On Friday, November 18, the 57 duos racing in the 14e St. Barth Cata Cup set sail on a tour around the island. A race that is eliminated from the standings, and clearly an important race for the ratings even though it does not count double as it has in previous years. “We did a briefing with Kinou (editor’s note: Jean-Christophe Mourniac, winner of the 2019 regatta, as well as his father). They reminded us to check and double check our boat before this legendary tour around the island, an essential race for the final results. But karma caught up with us anyway, as we broke our Cunningham (editor’s note: a means of adjusting the shape of a sail) as we were starting out. Luckily we were able to repair it and gain time on the first tacks. We rapidly sailed to the front and took a nice lead to finally win,” says Tim Mourniac, who largely dominated the debates in the morning, yet watched the competition swoop down on him when passing the marker in front of Gustavia. “The marker was very close to the port in a zone where there little to no wind. This had an elastic effect. The fleet was very close together before spreading out again. We were a little nervous, but in the end it did make have an impact on our place at the finish line,” notes the helmsman from Segeco, who drove in the final nail in the afternoon, with a round-trip race, on the wind, then downwind, that the leaders gobbled up in about 45 minutes. “On such a short race, there is naturally a lot of intensity at the beginning. With Pierre-Yves, we moved into third position at the windward mark and attacked with a lot of force before the dogleg , which allowed up to unfurl our spinnaker before the others. From there the race was ours,” adds Tim.
With four victories in four races, Tim and his teammate are logically at the head of the standings. Who can stop them in their grand slam. That, of course, remains the big question. “At the moment we have a “clean sheet” to maintain, as we have not lost a single race. Evidently, we are happy. With Pierre-Yves, we get along well and are having fun on the water. We go from tack to tack, from wave to wave. We try to but a lot of intensity and precision into what we do. The results are there but it will be very close right to the end, because even if we are dominating, on paper there is still a long way to go,” muses Tim Mourniac. As the worst score for each team was excluded from the ratings this evening, the result was a scrambling of the list. This was especially important for the position of the tandem of Cruz Gonzalez Smith–Mariano Heuser (SBDE). The Argentineans has placed 17th in the first round after a problem with their jib sheet, so after that race was eliminated they moved from 10th place to second, just three points behind the leaders. “We had played our joker, but with second place for the other races, at this point in the competition, we are definitely still in the running to go after first place, even if we are aware that Tim and Pierre-Yves are going to be difficult to catch. They have not made a single error. As for us, we have the speed, upwind and downwind. We just really have to try not to do anything stupid and do things as simply as possible,” comments Cruz Gonzalez Smith, title holders for the St. Barth Cata Cup, who will not surrender so easily. Same story for Belgians Patrick Demesmaeker and Olivier Gagliani (Les Perles de Saint-Barth–Bativrd) who are still among the contenders, along with a handful of others!