorsent - Gitana X (6+5+6) 17 points