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12 May 2004, 11:17 am
First Few Arive In St. Barts
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Transat AG2R
St. Barts

Yesterday evening at around 2100 GMT (5.00pm local time), Groupe SCE - Le Télégramme, sailed by Armel Le CLEAC'H and Nicolas TROUSSEL sailed into St. Barts to claimm victory in a hard fought race.
After over 20 days at sea, they finished a little ahead of the popular duo of Pascal Bidegorry and Sidney Gavignet in Banque Populaire.

Intensely close racing has dominated this event right to the finish. Positions constantly changed during the final 48-hours as the fleet gybed downwind to the island of St. Barts,

By the early hours of this morning it was apparent the boats to the south had gained more favourable winds on their approach to the island with Port Trébeurden (Romain ATTANASIO and Nicolas BÉRENGER) taking 3rd, Bostik-Findley (Charles CAUDRELIER and Antoine KOCH) 4th. After 21 days at sea Sam DAVIES and Jeanne GREGOIRE finished less than 10 hours behind, taking 5th position in a highly competitive fleet.

Speaking from the dock shortly after arrival Sam said, "It might have looked good on the positions based on distance to go, but we knew we wouldn't be able to hold 3rd place because we were coming in from the north - and unfortunately the wind was unusually coming from the North East - so we were gybing downwind while the guys behind, and to the south, were reaching in much faster. But we were ecstatic to beat Delta Dore and finish in the top 5. Really I've never been happier about a result as this"

This 3760 mile race has tested every element of the sailors' skills and is a great reminder of how thrilling one design Figaro racing can be with boats match racing with each other Mid Atlantic under full sail in 30knots of breeze.

With the delayed start resulting in the stopover in Madeira being cancelled the event became the longest single journey in the Figaro's history, yet the top pack have remained in incredibly close proximity throughout the crossing, with little more than 10 miles separating them for much of the Atlantic.

Competition has been fierce from the outset with rankings changing at every position poll. The importance of the decisions taken by crews at Madeira in preparation for their transatlantic dash became apparent in the closing miles of the event. Cercle Vert, who took a northerly route and pulled away to lead the fleet through the mid Atlantic, dropped back through the fleet in the final stages.

Finishing positions and times as they happen are available on the event website at the address below.
Offshore Challenges (As Amended By ISAF News Editor)
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