Photo: Alex Courcoux

Young Brits win in Class 40s

As Safran takes IMOCA 60 honours in today's Transat Jacques Vabre prologue

Sunday October 30th 2011, Author: Andi Robertson, Location: France

A series of bad Atlantic low pressure systems put paid to the scheduled start of the tenth edition of the Transat Jacques Vabre. This morning, the race start was postponed.


While the forecast will hold the fleet in the Paul Vatine Basin until at least Wednesday, with a very deep depression set to generate storm force conditions in the Atlantic for at least 48 hours mid-week, the weather around the Bay of Le Havre could scarcely have been better for the substitute 13 miles prologue race which was held today for the tens of thousands of spectators featuring all 35 boats from the three classes.

Under a watery autumn sunshine, powered by a light breeze of 7-12 knots, it was the reigning Transat Jacques Vabre IMOCA Open 60 title holders Safran with Marc Guillemot and Yann Elies which won, although Vincent Riou's PRB led for much fo the race, but were disqualified for being OCS along with Alex Thomson's Hugo Boss and Jean-Pierre Dick's Virbac Paprec 3.

Mike Golding, skipper of Gamesa, said: “Gamesa felt good, and everything is working, which is always a good sign. When we were in the zone and we were quick so I think at one point we were last and then ended up taking a few boats and closing up with some pretty good boats like Groupe Bel and Boss but we are obviously not quite as practiced as Safran, Bel and PRB. All in all, a good outing. And now tonight we’ll test our speed around the go-karting track!”

Lionel Lemonchois and Matthieu Souben on Prince de Bretagne triumphed in the Multi 50s, but the best British performance came in the Class 40 which was win by the young British duo on Concise 2, Sam Goodchild – the race’s youngest sailor – and Ned Collier Wakefield. The British duo led on each leg of the course to set themselves up for a morale boosting win to put a spring in their step as they wait for their first major Transatlantic race together.

“It was good fun, we had a safe start and managed to keep a small lead all the way around the course," said Goodchild. "It’s a shame it does not mean very much, it would have been a good way to carry on, but we are happy. It was good to have an exact sister-ship behind us, just a boat length behind, so that is good for the boat for sure. All in all it is very encouraging.


“Looking at the weather and not going today it felt a bit hollow going out to the cheers of the crowds today, a bit weird to be coming back again, but we will just have to go out and see if we can do the same whenever the start is. So we will stay in Le Havre and wait rather than trying to get home and come back, better to stay here and take some time doing not very much, get a lot of rest.”


Imoca Open 60 (French unless stated)

1 - Safran (Marc Guillemot / Yann Elies)
2 - Banque Populaire (Armel le Cléac'h / Christopher Pratt)
3 - Macif (François Gabart / Sébastien Col)
4- Groupe Bel (Kito de Pavant/Yann Réginau)
5-Cheminée Poujoulat (Bernard Stamm/Jean-Francois Cuzon) SUI
6- Akena Vérandas (Arnaud Boissières/Gérald Véniard)
7-Gamesa (Mike Golding/Bruno Dubois) GBR
8-Mirabaud (Dominique Wavre/Michèle Paret) SUI
9- DCNS (Marc Thiercelin/Luc Alphand)
10-Bureau Vallée (Louis & Nelson Burton)

1 - Prince de Bretagne (Lionel Lemonchois / Mathieu Souben)
2 - Actual (Yves Le Blévec / Samuel Manuard)
3 – Fenêtré A Cardinal (Erwan Le Roux / Didier Le Vourch)

1 - Concise 2 (Ned Collier Wakefield / Sam Goodchild) GBR
2 - Comiris Pole Sante Elior (Thierry Bouchard / Gilles Berenger)
3 - (Yannick Bestaven / Eric Drouglazet)
4-Avis Immobiler (Eric Galmard/Francois Scheek)
5-40 Degrees (Hannah Jenner/ Jess Naimark-Rowse) GBR
6- Partouche (Christophe Coatnoan/Etienne Laforgue)
7- Hip Eco Blue (Andrea Fantini/Tomasso Stella) ITA
8 – Phoenix Europe Express (Stephanie Alran/Jean Edouard Criquioche)
9-Gust Buster (Anna-Maria Renken/Jakica Jesih) AUT

From Mark Lloyd/


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