Podium full in Transat Jacques Vabre
Published on November 29th, 2021
(November 29, 2021) – The Class40 victory in the 15th edition of the Transat Jacques Vabre has gone to Redman, co-skippered by Frenchman Antoine Carpentier and Pablo Santurde Del Arco of Spain. Second place went to Banque Du Léman with third to Seafrigo-Sogestran.
The winning pair, who started the race as one of the favorites, crossed the finish line this morning. They completed the course from Le Havre in northern France to Martinique in 21 days 22 hours 33 minutes and 30 seconds, covering the 4,600 mile theoretical course at an average speed of 8.7 knots. Their actual distance covered was 5,502.96 miles and averaged 10.45 knots.
The whole Class40 fleet struggled in the light airs that marked the race, especially in the early days. The leaders were bunched together with little to separate them but the Redman pair pulled off a great move at the Canary islands that gave them a small lead, which turned out to be enough.
“We didn’t want to take too many risks early on, which cost us on that first night off Cherbourg. But we worked hard to get back into the game. Once we sneaked ahead it was a matter of controlling the race,” said Carpentier.
The winners maintained and grew their advantage – the result of many hours spent at the helm keeping up with the pace imposed by the Class40s just behind them. Not an easy task given the problems they were having. “We had to steer 80% of the time. On the one hand for performance when the sea was choppy, but also because we didn’t have much energy on board and the autopilot is very energy consuming,” admits Carpentier.
Santurde Del Arco added, “It was difficult, but that’s what we came for. Antoine and I have known each other for a long time, but we have always been competitors on the water. We didn’t have much food, it was hard on the nerves. We had to start rationing two days before Cape Verde.”
1 hour 4 minutes and 8 seconds after Redman crossed the line, Banque du Léman took second place. Valentin Gautier and Simon Koster of Switzerland covered 5,477.45 miles averaging 10.38 knots.
The pair returned to the Transat Jacques Vabre with the aim of doing better than their fourth placed finish in 2019. Two years ago, their boat was newly launched and short on testing, this time around Banque du Léman, with its scow-bow proved herself against tough opposition.
Co-skipper Valentin Gautier admitted their second place almost didn’t happen: “We had a scare last night when a spinnaker halyard broke. Spinnaker in the water with the guys upwind going 15-16 knots, we had to react quickly. We managed to bring everything back and after 15 minutes we had a spinnaker in the air again, it was efficient!”
Simon Koster admits it was a race to the finish: “It was tense right to the last minute. We spent all night fighting it out. It was a great race! The fleet was very close together. We were surprised, we expected to finish the race with 5-6 boats, but we were 30 boats lined up.”
Just over 30 minutes behind came Seafrigo – Sogestran to claim third place in the Class40. Co-skippers Cédric Château and Jérémie Mion completed the course in 5,399.04 miles at 10.22 knots.
Just a few months ago, Mion was at the Tokyo Olympic Games in the 470. He teamed up with Château, who’s director of the Normandy Sailing Sports Centre in Le Havre, to take on the very different challenge of ocean racing.
Château paid tribute after the race: “Jérémie is someone who doesn’t give up, he’s a bad loser but a very good winner. We are super proud of our Transat.”
Like many in the fleet, the pair had to overcome technical issues and the run to the finish line was particularly stressful: “We lost some ground on our Swiss friends when we tore the big spinnaker. To gain places, we had to steer quite a lot to make the boat go forward, we had some small energy problems on board,” explained Château.
Among the hard luck stories in the IMOCA division was the 11th Hour Racing Team’s brand new boat ‘Mālama’ which completed her first race today in 13th place out of the 22 starters. Co-skippered by Charlie Enright (USA) and Pascal Bidégorry (FRA), the boat crossed the line in 21 days 13 hours and 37 minutes.
Mālama had a strong start to the race, consistently in the top five, before damage to the keel fin was discovered on day 13. This forced the crew to sail at no more than 70% of the maximum speed possible for the final week of the race.
“We’ve arrived safely and that’s one measure of success for us – I am proud that we have made it here,” said Enright. “It was a race of two halves – there was a lot of good and a lot of bad as well, and the paradigm between the first half and the second half has been immense.
“We have had to dig really deep from a mental point of view to get here to Martinique as it would have been easy to give up and pull into Brazil. But our goal was to get to the finish line of the Transat Jacques Vabre and we’ve made it. It’s a victory of sorts.”
Launched at the end of August 2021, the crew had just two weeks of sailing onboard Mālama, and six nights offshore, before they set off on the Transat Jacques Vabre.
11th Hour Racing Team’s second boat, Alaka’i co-skippered by Simon Fisher and Justine Mettraux, dismasted on Day 4 of Transat Jacques Vabre; both crew were uninjured in the incident.
“It hasn’t been the race we expected, but the strength and determination of both crews has been impressive,” said 11th Hour Racing Team CEO Mark Towill. “Our team’s focus now turns to The Ocean Race 2022-23 and our fully-crewed entry into the round the world race.”
1. Maxi Edmond de Rothschild – finished
2. SVR – Lazartigue – finished
3. Banque Populaire XI – finished
1. Primonial – finished
2. Koesio – finished
3. Leyton – finished
1. LinkedOut – finished
2. Apivia – finished
3. Charal – finished
1. Redman – finished
2. Banque Du Leman – finished
3. Seafrigo – Sogestran – finished
The Transat Jacques Vabre is a double-handed race featuring four classes of boats starting November 7 from Le Havre, France. At nearly 30 years old, having first run in 1993 and every two years since, the 15th edition in 2021 attracted a record-breaking 79 boats: 5 Ultimes, 7 Ocean Fifty, 22 Imoca and 45 Class40s.
The course endures often brutal winter conditions, with a shift this year for the finish, moving from South America to Martinique in the Caribbean, in addition to various mid-Atlantic turning marks for the four classes.
Source: Transat Jacques Vabre