November 17, 2022
The Favorites Make Themselves Known!
The 14e edition of the St. Barth Cata-Cup got underway on Thursday, November 17. This first day of competition saw the 57 competing duos set out on an invigorating race between the islet of Toc Vers and Roche de Bœuf, before setting sail again in the afternoon between St Jean Bay and Pain de Sucre in slightly less difficult conditions, but with different zones of transition, which continually reshuffled the cards in the heart of the fleet.
No real surprises at the end of the day, although the favorites made themselves known. In the provisional classification, Tim Mourniac and Pierre-Yves Durand (Segeco), sailed perfectly with two race victories, putting them in first place and winning the “Design Affairs-001” Prize. They are ahead of Gurvan Bontemps and Benjamin Amiot (Pixail) as well as Patrick Demesmaeker and Olivier Gagliani (Les Perles de Saint-Barth–Bativrd), big favorites at this regatta. The title holders, Argentineans Cruz Gonzalez Smith and Mariano Heuser (SBDE), also proved they were in good form, but already played their joker in the first round due to an accident with their jib sheet.
“It was a superb first day with two great races, not too short, not too long, but a tough day!” points out Gurvan Bontemps. The weather conditions were quite challenging for the Thursday races, with a flux in wind blowing between 13 and 20 knots. In this context, the heavies in the competition and the small sport catamaran specialists were a cut above the rest. “As we expected, it was confirmed from the outset that they can be counted on this week. We saw some great battling for the front positions. As for us, we are super happy with our performance. We got stronger little-by-little. We already had a good flying tuning sail, which allowed us to be fast enough while we still are in the process of learning our new sails,” comments the Frenchman, who, after a second and third place, finds himself in second place in the provisional standings at the end of the first day. A first day dominated by the head and shoulders of duo Tim Mourniac and Pierre-Yves Durand, who sailed perfectly into two first places. “We raced pretty well. We are happy with our speed. It was pretty dense and as one might expect at a regatta at this level, it's all played out in the details,” explains the Segeco helmsman, who has already confirmed his ambitions.
Expediency Is The Ticket
“The first race was a kind of big windward-leeward loop, so it was not too different from what I am used to doing. It was all tactics. You had to follow the wind and best exploit the site effects,” notes Tim, a member of the Nacra 17 France team, experienced in this sort of regatta. “We did really well when passing the first windward marker, but we were really fast going downwind, which allowed us to catch up to Gurvan and Benjamin, pass them, then finally win. On the second race, there were transitions to negotiate along the west coast of the island. That was like a raid a little harder and nervous-making to navigate, with a lot of maneuvering. The fact that we started well allowed us to create a nice little lead at the beginning but when it became more delicate, by being in our position, we forcibly paved the way for the others who took advantage to gain speed. The passage of the point in Colombier was the decisive moment. The Argentineans, who had taken the lead for a moment, made a small error when clearing the point. We were able to seize the opportunity and get back in the lead,” continues Tim Mourniac, winner of the Design Affairs-001 Prize this evening, who is keeping a cool head about what’s coming.
No Room For Error
“Today, we were feeling good. Tomorrow, it could be someone else. There are several of us vying for the final victory,” concludes Pierre-Yves Durand’s teammate. “The battle for the top spots is very tight. So just the slightest error would have a big impact. On the water, you blink your eyes and bang, you have lost 150 meters!,” relates Olivier Gagliani who, after a third and a fifth place, completes the provisional podium alongside Patrick Demesmaeker, and does not hide his admiration for the Mourniac–Durand duo. “For us, they are the top dogs of this 14th edition,” says the sailor affectionately known as Trois Pommes (Three Apples). The race has just started and at this stage, it all remains to be seen, including for those competitors who were confronted with equipment breakage or unintentionally sailing off-course during this first day of racing. These include title holders Cruz Gonzalez Smith and Mariano Heuser. Victims of a problem with their job sheet in the first act, the two South Americans finished in 17th place, which risks costing them on the days to come, even if they rapidly fixed their problem and finished in second place in the second regatta.
Schedule for Friday, November 18:
- 9am: Briefing for EDEN ROCK VILLAS RENTAL Prize
- 9:30am: EDEN ROCK VILLAS RENTAL Racing
- 7:30pm: Announcement of the EDEN ROCK VILLA RENTAL Prize results
- Dinner at GYP SEA restaurant
- 10pm Free concert with Freedom, open to the public at GYP SEA