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Oman’s BAE Systems go for the Eiffage TP Med Race
Oman’s BAE Systems is back in action in France racing for the ultimate offshore French Championship Title scored on overall results achieved in Normandy Sailing Week, the Tour de France à la Voile 2012 and the weeklong Eiffage TP Med Race 2012 currently being contested in Corsica and Marseille.
The BAE Systems multi-national team racing aboard the high performance M34 sport boat is ranked fourth overall among the event leaders for the French Championship so far.
The Eiffage TP Med Race is the final event of the offshore French championship for both singlehand and crewed yachts. It is also the final event of the M34 Volvo Tour which started with the Spi-Ouest regatta in April this year, an event specially created for this newly launched “mini Volvo” class.
“Our goal is to finish the season on a high note, to keep challenging the top three M34 teams and to start working towards 2013 on specific goals like starts and mainsail settings. We also want to keep our training at a high level going forward, especially considering we have two new Omani crew, Mohamed Mubarak al Makhaini and Mohammed Al Mujaini, with us,” said skipper Cedric Pouligny.
Back in France for the Eiffage TP Med Race is BAE Systems bowman Ali Al Balushi who says he is very happy to catch up with the team again so soon after the 2012 Tour de France à la Voile.
“After the Tour we knew we could do very good things and we hope to continue doing well in the Eiffage TP Med Race. We still have a lot to learn but our target here is to do our best and enjoy sailing together. With 10 boats in the fleet it will be tight and I predict very close for the top five boats,” said Al Balushi.
It is BAE Systems’ second successive entry in the Eiffage TP Med Race, which Pouligny describes as a unique, scenically beautiful andlovely event contested in Marseille and Corsica. It involves a Mediterranean crossing, either by ferry or sailing, and this year is being contested in both the M34 and Figaro classes. He says it has a “very friendly ambiance” due its organization and position at the end of the sailing season.
“We opted to take the ferry from Marseille to Ajaccio in Corsica on Saturday and spent Sunday rigging the boat and getting her ready for the 30nautical mile delivery passage to Propriano. Monday is registration day in Propriano with the start of coastal racing on Tuesday. The main race from Propriano to Marseille starts Wednesday afternoon.
“We expect to finish in Marseille on Friday but conditions in the Mediterranean sea are always a surprise. For instance the Figaro class started yesterday from Marseille in a strong breeze and blasted through to Corsica until the middle of the night when the wind died and they slowed to two knots. It is completely unpredictable,” said Pouligny.
If the weather allows their arrival could coincidewith the Leg 3 finish of Oman’s flagship, the giant trimaran Musandam-Oman Sail and the rest of the MOD70 European Tour fleet from Cascais, which would be very exciting for both crews.
Coastal racing continues off Marseilles on Saturday with the grand finale on Sunday 23 September forming part of a spectacular Marseille regatta festival to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Eiffage TP Med Race Sunday.
The full crew aboard BAE Systems for the Eiffage TP MedRace is Cedric Pouligny (skipper), Mohammed Al Makhaini (mast), Mohamed Al Mujaini (Pit), Majid Al Mujaini (trim), Ali Al Balushi (bow), Ahmed al Ma’amari, Gerald Veniard (Navigator/tactics), Alex Palu (main), Nicolas Deberque (trim).
The top five leaders for the French Championship are currently:
(Listed as skipper, sponsor and current position)
Fabien Henry & Tugdual Becquemie / Toulon Provence Méditerranée, 1
Daniel Souben / Courrier Dunkerque, 2
Nicolas Troussel / Bretagne Crédit Mutuel Elite, 3
Cédric Pouligny / BAE Systems, 4
Jimmy Pahun Vincent & Aillaud / Ile de France, 5.
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