Virbac, the brand-new Farr 60, skippered by Jean-Pierre Dick and Nicolas Abiven, has won the Transat Jacques Vabre Open 60 monohull fleet
Virbac, the brand-new Farr 60, skippered by Jean-Pierre Dick and Nicolas Abiven crossed the finish line at 0518hrs GMT 5s (0218hrs local time) to take a convincing victory in the Open 60 monohull class.
Dick and Abiven sailed Virbac in to a 72-mile lead in the 13-boat fleet. Chatting after the finish Jean-Pierre Dick said: “It hasn’t really sunk in. Last night was particularly difficult. We were both on deck pushing as hard as ever. Truthfully, though, this is a total success. Every day since our Tour Voile victory two years ago when we launched this project, we’ve been working hard with a few new concepts, to bring in our regatta experience, and this is what has brought us here. We may have sailed less miles in oceanic races but we’ve brought other skills to the discipline. “The boat is quick on every point of sail. It’s not everyday that you put a hi-tech formula one style machine into a new pair of hands and they win on their first race, so we still have things to refine but already I feel a great synergy with the boat. After all we have sailed 18,000m together, that trip was not for nothing. I think we have a similar feeling as Ellen and her boat Kingfisher – well, I certainly hope Virbac and Jean-Pierre Dick will form their own attachment.
“Our experience of inshore, regatta racing has aided us a lot in this victory. We were always reacting to everything happening, and perhaps over did the sail changes! We changed the gennaker to spi and back a few times today, even on the last mile to the finish. I always race as if it’s the last leg of a Tour Voile, always 100 per cent non-stop, reacting to every minute change on the boat.”
Virbac’s nearest race-long rival Sill (Jourdain/Thomson) managed to keep Mike Golding and Brian Thompson’s Ecover behind them and crossed the line in second place. But the final sprint to the finish line was tough for Team Sill who had their work cut out keeping Ecover behind. At 0500 Ecover was just two miles behind navigating in sight of each other. Although Ecover gained speed on Sill (at 32 miles to go was just 1.8m astern) she was unable break through Sill and had to settle for third.
The British duo Conrad Humphreys and Paul Larsen sailing the Open 50 Hellomoto crossed the finish line at 0844 this morning with a 212-mile lead over Defi Vendeen (Jean-Francois Durand and Stephane Chemin).
In the Open 60 Multihull fleet, Bayer CropScience skippered by Fred Le Peutrec and Julien Cressant arrived in Salvador at 2131GMT 02s finishing in 12th place. After 12d 12hrs 31m 02s at sea they finished 1 day 13hrs 20m 21s behind Groupama, after covering the theoretical route of 4,340 miles at an average speed of 14.44 knots.