Gitana Eighty arrived in Port la Forêt on Thursday at 23:13:25 UTC after 14 days, 9 hours, 13 minutes and 25 seconds of racing to win the Transat Ecover BtoB.
Skipper Loïck PEYRON (FRA) thus takes victory in his first single-handed transatlantic race aboard his new monohull designed by Farr Yacht Design and built in New Zealand by Southern Ocean Marine.
"It was a superb start off Bahia and all in all a south-north transatlantic is pretty interesting, especially when you have this level of competition!"
said PEYRON. "It was quite pleasant to sail on your own with a fine objective: a dialogue naturally occurs between the skipper and the boat... The battle has been intense on these boats, which are certainly complicated, but remain manageable: you just have to anticipate the problems well..."
Launched and stepped at La Trinité sur Mer in SW Brittany, France last July, Gitana Eighty has completed two ocean races consecutively within a month and a half. Following a fairly average performance in the Transat Jacques Vabre, marred by a difficult passage through the doldrums, PEYRON has controlled this return race between Salvador de Bahia, Brazil and Port la Forêt, France. Whilst eight of the solo sailors were still neck and neck at the equator, the skipper from La Baule on France's Atlantic coast, handled the south-north crossing of the doldrums perfectly and was first out of this zone of calms and squalls with a lead of over 40 miles. He held onto this lead almost throughout the climb up the North Atlantic, worried for just a few days by the return of Marc GUILLEMOT (Safran
) and Yann ELIÈS (Generali
). These two rivals were to experience technical problems however, which proved rather more penalizing than those of PEYRON...
Indeed the latter's only issue onboard was the loss of his mast wand, an incident which might appear trifling but did seriously handicap the skipper. The reasons for this were that the wind data was no longer passed on to the navigation centre and, most importantly, it could no longer be coupled with the automatic pilot. As a result the solo sailor had to be on deck as soon as the wind was variable, which was the case on several occasions, initially in the easterly trade winds, then during the passage of the Azores and finally during the transition zone off Spain.
Three and a half hours after PEYRON, Kito DE PAVANT (Groupe Bel
) took second place, with Michel DESJOYEAUX (Foncia
) one hour further back, the latter having slowed after hitting a fishing boat just 40 miles from home.
and Cheminées Poujoulat
claimed fourth, fifth and sixth respectively, with Sam DAVIS (GBR) on Roxy
set to be the next finisher this evening.
Transat Ecover-BtoB - www.transatbtob.com