The ninth edition of the transAtlantic race leaves France heading for St Barts 21/4/08

The ninth edition of the Transat AG2R began yesterday (20 April), and saw 26 teams set out for from Corncarneau, France to the Caribbean in Figaro Beneteau II’s. Thomas Rouxel and Erwan Israel (Defi Mousquetaires) got the best start, but soon had a collision with KPMG, doing damage to both boats. Defi Mousquetaires fell to 20th place, but within 3 hours the crew were back in 8th.

Conditions will prove difficult for the crews across the Bay of Biscay and the passage of Cap Finisterre, plus 35 knot winds from the southwest are expected along the coast of Portugal.

Team Pindar’s Open 60 Boat Captain, Nick Black, received a last-minute call to take part in the double-handed race with Liz Wardley, aboard Sojasun. He is one of just two British entrants in the race. The pair, both 28, are sailing together after Wardley’s former co-skipper Francois Gabart dropped out earlier in the week.

Speaking from Corncarneau, Nick commented “Naturally I’m still gutted for Brian [Thomson] and all the team that The Open 60 won’t be competing in the Artemis Transat and so to receive the call from Liz was a huge boost. It was a split second decision but it seemed like an amazing opportunity and I’m very grateful to both Brian and Andrew [Pindar] for giving me the nod.”

Nick continued “The boat has been prepared brilliantly by Erwan Lebec and we’ve spent today checking our food supplies and working out our watch systems.”

Top ten at 1600 UTC 20 April:

1. Suzuki Automobiles – Thierry Cabagny / Corentin Douguet, 3694.7 nm to finish
2. Les Mousquetaires – Bertrand de Broc / Gwen Riou .2 nm to leader
3. Banque Populaire – Jenanne Gregoire / Nicolas Lunvan, .3
4. Cercle Vert – Gildas Morvan / Jean Le Cam, .4
5. Financo – Nicolas Troussel / Christopher Pratt, .4
6. Lenzele – Franck Gal / Erwan Le Roux, .5
7. Sopra Group – Antoine Koch / Gregory Gendron, .5
8. Defi Mousquetaires – Thomas Rouxel / Erwan Israel, .5
9. Concarneau St. Barth – Eric Person / Miguel Danet, .6
10. Athema – Erwan Tabarly / Vincent Biarnes, .7

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