After a relatively slow 11 days, 6 hours and 52 minutes of tough solo sailing from La Rochelle, France to Lanzarote, Frenchman Yannick Bestaven crossed the finish line to take leg one victory.
He was followed closely by Arnaud Boissieres just 1 hour 52 minutes later.
Shortly after stepping from his boat, Yannick Bestaven admitted to being tired and very hungry. His tiredness was a direct result of the pressure he was put under by the leading gang of four as they took turns challenging for the lead. "Right up to the end I was sure I would be caught by Arnaud - this pushed me on to stretch myself for the finish. I spent a lot of time listening to RF1 for the news of the race positions and this is how I learned about the sad news of Roberto. It is very sad and there but for a slip go any of us".
Of his boat he only had praise "we broke nothing, everything is good on board... we have made a good boat from a good designer!" Both the first boats in leg one are Magnen designs based upon his all conquering Karen Liquid (now Radical Boats) in which he won the last two Mini Transat races.
The only problem there was on board was a lack of food. "I only took food for eight days and with the weather being so un typical this time we took much longer, this became something I thought about often! I also lost my bowl so had to resort to my bailer to eat from!"
Both the top Aquarelle.com boat's skippers have taken part in the race before and for both the lessons learned in boats that broke in the first leg last time meant that they had prepared well for the 2001 edition.
For Manuard in third it is a good result to add to the history of his own designed boat. Throughout the season Sam and Tip Top have always been there or there abouts and another 'fanatic' approach to a boat has brough a good result.
The Brit Simon Curwen admitted that there are worse ways to spend a few days than slipping along with the dolphins - the only real problem aboard was the risk of injury from the 'stupid' flying fish that began to throw themselves at the boats towards the end of the leg - Curwen may be wearing a crash helmet during leg two. He was quick to praise Lionel Lemonchoix and Marc Lombard for theie fine work on his boat and in particular Lionel's time and patience helping Simon learn the ropes. Mention was also made for the unlucky Paul Peggs who lost his mast. Curwen recieved news over the radio and was pleased to see he is now back in the race and will be sharing a beer in a few days time.
Le Blevec brought in his Finot in just ahead of the leading woman Jeane Gregoire. She reported that she had sailed conservatively during the leg in order to be sure to arrive for leg two and was overjoyed with her sixth as the last she had heard was that she was in 9th position.
The first of the Series boats are expected in during the early evening hours carrying Michel Mirabel to his podium place. Behind him, with light winds holding them back, the rankings can still change, in particular for Herve Favre who could find himself pipped for fifth spot if Thomas Chochon continues to erode his lead.
Boats will continue to arrive for anything up to the next six days which puts their ability to regroup for the restart due for the 10th in danger.
CL; N° COURSE; SKIPPER; BATEAU; CODE; DIST.; LAT; LONG
1; 304; BESTAVEN Yannick; AQUARELLE.COM; CL; 0000.0; N285496; W0134225
2; 303; BOISSIERES Arnaud; AQUARELLE.COM; CL; 0000.0; N285496; W0134225
3; 258; MANUARD Samuel; TIP TOP / CHARMILLES SALES; CL; 0000.0; N285496; W0134225
4; 240; CURWEN Simon; QDS; CL; 0000.0; N285496; W0134225
5; 151; LE BLEVEC Yves; ACTUAL INTERIM; CL; 0000.0; N285496; W0134225
6; 139; GREGOIRE Jeanne; AQUARELLE .COM; CL; 0000.0; N292198; W0131016
7; 247; THOMPSON Brian; LIGHTHOUSE LIFE FOUNDATION; CL; 0036.7; N292021; W0131883
8; 232; RAISON David; NAUTI-PARK / NAVTEC; CL; 0048.6; N291391; W0130121
9; 227; DEVILLARD Xavier; RUSSE NOIR; CL; 0061.5; N294360; W0132930
10; 238; RIONDEL Jean; TOULON VAR PROVENCE; CL; 0063.9; N294645; W0132793