Transat Jacques Vabre – MACIF first to finish in Itajai
French co-skippers François Gabart and Pascal Bidégorry on the new 30m Ultime Trimaran MACIF crossed the finish line at 05:59Hrs 27secs UTC this morning (00:59hrs 27secs local) in Itajaí, Brazil.
She was the first Ultime, taking line honours in the 5400 miles Transat Jacques Vabre double handed Transatlantic race which left Le Havre, France at 1230hrs UTC on Sunday 25th October.
The elapsed time for Gabart, 32, and Bidégorry, 47, is 12 days 17hrs 29min 27sec sailing at an average speed of 17.68 kts for the theoretical course of 5400 Nms (10,000kms).
The win was MACIF’s was in her first ever ocean race. The new VPLP design, which was only launched in August, actually sailed 6340 Nms on the water at a real average speed of 20.75kts.
It is the first time that Gabart, who won the solo round the world Vendée Globe race in 2013 at his first attempt at the age of 29, has triumphed in the Transat Jacques Vabre race. He was second in the IMOCA class on his first ever ocean race in 2009. Bidégorry was on the winning multihull in 2005.
In this 12th edition of the Transat Jacques Vabre MACIF chased in the wake of early race leaders Thomas Coville and Jean-Luc Nélias (Sodebo Ultim’) until the Doldrums, but were never more than 70Nms behind. Two of the four Ultime trimarans which started had to abandon, including Prince de Bretagne which capsized off the NW coast of Spain.
An exciting duel between the two giant 80ft multihulls took them close to the African coast, trading gybes only a few miles off the shoreline as they sought to avoid the light winds to their west caused by the Azores anticyclone. The pair closed through the Doldrums but Gabart and Bidégorry were able to extract themselves better from a very slow, sticky passage of this light winds zone.
Emerging first into the SE’ly trade winds they extended their lead out to 258 miles between Salvador de Bahia and Rio. But the chasing pair closed again around Cabo Frio in the transition zone caused by a stormy low pressure and Sodebo Ultim’ were less than 100 Nms behind at the finish line and are due to finish around 1100hrs UTC.