Everyone was wondering whether Rob Greenhalgh's Panther Team GBR were going to produce the same exuberant style for sailing as they did on Friday, during the non point scoring prologue which they easily won.
Some of the competitors feared that the Brits would dominate this Tour de France à la Voile 2002 as Adrian Stead's Barlo Plastics did in 2000. But others were questioning the Brits consistency.
After Saturday's first two races, it looks like it will be very fierce and tight racing all through this regatta and that the final results will be very difficult to predict.
Nevertheless, the other favourites showed good form. Pierre-Loic Berthet's Nantes-St-Nazaire was very impressive as they snatched victory in the first two legs of the 25th Tour de France à la Voile.
The 40 teams were obviously eager to start. After a long postponement due to shifting conditions, that made it difficult for the race committee to set up the start line, the first gun fired resulting in a general recall. The second start was black flagged.
Except for Jimmy Pahun's Région Ile de France and Bernard Mallaret's Cassis Maugio Carnon, most of the favourites favoured the pin end of the line. A call that proved to be right. Though the Swiss of Ville de Genève Carrefour Prévention rounded the top mark in f rst place. Panther Team GBR was in fourth place ahead of Antibes-NEC. Jimmy Pahun rounded the buoy in 22nd position with Bernard Mallaret following up the rear.
The shifting wind played a few tricks during the first run and the second beat. At the rounding of the third mark, Pierre Loic Berthet's Nantes St-Nazaire had got into the lead, the Swiss had dropped to 7th position and the Brits had climbed up to second position. After that, Nantes-St-Nazaire managed to retain the lead and snatched victory in the first race of the 25th Tour de France à la Voile. Panther Team GBR came home in fourth as Marc Thiercelin's Kenzo and the students of Cap Université St-Quentin en Yvelines passed them on the last run.
Australian Simon Sutherland and his Force EDC team comprising of Brits Aussies, and Dutch produced good sailing and finish the first race in fifth.
Amateur British Team Royal Thames of Owen Modral had an average first go as they came in 14th.
In the second race of the day, Nantes St-Nazaire confirmed their status as favourites by grabbing another victory. Ville de Genève Carrefour came in second place ahead of Cap Université St-Quentin en Yvelines. Force EDC proved consistency coming home in 8th. But Panther Team GBR finished in a disappointing 12th position. Royal Thames finished in 17th.
Today sees a windward/leeward race followed by a costal race along the beach of Malo Les Bains.