The latest race news from the race

The finishing line: Sam Goodchild on the pontoon after Leyton finished second in the Class40

The finishing line: Sam Goodchild on the pontoon after Leyton finished second in the Class40

The 29-year-old British skipper, Sam Goodchild, talks Leyton vs Crédit Mutuel, big bows, being underwater and what he learned from his co-skipper, Fabien Delahaye.

How are you feeling after pushing so hard for 18 days ?

It’s a release finally. The last two days have been pretty stressful and before that I think we had two half dry days on deck and apart from that we had waves on deck the whole time and the boat's pretty wet, we’ve been soaking, so it’s nice to relax a bit and let go. Second place is now secure - we’re pretty happy about that. 

Pleased wth the race overall?

Yes, for sure. We don’t have many regrets; there’s always places where you gain but there was nowhere where we made huge mistakes and could say, ‘Ah! Next time we wouldn’t do that. We’re pretty happy with the race we’ve done. Second place is pretty reasonable. The Crédit Mutuel guys sailed an awesome race. They sailed in the right way, fast and never gave us opportunity to come back to them after they got their advantage. We can be pretty happy with our second place. 

You broke the old 24-hour speed record, but the boat in front of you was just a little quicker?

We did!? I wondered. Downwind from the Canaries to the Cape Verdes was pretty full on, we spent a lot of time underwater and the new boat with the big bow - that’s what it was designed fore and they really came into their own there. We’re happy we broke that record, but it’s difficult when you’re pushing hard, you can’t go any faster and the other boat is just putting miles on you. But that’s part of the game though, there are other times when it went in the other direction.

What will you take away from this race? 

We’re pretty happy with the race we’ve made, considering where we’ve started from and what we’ve managed to get out of the boat. Of course, we would have preferred to win, we came to win and we didn’t manage that, but we don’t have any regrets or ‘what ifs?’. The guys that won this  (Crédit Mutuel) had a pretty good race, and we sailed a pretty decent race as well - I wouldn’t change a lot. Second is not all that bad a result, even it could be one better.

You said before the race that Crédit Mutuel were faster, were you surprised how fast?

We saw that they passed through the sea state better in that leg from the Canaries down to the Cape Verde; definitely the conditions played into their hands a bit. We’d never seen that differential of speed before. We knew they were a danger and they were only going to get better and that was the point when it hammered the nail in the coffin a bit in terms of ‘are we going to be able to keep up with them?’ 

Apart from that, they sailed a pretty good race to be honest; they attacked early from the outset heading west and going out hard, which set them up well for going south. Then they had that 2-3 days where they were a lot quicker than anyone else and they didn’t make any mistakes after that for us to get back at them. It was a bit of a surprise but not a major one. They deserve it, they did a good job.

Do you think we will see a big (nose) evolution in the Class40 now?

It will be interesting to see because for sure, it’s definitely in those conditions when they’re above anyone else by a long, long way. They beat the 24-hour record by 30-40 miles, so their difference is huge. But the rest of the conditions, it’s not huge. I’d be interested to know how the other boat goes, the (Manuard) mach 4, Banque du Léman, because looking on the tracker, they’ve had some pretty good bits. But they only had the boats for three weeks before the start, so, trying to put all the pieces together hasn’t been easy but I’d say that boat has a lot of promise - it’s kind of an in-between us and Crédit Mutuel. It could well go the big bow way, I wouldn’t be surprised. 

What did you enjoy most about the race? 

It’s been pretty intense. It’s been pretty full on just trying to keep the boat going the whole time. We haven’t had many days without water on the deck. It’s been exciting trying to keep the boat going. Sailing with Fabien has been cool, he’s a good communicator and good guy to sail with. The last few days has been a bit long and frustrating, with shifty winds and not really getting the opportunity we wanted to get back into the match. But it’s been a great race; good conditions and a good boat. 

You must be happy beating your sistership (Aïna Enfance & Avenir)?

We’re pretty satisfied with ourselves with how we sailed against Aïna. I mean Aymeric knows that boat like the back of his hand and he’s been sailing it for three years. We’ve got a few miles under our belts, but nothing like... We had a bit more trouble choosing sails than Aymeric but every time we lined up we had good speed and we’re coming away happy with how we performed and how the race panned out. 

It’s your first finish in the Class40 but how did it compare to your other Transat Jacques Vabres?

(Laughs) Yes, I finally made it to the finish. We finished the IMOCA four years ago. Obviously a different race, we were there to finish not to race, so to finish and with a decent result in the Class40 is third time lucky. 

What did you learn from Fabien (Delahaye, co-skipper)?

Fabien has obviously got a lot of experience, he’s done a lot of transatlantic races, so you kind of learn a bit on all fronts. He’s got a very good eye and lots of experience at analysing weather and strategy and making choices, so, it’s pretty interetesting watching his processes through that and how he did it. I’ve been getting some tips on what he prioritises, when and how. It’s been an enriching experience all-round, hopefully the other way round too. We’ve had a good time and hopefully we’ll get to do it again some time.