Victory for Virbac Paprec 3
Jean-Pierre Dick and Jérémie Beyou crossed the finish line of the tenth edition of the Transat Jacques Vabre at 08:15:54 UTC this morning, in Puerto Limon, Costa Rica. The French duo set a new monohull record for the race course from Le Havre-Puerto Limon, improving the previous 2009 record by one hour and seven minutes.
The two men hugged each other, Dick is now a three times winner of this race as well as being twice winner of the double handed Barcelona World Race round the world. He is unbeaten in IMOCA Open 60 double handed races. Local Caribbean bands greeted the winners of the 2011 edition in the very early hours of the morning.
Their elapsed time is 54s 15d 18h 15mm. Their average speed course on the theoretical course of 4730 miles is 12.51 knots. They have traveled 5167 miles on the water at an average speed of 13.66 knots.
Jean Pierre Dick has always formed winning IMOCA Open 60 partnerships. He won at his first Transat Jacques Vabre with Nicolas Abiven in 2003, again in 2005 with Loïck Peyron, the partner with whom he then went on to win this year’s Barcelona World Race, double handed around the world. Dick also won the Barcelona World Race in 2007-8 with Irish co-skipper Damian Foxall.
For co-skipper Jérémie Beyou this represents his first major IMOCA Open 60 race win, following victory in this summer’s solo Solitaire du Figaro.
Virbac-Paprec 3 led out of the Bay of Le Havre, passing the General Metzinger buoy, but her win had its foundations on two major strategic decisions. On the morning of Sunday 6 November, after Wednesday’s start, while passing the longitude of the Azores and setting up for the third big system since the start, the majority of the IMOCA 60 fleet dived south to escape the worst of the bad weather. Virbac Paprec 3 stayed on the north routing with Hugo Boss and with Bureau Vallée and Gamesa. By the next day, 7 November at the 1100 sched, Virbac-Paprec 3 regained the lead again and were never passed. Ten different IMOCA 60s led the race at different stages - Safran, Groupe Bel, Cheminées Poujoulat, Bureau Vallée, Hugo Boss, MACIF, Banque Populaire and PRB.
Virbac-Paprec 3's second gain came two days later when the main group again stayed south to seek the trade winds and ended up struggling to find breeze, while the three in the north always profitted. On 11 November their margin to MACIF in third was 305 miles. So their northern route was the hardest, but the most effective, experiencing the strongest winds and biggest seas. They broke nothing major and paced themselves perfectly.