Lazare, 34e IMOCA en Martinique
Best of arrivées 01 December 2023 - 18h45

Tanguy Le Turquais: "I've never been happier to finish last"

Tanguy Le Turquais and Félix de Navacelle finally crossed the finish line of the Transat Jacques Vabre Normandie Le Havre at first light on Friday into Fort-de-France. Their finish was a triumph, a feat of remarkable resilience – as the hand painted sign on the side of their pink hulled IMOCA reminded the outside world.

Their finish marked the end of a remarkable race. They were holed on their starboard side when they hit an object floating in the water. That forced them to pitstop for six days in Lorient, where – supported by friends and family – they repaired the damage and put to sea again. They were stuck in light winds for several days, they had three days of squalls, had some technical problems but fought bravely and steadfastly to finish their race 24 days after starting from Le Havre. 

There were a lot of people on the pontoons in Fort de France. No one cared theirs was the last IMOCA to finish they were all out to salute the achievement of Le Turquais and De Navacelle. 

Among those on the dock were the three members of Lazare's technical team, who had worked tirelessly to repair the boat in Lorient. There were family members, relatives, and representatives of the race. 

Tanguy how did you feel this morning when you crossed the line this morning?
Well, quite a lot of tiredness and a lot of joy! It's unbelievable. I've never been happier to finish last! I immediately thought of my team. I'm the one being interviewed, but if we're here, it's because they've all given as much as I have. The week in the yard saw everyone mobilized so that we still had hope. In front of me a boat I have a boat with the word "resilience" covering Lazare and I think it's a very beautiful message. We're building something unique ahead of the the Vendée Globe.

Did you always think you could go all the way?
No, not at all! We didn't know if we were going to make it, if we could fix it in time. When we left, the weather window was complicated. In the Azores, we had a problem with the ram and we really thought we were going to retire and then we had an incredible chance. And then we also stayed three days in the calms we didn't see ourselves crossing the line in time. In fact we did not stop believing even if we did not really know. It's a great lesson, it shows that you have to take the days and the problems as they come. That will be useful for me in the Vendée Globe!

 What's on the agenda for you in the next few hours?
I really want to eat some fish! I'm going to do some laundry, go for a swim – "I dreamt about it" – take a shower, spend time with Mathilda (his daughter with Clarisse Crémer) and soon it'll be time to leave.

You have brought along many other people on this adventure, in particular by making people smile. Is it important to approach this challenge in this way?We were in a race against ourselves not against others. And then for Lazare, for our partners, we tried to communicate in our own way. We had some time on our hands and we had fun making this video. There has been seen quite a bit on social media and that's good for Lazare. The goal of all of this, of this project, is to tell stories. People don't give a damn that Tanguy Le Turquais goes sailboat racing. But what matters, deeply, is to allow Lazarus to shine.