At the start off Saint Tropez in a light 8-12 knot westerly breeze which increased to 15-17 knots close to La Nioulargue, the wind was conspicuous by its absence in the 53rd run of La Giraglia race. Even before night fall, wind speed did not exceed 5 knots, barely increasing (to 8 knots) for an hour or so as the fleet passed Cape Corsica on Thursday morning.
A thirty hour long haul during which both Gitana boats found themselves going nowhere fast, stuck in wind holes a little longer than their opponents. There were windless zones all over the course. By the time the fleet reached the Rock of La Giraglia, major gaps had been driven between its members. Groupama-2 was first to reach that mark at 5h50 on Thursday morning, followed ten minutes later by Géant, 50 minutes later by Foncia, at which time there was already a three hour gap between the leader by the time Banque Populaire and TIM-Progetto Italia arrived in the zone – and more than four hours by the time the Gitana boats reached the Rock, within 20 seconds of one another.
After a course covering 243 nautical miles, Franck Cammas was first to reach Genoa, a hair's breadth ahead of Armel Le Cléac'h who has run a fine race, followed by Michel Desjoyeaux. Thierry Duprey du Vorsent managed to sneak back a few miles in the Gulf of Genoa pipping Italian Giovanni Soldini and Frédéric Le Peutrec at the post. Provisional rankings for the ORMA Multihull Championship demonstrate a certain degree of stability on the podium, but also mark a clear return for Franck Cammas, now one and a half points ahead of Thierry Duprey du Vorsent, and one point behind Armel Le Cléac'h. Make a note in your diary for next Friday - the Grand Prix de Marseille-Métropole.
Frédéric Le Peutrec (Gitana 11) :
« This was a rather special race. Not much wind to talk of ! There were enormous areas of calm on the first night with light gusts which seemed to come in from nowhere. We were alongside Groupama-2 and ahead of Banque Populaire, Géant and Foncia but they managed to pull away without us seeing as the whole monohull fleet was there too. We found ourselves at a standstill at La Giraglia, rounding the Rock just behind Gitana X. We hugged the shore and closed in on the Italians, even managing to overtake them but in the end, we fell into a wind hole and they glided ahead almost on inertia alone. It was ridiculous ! »
Rankings - La Giraglia Rolex Cup :
1- Franck Cammas (Groupama-2) in 25h 33' 47''
2- Armel Le Cléac'h (Foncia) in 25h 44' 45''
3- Michel Desjoyeaux (Géant) in 25h 58' 59''
4- Pascal Bidegorry (Banque Populaire) in 28h 33' 10''
5- Thierry Duprey du Vorsent (Gitana X) in 31h 34' 40''
6- Giovanni Soldini (TIM-Progetto Italia) in 31h 51' 32''
7- Frédéric Le Peutrec (Gitana 11) in 31h 53' 04''
Provisional Rankings – ORMA Multihull Championship:
After the IB Group Challenge (weighting factor 3), the Grand Prix de Corse (weighting factor 1) and La Giraglia Rolex Cup (weighting factor 0.5) :
1-Pascal Bidegorry (Banque Populaire) 5 points (0+3+2)
2-Michel Desjoyeaux (Géant) 11.5 points (6+4+1,5)
3-Frédéric Le Peutrec (Gitana 11) 14.5 points (9+2+3,5)
4-Armel Le Cléac'h (Foncia) 20 points (12+7+1)
5-Franck Cammas (Groupama-2) 21 points (21+0+0)
6-Thierry Duprey du Vorsent (Gitana X) 22.5 points (15+5+2,5)
7-Giovanni Soldini (TIM-Progetto Italia) 60 points (51+6+3)
8ex-Thomas Coville (Sodebo) 78 points (51+18+9)
8ex-Yvan Bourgnon (Brossard) 78 points (51+18+9)