Class40 title decided in Transat Jacques Vabre

Published on November 18th, 2015

(November 18, 2015; Day 24) – Yannick Bestaven and Pierre Brasseur sailing their Guillaume Verdier designed Le Conservateur won Class40 division in the 5400 nm doublehanded Transat Jacques Vabre when they crossed the finish line off Itajaí, Brazil at 2040hrs and 09secs UTC this evening to conclude a long, tense duel with Maxime Sorel and Sam Manuard on the 2015 Manuard designed V and B.

When Bestaven and Brasseur clinched their overall triumph, the runners-up Sorel and Manuard were about 12 nm from the finish line. Third placed Carac Advanced Energies is more than 250 nm behind.

Bestaven and Brasseur win Class40 from a fleet of 14 boats which started on Sunday October 25th from Le Havre, France. Their elapsed time for the 5400 nm course was 24d 08 hrs 10m 09secs at an average of 9.24kts. In reality they sailed 5963 nm at a real average of 10.21kts. Their elapsed time is some 3d 10hrs 29m 44s more than the reference time for the course set in 2013 by winners Sébastien Rogues and Fabien Delahaye, at 20days 21hrs 41m 25s.

After leading by more than 310 miles into the Doldrums, they saw their substantial cushion ahead of V and B slashed to just 30 miles, but Bestaven and Brasseur survived a cliffhanger final few days, pushed all the way to the winning gun by Sorel and Manuard.

After taking Class40 victory by a matter of 10 hours into Pointe a Pitre, Guadeloupe with Eric Drouglazet in 2011 on, this is Bestaven’s second Class40 win on the Transat Jacques Vabre. With co-skipper Brasseur, the duo already won the Les Sables-Horta-Les Sables race this summer on Le Conservateur which is a TIZH 40 design launched for last year’s solo Route du Rhum.

On that solo race to Guadeloupe, Bestaven finished fourth across the finish line but was dropped to seventh because of a jury decision following a collision on the first night of the race. Brasseur finished sixth on that Route du Rhum on Matouba and finished third in the last edition of the Transat Jacques Vabre, sailing with German co-skipper Jorg Riechers, one place ahead of Bestaven who raced the 2013 race with Aurelien Ducroz.

Le Conservateur has always been among the top three boats since leaving the English Channel. They opted for the north-western route towards the first depression but were not as extreme as rivals Team Concise, the early leaders Jackson Bouttell and Gildas Mahé, who had to retire from the race with structural damage. On the morning of the third day at sea Nicolas Troussel and Corentin Horeau on Bretagne Credit Mutuel Elite, one of the other top contenders, also withdrew with keel bolt issues and autopilot failure.

At that point, Bestaven and Brasseur were already ahead, leading V and B by 12 miles. They sailed smartly through the second depression getting west early racing side by side with Sorel and Manuard for the coming days of big winds and waves. It was when they emerged first out of the Azores High that Le Conservateur started to extend distance on V and B, gaining to be 37NMS ahead as they passed the latitude of the Azores. By the Cape Verde Islands, that delta had grown to what was increasingly looking like an unassailable lead, some 267NMs. As Bestaven and Brasseur entered the Doldrums they were 318Nms ahead of rivals V and B.

But they became badly stuck for more than 48 hours, making only a handful of miles while Sorel and Manuard scythed down towards the trapped Le Conservateur. When they emerged their lead had dropped from over 300 nm to 30. An indeed at Fernando de Noronha it was a meagre 14 nm.

From there the duel had continued unchecked, never more than 20 nms between the top two boats. Whilst outwardly Bestaven and Brasseur appeared serene in the Doldrums, the battle down the Brazilian coast has been intense, hour after hour, day after day. Victory in Itajaí is especially sweet this evening for Yannick Bestaven and Pierrer Brasseur.


1 – FenêtréA Prysmian, Erwan Le Roux and Giancarlo Pedote
2 – Ciela Village, Thierry Bouchard and Oliver Krauss
3 – Arkema, Lalou Roucayrol and César Dohy

1 – PRB, Vincent Riou and Sébastien Col
2 – Banque Populaire VIII, Armel Le Cléac’h and Erwan Tabarly
3 – Queguiner – Leucemie Espoir, Yann Elies and Charlie Dalin

1 – Macif, François Gabart and Pascal Bidégorry
2 – Sodebo Ultim’, Thomas Coville and Jean-Luc Nélias

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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)


Report by event media.


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