The (winning) bathtub
David Raison and his scow Mini Team Work Evolution (read more about them here) have won the 2011 Transgascogne in the Proto class. After winning the opening 370 mile leg from St Hilaire via Belle île to Ribadeo in Galicia (between Gijon and La Coruna), Raison was second home on the return leg to Port Bourgenay, arriving at 01:33:16 GMT this morning, 1 hour 31 minutes ahead of Thomas Normand on Financière de l'Echiquier, winner of the second leg in the Proto class. In the wake of these two skippers from Lorient, arrivals are expected throughout the rest of the night and well into the day.
"It was a good race, I'm really happy!" commented Raison on his arrival. "...happy for me but also for my partners. Having been on the Mini circuit since 2005, I am very pleased - this victory is a just reward!
"Strategy aside - I must look at all the plots to analyse that, but, the weather data and that broadcast by Radio France, was sufficient for the tactics. It was not super complicated.
"After, we had to sail the boat, working on pure speed ... My boat is not designed for soft conditions, but as she is light, it doesn't go too badly. But above all I put this down to the hard work carried out this winter with our coach Tanguy Leglatin that has paid off.
"With a two hours lead after the first leg, there was some hope of victory but there were many competitors to control. Thomas had a great race. He was not deterred by the first leg: despite his torn Solent, he hung in there, he repaired the sail in Spain and now he's won this leg and finished second overall... But he might well have won too! I am very happy for him!
"As for the Mini Transat, I feel confident I have a reliable and solid boat. I knew she was fast, she was very promising in speed-tests...I hope not to have too much pressure at the start of the Transat. The last Mini I sailed was in 1993 Series boat, when I was one of the favorites and it's not very pleasant that pressure..."
Winner of the Transgascogne's second leg, Thomas Normand commented: "I sailed my own race. I did not want to compete by looking in the mirror, I steered my course based on my own choices. I spent the first 36 hours on deck all the time, without sleeping, trimming because the wind was very light and variable... Then in the second part of the race, I was sailing more under pilot and was able to relax - which is rare in a race like this. It was great! We saw whales, dolphins ... we discussed it a lot over the VHF as it was really nice.
"For the strategy I did a lot based on the work did before this leg. There were the pre-established patterns but of course one had to adapt continually to changing events that altered a lot along the way and then of course control the other competitors.
"This leg win is the realisation of three years of work. My goal this season was to win at least one leg of a big race, that's ... done, so I'm really happy! I'll be able to go on holiday with a clear conscience! It's very important psychologically, just before the Transat, to show I'm on the pace... "
At the first sched this morning Renaud Mary on Run'O is leading the Series class and had 24 miles left to go to reach Port Bourgenay.