Thermal breezes !
For the last couple of days, the Bay of Vigo has been basking in hazy skies and heavy sunshine. However, the heat wave is holding back the longed-for thermal breezes. Although it looks like there will be little of no wind to speak of on Thursday and Friday, the wind should be a little more cooperative this weekend.

It is difficult to forecast what the weather will be like for the Grand Prix de Galice which starts on Friday and finishes on Sunday in the Bay of Vigo. On Monday and Tuesday, the thermal breeze took time to settle as a sluggish front gave rise to hazy skies. Little more than 10 knots skimmed the surface of the course spotted with large windless zones. During the two training sessions launched on Tuesday, the usual hierarchy was rather turned on its head. Those who were first in the morning were last by the evening. This mid-season Grand Prix may mark a turn around in the provisional rankings of the Multihull Championship. What are the chances of Franck Cammas being worried by Frédéric Le Peutrec and the crew of Gitana 11 as they were in Corsica ?

Whatever happens, this is going to be a highly interesting course for the tacticians. There are so many factors to take into account here – relief, tidal currents, thermal breezes (created by the difference in temperature between the sea and the land), the influence of the synoptic wind (created by the pressure gradient of the low and high pressure systems). The outlook for the weekend is a return to normal with the Azores High settling over Europe and the appearance of a low gradient depression over the Iberian Peninsula. This means that there will be a weak NW wind (of 5-10 knots) and as the thermal breeze will be settling over the west towards midday, the wind should be picking up early afternoon to around 10 knots, to 15-18 knots around 16h00. Enough for lively starts for the six trimarans entered !

In the previous 16 rounds of the Grand Prix in this series, Groupama-2 has shown that she is difficult to shake. Never the less, the pressure is loading up in astern.  Gitana 11 is on the attack and making aggressive tactical choices. Banque Populaire is turning out to be fast in light air although not that consistent in terms of performance for the time being. Géant is making great progress, particularly in light wind. Foncia is much more aggressive all round particularly on the starts and Gitana X continues to surprise folks with her speed as soon as the wind kicks up. Perhaps we have a surprising Grand Prix de Galice in store. The Bay of Vigo is splendid – a course which opens out onto the sea but which is sheltered from the swell by the Cies islands and the green hills which generate wind corridors. Plenty to keep the strategy guys busy !

Trimarans entered in the Grand Prix de Galice

Pascal Bidégorry (Banque Populaire)
Michel Desjoyeaux (Géant)
Frédéric Le Peutrec (Gitana 11)
Franck Cammas (Groupama-2)
Armel Le Cléac'h (Foncia)
Thierry Duprey du Vorsent (Gitana X)

Crew - Gitana X

Thierry Duprey du Vorsent (skipper-helm)
Erwan Le Roux (tactician)
Mayeul Riffet (pit-navigator)
Jochen Krauth (trimmer)
Mathieu Tatibouët (mainsheet)
Yann Le Govic (mainsheet)
Jacques Guichard (trimmer)
Caroline Vieille (trimmer)
Xavier Dagault (wincher)
Antoine Carpentier (n°2/foredeck)
Léopold Lucet (n°1/bowman)

Crew - Gitana 11

Frédéric Le Peutrec (skipper)
Baron Benjamin de Rothschild (performer-navigator)
Yann Guichard (tacticia)
Jean-Baptiste Levaillant (trimmer)
Daniel Souben (trimmer)
Jean-Baptiste Epron (mainsheet)
Alex Quiblier (wincher)
Loïc Le Mignon (wincher)
Antoine Mermod (pit)
François Denis (n°2/foredeck)
Christophe Lassègue (n°1/bowman)

Provisional rankings of the ORMA Multihull Championship:

After the IB Challenge IB Group Challenge (weighting : 3), Grand Prix de Corse (weighting : 1), Giraglia Rolex Cup (weighting : 0.5) and the Grand Prix de Marseille Métropole (weighting : 1) :

1-Pascal Bidégorry (Banque Populaire) 9 points (0+3+2+4)
2-Michel Desjoyeaux (Géant) 14.5 points (6+4+1,5+3)
3-Frédéric Le Peutrec (Gitana 11) 16.5 points (9+2+3,5+2)
4-Franck Cammas (Groupama-2) 21 points (21+0+0+0)
5-Armel Le Cléac'h (Foncia) 25 points (12+7+1+5)
6-Thierry Duprey du Vorsent (Gitana X) 29.5 points (15+5+2,5+7)
7-Giovanni Soldini (TIM-Progetto Italia) 66 points (51+6+3+6)
8ex-Thomas Coville (Sodebo) 96 points (51+18+9+18)
8ex-Yvan Bourgnon (Brossard) 96 points (51+18+9+18)

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