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Normandy Sailing Week: Suspense all the way to the wire!
And so the curtain falls on the Normandy Sailing Week 2015! In a NW’ly wind of 8/10 knots, Groupama had to go all the way to the wire, on the very final race, to snatch outright victory in the DIAM 24OD category from the young crew on Vannes Agglo-Golfe from south-west Brittany! For the remainder of the mixed fleet, it was the crew from the Naval College CG 29 that utterly dominated in the J/80 class, with a total of 23 points compared with 36 for Courrier Junior in 2nd, which fought hard. In FC 7.5, it was the representative of the SRH, Alexandre Boite and his crew, who finish at the front of the fleet. Among the big IRC boats, Pintia and Foggy Dew logically secured the top spots in their respective categories and in category 4, it was Pinguin Playboy that took the win.

Today was the evidently the final home straight in this Normandy Sailing Week 2015! The numerous general recalls reflected the rather tense atmosphere, which reigned on the start lines of the different zones as the crews jockeyed for position in a bid for the top spots!

And when it comes to top spots, Groupama knows all about that! First on two occasions, sixth once and second once, and victory was in the bag. Indeed Pierre Pennec’s crew surpassed itself, managing to dislodge the youngsters on Vannes Agglo-Golfe from what looked, this morning, like a foregone conclusion in terms of the winners’ medals. Indeed, the latter had demonstrated almost disconcerting consistency at the top of the podium but crumbled under the pressure today to post a rather lacklustre performance. (4th, 7th, 14th, 7th). For the third step of the podium, everything came down to the final race between Combiwest and Beijaflore Sailing… However, it was Fred Guilmin crew who stood out in this duel, albeit just a point ahead of Nicolas Berenger!

Pierre Pennec (Groupama): “It really has been a fantastic day for Groupama team! This morning, we had a 15-point deficit on the leader, so it wasn’t easy to make up the difference in just 4 races… In the penultimate race, we were tied on points with the youngsters on Vannes Agglo, who’ve sailed very well this week, and finally we managed to just beat them on the last.”

By securing a victory in the final race of the day, the Ecole Navale CG 29 stylishly validated its first place in the overall J/80 ranking. However, it was skipper Eric Brezellec and his crew who will be kicking themselves… Indeed, despite some very fine performances aboard Courrier Junior (first 4 times in the 7 races after the discard), their collapse in the 2nd race (21st) condemned them to second place... With just 3 points separating the crew in 3rd place from that in 6th, the pressure was extreme. However, after a protest to the jury, Team Vendée and Paprec share the final step of the podium.

Frederic Hauville (Ecole Navale): “Everything went well. We’ve had a good day with the best wind conditions we’ve had over the past 3 days, with 3 great races and a stable wind. We scored a 4th, 2nd and 1st place, which means we’ve finished higher than Paprec in the overall ranking.”

By alternating between first and second places throughout the 5 races run, it comes as no surprise that the local of the event from the SRH, Alexandre Boite and his crew, finish as champions ahead of their neighbours from the SNPH2, represented by Céline Chevet, who also sailed a blinder of a competition, not once slipping off the podium.

With regards the IRC cruisers, Pintia took first place no less than 5 times in the 7 races retained and hence first place in the overall ranking of the IRC 1 and 2 categories. Foggy Dew also had a faultless competition, leading category 3 hands down. Meantime, things went right to the wire in category 4 with Pinguin Playboy just overtaking Bonobo at the end of the 6th and final race.

To round off this Normandy Sailing Week 2015 in style, all the participants have been invited to the prize-giving at 17:00pm local time this Sunday evening, on the terrace of the SRH.


Photo : Jean-Marie Liot/NSW 2015
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