Saturday, 18 September 2010

Cap Istanbul: The winner of Hyères TPM Trophy is Nicolas Lunven (Generali)

Nicholas Lunven (Generali): winner. Image copyright Jacques Vapillon/

by Marie Le Berrigaud-Perochon

Low wind, grey sky, wet surroundings... At the prologue race held in Hyéres on friday, the light weather conditions were effective. This didn't stop Nicolas Lunven (Generali) from maintaining his spot in the front lines and finally finishing first, despite Gildas Morvan (Cercle Vert) and Eric Drouglazet's (Luisina) pressing attacks. The famous open sea racer, Kito de Pavant was present. He wished luck to the fleet from the deck of his IMOCA 60. The sailors seemed to be racing to flaunt their talent in front of Pavant.

A cloudy and grey weather welcomed the WOW Cap Istanbul fleet, about to cover a course of 10 nautical miles around the peninsula of Giens.

The racers were so excited that the race committee had to announce several call backs before they were finally lined up for a clear start.

Eric Péron, Nicolas Lunven and Gildas Morvan had a strong start closely followed by Eric Drouglazet. The threesome eluded the rest of the fleet, managing to stay inside of a wind flux they discovered on the port side of the course.

Choosing to stay on the port side until they reached the windward mark, the first racers to make the turn were Gildas Morvan and Nicolas Lunven. Eric Drouglazet and François Gabart followed behind.

Hyères TPM Trophy (prologue). Image copyright Jacques Vapillon/

The leader opens the gap...

Although the kindling weather favoured the rest of the fleet, the leading group kept their distance well. Nicolas Lunven took better advantage of the reviving weather to open a growing gap between him and his rivals.

The first to cross the finish line was Nicolas Lunven. Gildas Morvan, Eric Drouglazet and François Gabart followed him. Eric Péron, Ronan Treussart and Erwan Tabarly came right after.

For the remaining fleet, the right of way rules at the mark, together with the wind that at times was refusing, at others pressing, were factors that affected the rest of the rankings.

Despite a weak start and turning last at the windward mark, Sébastien Josse (Vendée) made use of his vast experience to outpace half of the fleet. In the same way, at his first encounter with the masters of Figaro II, Turkish sailor Selim Kakış seemed pleased to leave behind over 10 boats.

To be fair, this race is far from providing a good picture for the upcoming race. It is easy to assume the racers paid more attention to their equipment and trims of their sails than use up their energy at the prologue.

Hyères TPM Trophy (prologue). Image copyright Jacques Vapillon/

The winners comment on the race...

Nicolas Lunven (Generali)
(Winner of Hyères - Toulon Provence Méditerranée Trophy)
"Today it didn't matter if I came last. I had opportunity to use my spinnaker for longer. But still, it feels good to win. I've been on the sea everyday since I came to Hyéres and I trained very well. Today I got the results of my hard work. After losing at the solo Figaro race, this trophy restored my confidence.”

Gildas Morvan (Cercle Vert)
(Runner up of Hyères - Toulon Provence Méditerranée Trophy)
"I can't say we raced under bad conditions. It was typical Brittany weather with 8-10 knots of wind. Apart from a little difficulty while sailing with my spinnaker, everything went well. Nicolas Lunven won the race. I have nothing to say to that. They say it's bad luck to win a prologue race. So, I try to see the positive side to this situation.”

Eric Drouglazet
(Third place for Hyères - Toulon Provence Méditerranée Trophy)
"This was a great opportunity to try out my new spinnakers. I don't believe the speed tests conducted under such volatile conditions are very reliable. There is only a short list of things to do now. Mainly technical details and regular inspection.”

Cap Istanbul