“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.
“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.
“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.