Honours for Crepes Whaou! 3

Franck Yves Escoffier and Erwan Le Roux claim line honours in the Transat Jacques Vabre

Tuesday November 24th 2009, Author: Andi Robertson, Location: United Kingdom
A huge, noisy Costa Rican welcome greeted Franck Yves Escoffier (FRA) and Erwan Le Roux (FRA), co-skippers of their new VPLP-designed 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.

The St Malo-based boat broke the finish line off the historic port town of Peurto Limon at 0431 GMT today (2231hrs local time Monday) to maintain Escoffier's unbeaten record in this biannual classic, also scooping the IMOCA Open 60s to take line honours for the third consecutive time.

Escoffier and Le Roux finished in 15 days, 15 hours, 31 minutes and 50 seconds on a longer course than the IMOCA 60s, taking the multihulls south of Barbados (rather than south of the Dominican Republic) on a course which for the winning pair was 5805 miles, at an average speed of 13.41 knots.

Costa Rica, the new finish port for the coffee route race, 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 him was Le Roux, a successful former Mini, Class 40 and multihull sailor who has completed two previous Transat Jacques Vabre races. The pair chose a prudent southerly route 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 Puerto 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 50s. 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..."

On the subject of the Multi 50s, 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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