After his fifth place in La Solitaire du Figaro, Gwénolé Gahinet is back at the helm of his Figaro Bénéteau Safran-Guy Cotten to compete in the Tour de Bretagne (Tour of Brittany), from August 22 to 29. The programme for this double-handed race is four short legs from Saint-Malo to Piriac-sur-Mer via Lézardrieux, Camaret-sur-Mer and Groix. With an increased level of competition, there will be many phases of close-quarter racing. Therefore, Gahinet has chosen a match-racing* specialist, Mathieu Richard, to join him.
Fifth in La Solitaire du Figaro this summer, the skipper of Safran-Guy Cotten is raring to go for the penultimate event of the season, the Tour de Bretagne. “There will be some great names there, particularly five or six duos to watch closely,” Gahinet said. “With 22 boats entered, it promises to be a pretty intense battle. The aim is for a place on the podium...or even better!" The start of the first leg between Saint-Malo and Lézardrieux (44 miles) is on Sunday, August 22. Competitors will then circumnavigate the Île de Bréhat and follow a course between Lézardrieux and Camaret-sur-Mer (104 miles). The third leg will take the competitors to Groix (80 miles). The duos will then race the last leg to Piriac-sur-Mer (43 miles), where they are expected on August 29 after an intense week. “We’ll have some good sprints in beautiful places,” Gahinet said. “We’ll have to deal with the rocks and currents and it will be interesting in terms of positioning and strategy.”
Copyright:ALEXIS COURCOUX Depart de la 2eme etape de la Solitaire du Figaro - Eric Bompard cachemire entre La Corogne (Espagne) et La Cornouaille - La Corogne le
The complementary co-skipper
Gahinet will be supported by Mathieu Richard, who has been competing at the top level of match racing for almost 10 years (world n° 1 in 2009, world vice champion in 2010, 3rd in the World Match Racing Tour this year). In match racing, the races are short, tense and gripping. Richard is a specialist in close-quarter racing. “From my debut in the Figaro, I've just been less comfortable in the starting and contact phases," Gahinet said. “With a view to the Generali Solo (starting on September 20), I’ll be able to work on these aspects with Mathieu on the Tour de Bretagne, which looks like being really tight. Our skills are complementary. I’ll take care mainly of navigation and settings. He’ll handle the more tactical parts and will be more often at the helm.” The two sailors met at the 2012 Tour de France à la Voile (the sailing Tour de France). "I liked Mathieu’s way of sailing, his always positive attitude,” the skipper of Safran-Guy Cotten said. “He’s very laidback, and handles pressure and stress well.” Though less experienced in the Figaro, Richard does, however, have a participation in the Tour de Bretagne in 2011 to his credit, an edition won by Gildas Mahé alongside a certain Morgan Lagravière, the current skipper of the IMOCA, Safran. Four years later, Gahinet could see himself joining Lagravière on the race honours board.
The programme of the 2105 Tour de Bretagne à la Voile
August 22-23 - Saint Malo
August 22: prologue
August 23: start to Lézardrieux (Saint-Malo - Lézardrieux: 44 miles)
August 23-25 - Lézardrieux
August 23: arrival of the competitors
24 August: around the Île de Bréhat (20 or 27 miles)
August 25: start to Camaret-sur-Mer (Lézardrieux - Camaret-sur-mer: 104 miles)
August 26-27 - Camaret-sur-mer
August 26: arrival of the competitors
August 27: start to the Île of Groix (Camaret-sur-mer - Groix: 80 miles)
August 27-29 – Île de Groix
August 27: arrival of the competitors
August 28: windward/Leeward ‘banana’ course (9 miles) and around the Île de Groix (15 miles)
August 29: start to Piriac-sur-Mer (Groix - Piriac-sur-mer: 43 miles)
August 29 - Piriac-sur-Mer
August 29: arrival of the competitors and award ceremony
* Match racing: a form of racing, which consists of competing against an opponent on equal terms. Initially inspired by the America's Cup, match racing has become a separate discipline.