Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Transat Jacques Vabre, Crepes Whaou First to finish

[Source: Transat Jacques Vabre] A huge, noisy Costa Rican welcome greeted Franck Yves Escoffier (FRA) and Erwan Le Roux (FRA), co skippers of the Crêpes Whaou when they emerged out of the Caribbean darkness, comprehensively winning the Multi 50 class and taking line honours for this ninth edition of the Transat Jacques Vabre race which started from Le Havre on Sunday 8th November.

Emerging out of the darkness to break the finish line off the historic port town of Peurto Limon at 2231hrs local time Monday 23rd (0431hrs UTC/GMT Tuesday) the French duo with their new build Crêpes Whaou! 3, only launched in August, maintained Escoffier's unbeaten record in this biannual classic, also scooping the IMOCA Open 60's to take line honours for the third consecutive time.

Escoffier and Le Roux took 15 days, 15 hours, 31 minutes and 50 seconds to complete the course which took the Multi 50 fleet south of Barbados on a course which for the winning pair was 5805 miles, which they completed at an average speed of 13.41 knots.

Crêpes Whaou wins the Multi 50 class Transat Jacques Vabre. Costa Rica, 24 November 2009. Video copyright Transat Jacques Vabre

The new destination for the coffee route race, finishing in Costa Rica, served up a carnival greeting for the winners, Escoffier remarking immediately that without doubt the high point of their race was the warmth of finish. Sailing with Le Roux, a successful former Mini 650 Class 40 and multihull sailor who has completed two previous Transat Jacques Vabre races, the pair chose a prudent southerly routing to avoid the very worst of a very active depression before then building a big lead over their Multi50 Class rivals.

Asked about the memories, the key moments, Escoffier said, "You have to start with this finish, the arrival here has been an extraordinary reception. We have seen some great welcomes but here in Peurto Limon between the fireworks and the whole world out to greet us on the dock, that was a great moment. But so, too the start was interesting too. There is always a build up of adrenalin you need pumping as a competitor, and I felt like we made the strongest start of the Multi 50's. And a strong memory yesterday when we just stopped ourselves from tipping the boat over. It was not funny. Erwan, who is younger than me really had to rein me in from time to time. We can smile looking back..."

Crêpes Whaou wins the Multi 50 class Transat Jacques Vabre. Costa Rica, 24 November 2009. Photo copyright Marcel Mochet / AFP

On the subject of the Class 50, and asked if they did not feel out on a limb without much competition in the end, Escoffier explained: “ We are about to succeed in making it (the Multi 50) take off with the new boats in the class. Unfortunately the two other newest boats are not at the finish too. We missed competition a little, but we should not forget Guyader pour Urgence Climatique who are a good crew. In the multihull there is not much to teach them, but they lack the finance to have a boat like Crêpes Whaou! And it would be good if they could find it. And I hope that before I leave this class there will be a proper class of boats like ours. But the objective was always, as well to beat the IMOCA Open 60's in and we pushed hard to do that.”



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