Finishing is Victory For Foiling IMOCA

Published on November 12th, 2015

(November 12, 2015; Day 18) – Foils or no foils, second placed Armel Le Cléac’h and Erwan Tabarly conceded that Transat Jacques Vabre IMOCA Class winners Vincent Riou and Seb Col had sailed a better race and were deserved winners.

Le Cléac’h, who finished third in 2011 on his previous IMOCA and was runner up on the 2012-13 Vendée Globe, said there was only a little bit of disappointment with second place.

“We are super happy, one: that we finished the race and two: that we were playing to win,” noted Le Cléac’h. “We did not lack for much. We were beaten by a stronger team. And we are a great team together. We have a great boat. Certainly we were in the running, there was a lot of fixing to do but that comes with a new boat which has showed a great performance at times.”

Le Cléac’h added: “There is of course a bit of disappointment because we would have loved to win. We were leading at the entrance to the Doldrums. But we had some bad clouds which between that and a squall before the Doldrums lost us 35 miles. But it was close after that. We lacked a bit of speed when the trade winds were not so powerful along the Brazilian coast. So it was a bit frustrating to see PRB keep the lead. But they have sailed well, they have this course taped.”

As the only boat of the five new foiling generation IMOCAs which started in Le Havre to actually complete the course, Le Cléac’h remains confident that their foils are a big asset.

“Foils? We will keep them. We are super happy. We discussed them a lot. There are times when they worked well and others when we were not so good. But Banque Populaire VIII was launched six months ago and PRB has been sailing for five years. We still have a lot of room for improvements. We learned a lot from this race. There is plenty of work to do before the Vendée Globe.”

Taking third place into Itajaí yesterday evening, Yann Eliès who sailed Quéguiner-Leucemie Espoir with ace Figarist Charlie Dalin, confirmed that he believes there is more to the Vendée Globe winning equation than just foils or not.

“The choice is not whether to foil or not, it is especially about the financial and human capacity of each team to come up with a machine which is ready for the Vendée Globe. And so that answer lies in the equation of time, money, resources. And if that is not all, we need to improve the boat enough to beat Vincent Riou.”

“This third place brings a good feeling because it caps a great year for the team. After a victory in La Solitaire du Figaro, this is big. I won it two years ago with Erwan in the Multi 50. And this is nice for Charlie because it was not easy to find a teammate as good. And we both did well in the job. We knew from the start that if everyone finished the race we would not be third. So this is a wake-up call to everyone.”

“We still have plenty of things to do because we have only made 5400 miles. That is a lot on a long Transatlantic but next year there is 25,000 miles to cover. Today the boat would not be able to do that. There is a lot of winter work to do. Like everything on these boats, it is all complicated and when you are going at 25kts everything needs to be perfect to the millimetre.”

Fourth placed Thomas Ruyant the Dunkirk based skipper, who sailed his first IMOCA Transat with Adrien Hardy, won the Route du Rhum in Class 40 in 2010 but had two consecutive abadonments in this Transat Jacques Vabre in 2011 and 2013, laid that ghost to rest today with a good fourth place on Le Souffle du Nord, ultimately getting the better of a good match against Initiatives Coeur and its co-skippers Tanguy de Lamotte and Sam Davies, who are expected in fifth around 1930hrs UTC this evening.

Ruyant said: “We are happy! We did well this last 36 hours pushing hard with Adrien. To cut the finish line certainly feels good. We are proud to finish and in this IMOCA fleet it is a victory in itself to get to the finish in Itajaí. We had a good match with Tanguy and Sam.

“We had all kinds of weather, but even just in emotional terms it was not an easy race. It was our first race in the IMOCA so it has a special flavor, especially when it’s hard, intense, fast, with a high pace set by the leaders. Hats off to them! They were impressive. This gives me a good idea of ​​the climb I have still to make to get to that level. Because it is about boats, of course, but this is mostly about sailors. It helped also in the second part of the race to see how far we could go on these boats. I am delighted to have completed this Transat Jacques Vabre. It gives me great confidence, I am more relaxed because I know I have a solid boat.”

Finishes so far in Itajaí

1-MACIF (François Gabart & Pascal Bidégorry) in 12d 17h 29’ 27’’ (20,75 knots average speed on the water )
2-Sodebo Ultim’ (Thomas Coville & Jean-Luc Nélias) in 13d 00h 47’ 38’’ (20,51 knots average speed on the water ) at 7h 18’ 11’’ after first
Classe Multi50
1-FenêtréA-Prysmian (Erwan Le Roux & Giancarlo Pedote) in 16d 22h 29’ 13’’ (15,06 knots average speed on the water )
2-Ciela Village (Thierry Bouchard & Oliver Krauss) in 17d 17h 44’ 51’’ (15,03 kts) at 19h 15’ 38’’ after first

1-PRB (Vincent Riou & Sébastien Col) in 17d 00h 22’ 24’’ (14,78 knots on the water )
2-Banque Populaire VIII (Armel Le Cléac’h & Erwan Tabarly) in 17d 08h 29’ 09’’ (14,69 knots average speed on the water) at 8h 06’ 45’’ after first
3-Quéguiner-Leucémie Espoir (Yann Eliès & Charlie Dalin) in 17d 10h 01’ 23’’ (14,49 knots average speed on the water ) at 9h 38’ 59’’ after first.
4-Le Souffle du Nord (Thomas Ruyant & Adrien Hardy) in 18d 01h 27’ 45’’ (13,9 knots average speed on the water) at 1d 01h 05’ 21’’ after first.

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12th edition of the Transat Jacques Vabre in brief
• A legendary race 22 years old and 2015 marks the 12th edition
• Two founding partners: the city of Le Havre and brand Jacques Vabre
• Four classes on the starting line: Class40, Multi50, IMOCA and Ultimate
• Starting October 25 in Le Havre (FRA) for the 5400nm course to Itajaí (BRA)


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