Best of arrivées 21 November 2023 - 20h54

The IMOCA rundown of Tuesday...

It has been a busy, busy day at the Ponton D'Honneur in Fort-de-France. Here is a rundown of the key IMOCA finishers and the best of the narratives on the dock.......

IMOCA finishers and selected quotes, 

14th place, Louis Duc and Rémi Aubrun on Fives Group – Lantana Environnement finished at 04:51:34 local time (08:51:34 UTC),  Race times is 14 days 0 hours 21 minutes and 34 seconds. They finished 2 days 2 hours 49 minutes and 3 seconds after the IMOCA winner.

Louis Duc: It’s great that so many people are here so early in the morning” (4am local) We are really lucky to be able to sail these boats. We really enjoy them, such incredible acceleration and speed. 

"There have been so many stories in this race. We tried to keep up with Monnoyeur and watched from a distance a great race in the South with Violette Dorange and Conrad Colman. They deserve to be congratulated. We would not have been so fast on the southern route. There are about six foilers still behind us. We wanted to be on the podium of non-foilers and we have done it.”

15th place, Damien Seguin and Laurent Bourgues on Groupe Apicil finished at 11:22:17 local time (15: 22:17 UTC). Race time is 14 days 6 hours 52 minutes and 17 seconds. They finished 2 days 9 hours 19 minutes and 46 seconds after the IMOCA winner

They had to return to Lorient with a broken boom and sail damage. 
Seguin: “We set off 36 hours after the others. I’d like to thank the shore team. I’ve never been able to set off again so quickly. Then, there were the conditions we encountered. Thanks to Benjamin’s team which lent us a boom, that enabled us to set off again quickly.”

16th place, Louis Burton and Davy Beaudart on Bureau Vallée finished at 11:58:23 local time (15:58:23 UTC). Race time  is 14 days 7 hours 28 minutes and 23 seconds. They finished 2 days 9 hours 55 minutes and 52 seconds after the IMOCA winner.

Burton lost his mast in the 2021 race and again on last year’s Route du Rhum, so needed a finish. Even so the skipper from Saint Malo still had a good go at the ‘north face’, taking the westerly route. They, like Pip Hare and Nick Bubb, had a five hours penalty for starting between the inner distance mark and the start boat. 

Burton: “Bureau Vallée went the other way from the others and it’s great. It's been two and a half years since we bought the boat, and really we've had a lot of setbacks but we've never given up, our partner has always been there. Today, our whole team has tears in their eyes because it was so extremely important to have finished in Martinique. We enjoyed the Transat Jacques Vabre from start to finish, even if we had a 5-hour penalty at the start. That didn't stop us from having as much fun as possible! It’s a bit special though, because I’m leaving solo in 8 days for La Retour À La Base. Tomorrow, we are going to sail with employees from the Bureau Vallée de La Martinique stores, and then I will really go and rest to be ready. Regarding the North option, it was not easy with the unstable wind, but we had thought about it carefully.”

17th place, Romain Attanasio and Loïs Berrehar on Fortinet – Best Western finished at 12:00:15 local time (16:00:15 UTC). Race time is 14 days 7 hours 30 minutes and 15 seconds. They finished 2 days 9 hours 57 minutes and 44 seconds after the IMOCA winner.

Romain: We had a series of problems from the start. Like everyone else. It’s just that we were a bit slower than our nearest rivals. The South was not the best option for us. It didn’t pay off at all.
We had a problem with the autopilot during the night, so Loïs had to spend five hours at the helm, while I tried to repair it. 
We had fun together, even if a bit disappointed. We learnt a lot and was very instructive for me for next year.
The end of the race seemed endless with less and less wind. It’s going to be hard for those finishing after us.
We probably didn’t have the best sail. The others seemed to do better. I hadn’t worked enough on that, so now I’ll be looking at that.
I learnt a lot from Loïs thanks to his experience on the Figaro 3.
The boat did a lot of slamming in 3-4m waves. You feel it in your back and if you turn your head, you feel it up there too. You think your backbone is going to crack. If you have your mouth open, your jaw shuts and you think you may have broken a tooth. The worst thing about these boats is the violence of the slamming. After that it is the heat further south. It was 1000 degrees inside the boat!

18th Place Sébastien Simon and Iker Martinez (ESP) on Groupe Dubreuil finished at 1323 hrs local time (1723hrs UTC). Race time is 14 days 8 hours 53 minutes and 4 seconds. They finished 2 days 11 hours 53 minutes and 4 seconds after the IMOCA winner.

Spain’s double Olympic medallist and three times Ocean Race ace Iker Martinez made a return to double handed racing on the IMOCA which won The Ocean Race as 11th Hour Racing. They were in the top group and going well, having opted to go north with when their mainsail was ‘destroyed’ 

Martinez: “It all felt a bit crazy at the start, we lost the train a little bit on the first miles, we did not really even know how to put in the ballast correctly and how to set everything up, as soon as we did we were moving forwards, we were super good. And then as soon as we saw an opportunity we go for it, full on. We thought we were going to win. We said ‘OK now we are going to the right place, e are going to the west, it is going to pay, we had one boat in front, we were going faster, we were pushing hard, we were in the race. I think we were two miles from the leader when the mainsail just broke into pieces. I don’t know what happened it just exploded. The J3 exploded too so I don’t know. We were racing,d. We know the boat is tired and has come from The Ocean Race but they changed the sails. Now I am just going to help Seb all I can to get ready for La Retour À La Base

19th Place Alan Roura and Simon Koster (SUI) on HUBLOT finished at 14:10:45hrs local time (19:10:45hrs UTC). Race time is 14 days 10 hours 45 minutes and 26seconds. They finished 2 days 13 hours 12 minutes and 55 seconds after the IMOCA winners. 

Roura: "It was a great race despite the ranking. We should not be the only ones frustrated with this Southern option which did not work for everyone. We didn't manage to be as fast as we would have liked in a trade wind that was ultimately quite weak. We fell too far behind from the start and then in the slack weather to be able to catch up with the group in front of us. The result isn't good enough for us! "

 “For us it all went wrong off Cherbourg. We took two tacks which were not good. The boat in front did the same, but it was a mile ahead and it got away. And we were stuck. This mile turned into 10 miles then into 40 miles and these 40 miles are the ones that let those in front pass in the light winds of the Canaries and not us. We came out 100 miles late and we are missing the 100 miles at the finish. It’s crazy how it always goes from the front! When we were going along the Portuguese coast we always haddthe North option in mind. And we torture ourselves for days, telling ourselves that they weren't going to go there, that everyone was going to the South and then, boom, there's a little package that goes south.!