Nine 60ft trimaran teams will take to the waters off Cagliari in southern Sardinia tomorrow to compete for the Italian grand prix in the ORMA circuit running from 13-15 June
The Golfe des Anges is a magnificent spot with azure blue water and an equally colourful coastline. The sea breeze can be strong, usually around 15-20 knots from the south southeast in the afternoon, but equally, as the Tornado experienced today in these waters, can equally be non-existent.
The boat to beat at present is Franck Cammas' Groupama, who so far this season has won the Grand Prix in Lorient and the recent Challenge Mondial Assistance offshore race from Cherbourg to Rimini. This must be gaulling to the majority of the fleet who are racing newer and supposedly faster boats, particularly as Cammas is currently working on his next 60ft trimaran - another design by Marc van Peteghem and Vincent Lauriot Prevost.
The rest of the line-up comprises the three most likely contenders for Groupama, Lalou Roucayrol's Banque Populaire, Michel Desjoyeaux's Géant and Thomas Coville's Sodébo. Then there are the Italian boats Karine Fauconnier's Sergio Tacchini and Giovanni Soldini's TIM, which although a sistership to Jean le Cam's Bonduelle has never proved to be patch on her performance-wise.
Finally there is Sopra Group which sees the return of her skipper Philippe Monnet after his run-in with the law, Stève Ravussin's Banque Covefi and Lionel Lemonchois' Gitana X, which despite being one of the most hi-tech boats in the fleet has still yet to prove herself.
Notable absentees in Cagliari are Foncia. Following her capsize in the Challenge Mondial Assistance she is back in Lorient awaiting a new boat. Skipper Alain Gautier hopes to have the tri back in action for the Fecamps Grand Prix. Meanwhile Bayer Cropscience and Belgacom both of whom dismasted in the Challenge Mondial Assistance are currently in La Ciotat and Marseilles respectively awaiting new rigs and hope to make the next grand prix of the circuit in Marseilles on 4-6 July.
Meanwhile Marc Guillemot is not taking part in the Cagliari Grand Prix because of budget while Jean le Cam is having to spend some time on his Vendee Globe campaign. Both boats are expected to take part in the Marseilles Grand Prix back in home waters.
ORMA championship after two events
1- Groupama Franck Cammas 0 point
2- Banque Populaire Lalou Roucayrol 10 points
3- Géant Michel Desjoyeaux 14 points
4- Sodebo Thomas Coville 20 points
5- Bonduelle Jean Le Cam 22 points
6- Banque Covefi Stève Ravussin 30 points
7- Sergio Tacchini Karine Fauconnier 31 points
8- Belgacom Jean-Luc Nélias 42 points
9- Foncia Alain Gautier 46 points
10- Bayer Cropscience Jean Maurel 47 points
11- Sopra Group Laurent Bourgnon 49 points
12- Gitana Lionel Lemonchois 50 points