Ups and downs for the Gitana Team finishing on an up note never the less with a fine win for Frédéric Le Peutrec and his crew ahead of Pascal Bidégorry and Franck Cammas. Bit of a breeze on Saturday with some hefty squalls pushing the wind speed indicator from 15 to 25 knots every now and again! Brilliant sunshine alternated with heavy showers. One coastal race – twice round the island of Groix – and two windward leeward courses for tough programme requiring determination on the part of the crews. The Gitana both got off to a bad start. Frédéric Le Peutrec had a hard time hoisting his gennaker on the first round, and Thierry Duprey du Vorsent's mainsail hook which holds the mainsail at the top of the mast did not withstand the load. The second round was a bit odd, short and the start procedure was apparently not that clear. But it all came out in the wash on the last round for Gitana 11 who got off to an excellent start with the rest of the fleet, pulling ahead in spite of the pressure put on by Banque Populaire, who has been very aggressive and very consistent in Lorient. Sunday will be decisive as the gap in points between the three leaders are small indeed and a northerly 15-20 knot wind is forecast.
Frédéric Le Peutrec (Gitana 11)
« For once, we were up there where action was, fighting alongside Banque Populaire, to win the third round. Groupama-2 had a bit of a job keeping pace! Warm day with some violent squalls, finishing off with a nice win. Reassuring after the technical hitches we had here and there. All six trimarans are close in a blow and that's where crew efficiency makes all the difference – the manœuvres, precision with the laylines, how well we change tack and so on. But we did a great job on the manoeuvres. We started out having a spot of bother with unrolling the gennaker on the coastal race, then once again when the rolling line snapped. On the second round, there were communication problems with the Race Committee. We mistook the starting shot for the four minutes warning signal! »
Thierry Duprey du Vorsent (Gitana X)
« We got off to a good start on the coastal race but straight away the mainsail hook failed and the halyard got stuck. It took us quarter of an hour to sort that out. The battle was over, but we did finish the race. When it came to the second start, we reckon that the Race Committee had a technical hitch with their radio as we didn't hear the start procedure. And we weren't the only ones! Finally, our manoeuvres were not that fluid on the last race either and we were beset by staysail halyard problems leaving us with no choice but to sail a straight line lowering the gennaker. Positive analysis overall though as we pushed the boat hard in strong wind and managed to get 37 knots out of her! »
Provisional rankings - Grand Prix Cap l'Orient (after six rounds):
1- Franck Cammas - Groupama-2 (1+2+1+1+1+3) 9 points
2- Pascal Bidégorry - Banque Populaire (2+3+2+2+2+2) 13 points
3- Frédéric Le Peutrec - Gitana 11 (4+1+4+4+4+1) 18 points
4- Armel Le Cléac'h – Foncia (3+4+3+5+5+4) 24 points
5- Michel Desjoyeaux - Géant (6+5+5+3+3+7) 29 points
6- Thierry Duprey du Vorsent - Gitana X (5+6+6+6+6+5) 34 points
Round 4: NW 20-25 knots, then W 18-20 knots, two laps round the island of Groix (approx 40 miles).
Round 5 : W/NW 15-18 knots, then 10-12 knots, then NW 25 knots in the squalls, then 12 knots, windward/leeward course (windward mark at 1.6 miles), two laps with finish to windward.
Round 6 : W/NW 18-22 knots, then 23-27 knots in the squalls, windward/leeward course (windward mark at 2.9 miles), three and a half laps of course, finish to windward.