The good folk of Nice are not accustomed to see a Baie des Anges that can only be described as… devilish! So much so that at one point on Saturday, wind speeds of 82 knots (140 km) were recorded off Cap Corse... The Mediterranean frequently springs surprises with its cyclothymic rhythms, but this weekend, nothing short of unadulterated rage has been spewing forth from the mouth of Aeolus! On Saturday, the coastal route between Nice and Antibes proved to be spicy but still manageable, with a 12-knot south-westerly wind beneath Nice Château, 20 knots by the entrance to Antibes port… and gusts of thirty-five knots in the ocean across from Nice airport. And in such conditions, it's not easy to combine racing and handling a trimaran on very short, highly chaotic seas.
Having got off to a good start, Gitana 11 took the head of the fleet, but a windless zone opposite the runways put Banque Populaire IV back in front: Pascal Bidégorry was the first to reach the mark at Antibes, but on the tough run downwind, she was going off track and as she endeavoured to right herself, her bows went under… and Banque Populaire IV was back in front! Arriving a few lengths behind, Frédéric Le Peutrec was forced to swerve out to sea to avoid striking her, then remain in the area to try to be of assistance. Gitana 11 then decided to lower all her sails following a communication error with the Race Committee. The next day, the Complaints Committee reinstated her in second place (the position she had occupied on passing the last marker), taking into account her “sailor's spirit”.
Sunday saw no let-up in the rough seas and strong southwesterly wind, which was blowing at twenty knots at the start, rising to 25 before finishing at over 30 knots… After a lap and a half on a banana-shaped prelude course close to the wind, the three trimarans still in the race were neck and neck with everything to play for, only for technical problems to again rear their ugly head when Gitana 11's upper mainsail battens snapped. Frédéric Le Peutrec and his crew were forced to abandon the race, leaving Franck Cammas and Michel Desjoyeaux to finish the regatta at moderate speed.
So this weekend of torment has brought a victory for Groupama 2 ahead of Géant (as they're equal on points, they will be separated by the result of the final race), with Gitana 11 clinching third place on the podium. As for Gitana 12, the technical team has been working all weekend at its yard in La Ciotat to get the trimaran shipshape, the two pieces of its mast having already been taken to Lorima in Lorient for repair.
Multi Cup Café Ambassador Rankings
After the London-Alpes Maritimes Race (coefficient 2) and the Trophée du Conseil Général des Alpes Maritimes (coefficient 0.5):
1-Franck Cammas (Groupama 2): 12.5 points (10+2.5)
2-Pascal Bidégorry (Banque Populaire IV): 9 points (8+1)
3-Michel Desjoyeaux (Géant): 8 points (6+2)
4-Frédéric Le Peutrec (Gitana 11): 5.5 points (4+1.5)
5-Thierry Duprey du Vorsent (Gitana 12): 2.5 points (2+0.5)
Trophée du Conseil Général des Alpes Maritimes Rankings
(Two rounds completed)
1-Franck Cammas (Groupama 2) 11 points (5+6)
2-Michel Desjoyeaux (Géant) 11 points (6+5)
3-Frédéric Le Peutrec (Gitana 11) 6 points (5+1)
4-Pascal Bidégorry (Banque Populaire IV) 1 point (1+0)
5-Thierry Duprey du Vorsent (Gitana 12) 0 point (0+0)