The fourth time's a charm, sort of. Just under four hours after Bernard Stamm crossed the finish line in Salvador, 13:23:30 local time (16:23:30 GMT) to be exact, Thierry Dubois sailed into port on Solidaires to take first place for the leg.
It was a bittersweet victory for the French skipper who had led on the water until yesterday morning, but a final push by Stamm thwarted his chances of taking line honors. He does however take overall honors for the leg because Stamm will be assessed a 48-hour penalty, but it's was being the first boat into port that Dubois really wanted. Fortunately it was a daylight finish, his first since the race started, and despite the light winds the photographs should be fantastic.
The last week has been particularly difficult not only because of the relentless push by Bernard Stamm that made life on board a bit tense, but the soaring temperatures above and below decks were tough to deal with. "The heat inside the cabin is choking me and I am burning up on the deck too!"
he wrote in a log a few days ago. "I can tell you, hell is better."
Thierry Dubois is a fierce competitor who has sailed a brilliant leg and deserves the win. He is also a cautious sailor knowing that often the slow and sure sailor is the one that wins the day. Stamm broke his boat and thereby gave Thierry a chance to win the leg. Knowing he had a full two days in hand Dubois's needed to be certain he did not break anything. He didn't and now the victory is his.
Both of these two skippers are looking intently at the positions of the next boats with mixed feelings. Dubois is hoping they speed up and push Bobst Group Armor lux into fourth, while Stamm, of course, is hoping that they will slow down and allow him to come second for the leg. It's almost predictable that the wind gods will again smile on the Swiss skipper. At the last poll Emma and Simone had slowed right up and it now looks all but certain that Emma will not make the cut. It remains to be seen if Simone finds the wind to come in second. Only time will tell.
This is the first Around Alone leg win for Thierry Dubois and he should be pleased and proud of his success. Stamm may have beaten him into port, but he has finished well ahead of the rest of his class on all the legs and he beat Bernard fair and square under the rules on this one.