After winning the first six races, Tim Mourniac and Pierre-Yves Durand headed into the last day of sailing without any pressure, as they knew that whatever happened on the water, that they had already won the 14th edition of the St. Barth Cata Cup. The Segeco duo had but one goal: sail a perfect regatta. And the two sailors from Brittany won their bet on Sunday, November 20, by winning the last race of the regatta, from the bay of Saint Jean to Public, via Grande Pointe. And the icing on the cake: they are the first to turn in such a performance at this regatta. Until now, no other tandem has been able to put on such a show of force. But behind them, on the other hand, the teams fought hard and had to wait until the home stretch to know the winning trifecta. A trifecta completed by the duos of Gurvan Bontemps–Benjamin Amiot (Pixail) and Patrick Demesmaeker–Olivier Gagliani (Les Perles de Saint-Barth–Bativrd), respectively in second and third place.
Royalty, untouchable, dominating… there are not enough superlatives to describe Tim Mourniac and Pierre-Yves Durand. They sailed the perfect regatta, with seven wins in seven races, and the teammates literally sailed over the competition in the 14th edition of the St. Barth Cata Cup. “There are weeks like that, where everything works out. Where one has the impression of being perfectly in the groove and even succeeding in anticipating everything. It feels good and makes us happy!” comments the helmsman who won the 2022 regatta with panache, in spite of very high-level competition, technical races, and challenging physical conditions throughout the week. “The site is complex, with strong specificities that impact the itineraries to be honest. Once we understood all that, it was easier,” adds Tim, winner of the Tour de France for sailing in 2018, Nacra 15 Junior World Champion in 2016, and member of the Nacra 17 France team in mixed double with Lou Berthomieu. “The last race today was complicated, a sort of round-trip the length of the island with many zones without wind, and by ricochet, multiples zones of transition in which it was easy to get lost. With Pierre-Yves, we had a handicap right from the beginning of the race as we did not start very well. Yet we succeeded in passing the marker at Grande Pointe in second place, but with an enormous gap behind Ravi Parent and Nick Lovisa. We followed our instinct calmy, trying to apply ourselves technically. We knew that we potentially had the chance to make a comeback. Then they made a small error and we were able to pass them. We battled it out with them for several hundred meters then they made a fatal error,” explains the Frenchman. As improbable as unexpected, the Americans actually missed the last marker, right before the finish line. That was a painful mistake for the duo of Maxwell & Co for man and woman, who were disqualified and have to be happy with their eighth place in the general classifications. But a gift of gold for the Segeco team who now follow in the footsteps of Argentineans Cruz Gonzalez Smith and Mariano Heuser (SBDE) as winners of the regatta. A winner’s circle in which Jean-Christophe Mourniac, Tim’s father, already stood in 2019 alongside Antoine Rucard. “Proof that one Mourniac can hide another!” jokes Tim.
Behind the winners, there was a lot of action for second and third place on the podium. At the start of this final race, four duos were still in the running to stand on this famous box: Gurvan Bontemps and Benjamin Amiot, Cruz Gonzales Smith and Mariano Heuser, as well as Patrick Demesmaeker and Olivier Gagliani, with only four small points separating them after the first six races. “Before starting out this morning, we made our calculations. To keep our second place, we had to make sure the Belgians did not win, and also that the Argentineans finished behind us. And that’s what happened. We are super happy because just two days ago we were disappointed with our performance in the tour around the island. But we didn’t give up. Yesterday and today, we had good days. We finished in second place for the fourth time at this event!” comments Benjamin, who already won silver with his teammate in 2016, 2019, and 2021. “We’ll have to try our luck again. We finish by saying that every year. I think, in the end, that gives us a good excuse to come back,” jokes the Pixail partner. “One thing is certain, there is nothing to say about the victory by Tim and Pierre-Yves. They were untouchable this time”
Belgians Patrick Demesmaeker and Olivier Gagliani agree:
They sailed a notch above the rest. As for us, we were not surprised. They were our favorites even before the start of the regatta. We are very happy to have finished on the podium once again,” relate the two sailors, the only double winners of the St. Barth Cata Cup to date (in 2015 and again in 2018). “It was close right to the end. We saved our third place at the last minute in the last race,” add the Belgians, who managed to finish the last race in third position in spite of some difficulty not far from the finish line in front of the beach in Public. “In a big gust, we almost capsized. I fell into the water. I just had time to grab onto something, which must have been the martingale and hop back on board. If we had really tipped over, the race would have been over.” Proof that even if Tim Mourniac and Pierre-Yves Durand sailed like extraterrestrials in this 14th edition of the Cata-Cup, racing in Saint-Barth is always lively, passionate, and frenetic!
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