Winners decided

Pella takes leg two of the Mini Transat, while Corentin Douguet is the decisive winner

Thursday October 27th 2005, Author: James Boyd, Location: Transoceanic
At 18:43:31 local time in Brazil last night, Spanish sailor Alex Pella on board his Mini Open Sea/Team Work crossed the Salvador de Bahia finish line, winner in leg two of the Mini Transat having sailed 2,920 miles from Puerto Calero, Lanzarote in a time of 18 days 5 hours 12 minutes and 31 seconds.

Pella, who finished third in the Mini Transat two years ago, was unable to put a big enough gap between him and second placed Corentin Douguet to prevent the Frenchman from taking a convincing win overall in this year's race.

While Pella was 9 hours 38 minutes behind Douguet on leg one, the Frenchman on board E Leclerc-Bouygues Telecom pulled into Salvador de Bahia at 19:22:09 local time, 38 minutes 38 seconds behind Pella. In doing so Douguet has demolished Armel Tripon's 2003 record time for the course of 29 days 13 hours 25 minutes 07 seconds.

Having completed leg one in a super fast time of 6 days 15 hours 45 minutes and 15 seconds, and leg two in 18 days 5 hours 51 minutes and 9 seconds, the new record for the present Mini Transat course from La Rochelle-Lanzarote-Salvador de Bahia is now 24 days 21 hours 36 minutes and 24 seconds.

It is hard to fault Douguet's Mini Transat. His 2003 generation Sam Manuard design E Leclerc-Bouygues Telecom has shown herself to have more than adequate speed against the competition and hasn't appeared particularly slow in any conditions, despite being one of the beamiest Minis (to read about the very latest Manuard design - see our interview with Bernard Gallay).

Tactically Douguet has always been on the button, hitting the right side of the course and being conservative when it mattered. In the second leg he has never been out of the top three and yet spent several days behind Yves le Blevec and then ultimately Alex Pella, with whom he has spent the last four days match racing.

In the Mini you need boat speed but also the physical stamina and will to drive it hard for days on end and this is also a quality the 31 year old Frenchman seems to have demonstrated amply.

Douguet's form this year has been exceptional. After a shaky start failing to finish the Pornichet Select, he won three of the top events - the Mini Pavois, the Mini Fastnet and the Transgascoigne. Part of this has come from experience. This is his second Mini campaign having finished 17th in 2001 and his experience would have been honed further by two years sailing in the Figaro and on the Open 60s.

"I have passed through all psychological states..." said Douguet on his arrival. "I had prepared speeches and I don't know what to say now... It is odd. This is the first race that I haven't won this year and yet it is obviously the most beautiful, most beautiful... It will sink in later. I think that the partying will be considerable".

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