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19 November 2001, 08:48 am
Groupama First, Foncia Second
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Groupama

Transat Jacques Vabre
Bahia

At 1853hrs local time in Brazil, 2053 hrs GMT, Groupama, the Open 60ft trimaran skippered by Franck Cammas, with Swiss co-skipper Steve Ravussin, crossed the line and thus took the final victory in the double-handed Transat Jacques Vabre.
Groupama covered 5,188.6 miles in 14 days, 9 hours, 3 minutes and 25 seconds at an average speed of 15.03 knots.

This is the second time the French/Swiss duo have raced in the Transat Jacques Vabre, taking second place behind Loick Peyron & Franck Proffit on Fujicolor in 1999. With 17 podiums out of 19 races disputed since 1998, Franck Cammas and Groupama have taken the highest place for this classic double-handed transatlantic race, which for the first time has taken the multihull fleet over the Equator into the Southern Hemisphere.

One remembers that it was none other than the green and white hulled Groupama to round the top buoy just after the start in the Bay of Le Havre, an impressive beginning, which has now ended gloriously.

Three hours and 32 minutes after Groupama took victory in the Transat Jacques Vabre, Kingfisher-Foncia, skippered by Alain Gautier and Ellen MacArthur, crossed the line at 2225hrs 10s local time (1225hrs 10s GMT) under a "magical starry night", in Gautier's own words. They have spent 14 days, 12 hours, 35 minutes and 10 seconds racing.

Alain Gautier & Ellen MacArthur had held the lead on Kingfisher-Foncia for several days until a broken bowsprit, hydraulic problems and blown out gennaker slowed them up sufficiently for Groupama to steal victory in the final 24 hours of the race.

Kingfisher-Foncia's average speed on the official course of 5188.6m was 14.88 knots, but as they sailed a total of 6,096 miles their average speed was 17.48 knots.

Ellen said happily 10 minutes after crossing the line: "I'm relieved that we're here, that we've arrived after last night's problems, it's great to see so many people, for sure we're both a bit disappointed to finish 2nd when we'd been leading for a big part of the race. The sailing was fantastic, Alain was fantastic, the race was fantastic!"





Mary Ambler/News Editor
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