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Route des Iles 2004 : bis repetita for Dimitri Deruelle
Wind, sunshine an unexpected facts for the 12th edition of the “Route des îles” race which was won for the second time by the Deruelle-Paul team wheeling the Défi Partagé Marseille.
Organized since 1993 by Paul D’Ortoli, well-known skipper, this high level race rejoins Corsica to the continent and is based on an extremely original concept of “spectacles regattas” which associates one weekend cruising to monotype races. Embarked on a ferryboat, the public can thus closely follow the departure, the arrival and the passages of buoys of the challenging crews.
However, a strike at the SNCM, historical partner of the race, has forced the organization to modify the program and to limit the race in the Marseilles area. That was not important for the challengers ready to ensure the spectacle on board of mythical Mumm 30, sailing boats used for the “Tour de France à la voile” of which the handiness, the lightness and the speed are no more to show. Young promising crews and great names of the sailing world like Dimitri Deruelle, Marc Emig (winner of the Route in 2002), Pierre-Loïc Berthet, Armel Le Cléac’ H (winner of the “Solitaire du Figaro” in 2003) or Chris Draper (49er bronze medal at the Olympic Games) thus fought with equal weapons in a more than variable mistral wind.
Indeed, if the first sets took place under ideal weather conditions with fresh breeze of 15 knots, the increasing of the wind during following days pushed the crews in their ultimate cuttings off. In front of challengers with marked ambitions and young people without complexes, Dimitri Deruelle, strengthened by his knowledge of the area, had imposed himself as of the first days of the race. The team of the Défi Partagé offered to the Marseilles public a true festival under a 30 knots mistral wind to the detriment of Pierre-Loïc Berthet (Bouygues Telecom), handicapped by the breakage of his spinnaker, and Armel Le Cléac’ H (Elvström team). The set of September 23rd made it possible for Bouygues Telecom to make up for its lost time at the end of a bitterly disputed race with Astérix leaded by Chris Draper, particularly strong in the breeze. The big loser was without any doubt the Australian crew of Kato of which the mast breakage impressed the public. Confirming the sailors’ spirit of solidarity, Marc Emig (SCAC) did not hesitate to offer to the unhappy team a replacing mast.
The beautiful domination of the winner of the 2003 edition was however put in bad position by the Elvström team during the Olympic course of September 24th with a wind reaching 35 knots. It did not last! September 25th the Défi Partagé charmed people fond of big thrills by the precision and the speed of its operations during intensive regattas. Lastly, the good feeling of the Marseilles crew proved to be reliable once again with the last set of the competition by winning the ultimate Olympic courses “cohesion of our team constitutes an extraordinary asset. It enabled us to make the difference” commented Dimitri Deruelle on the arrival.
On the podium, the Deruelle-Paul team enjoyed its victory under the admiring glance of the Tom Thumb of the competition, the Free Houle team, composed by underprivileged young people trained to the sea jobs. A sunny final, which caused vocations…
– AM –
Photo credit: Yohan Brandt