Photos: Bruno Bouvry / Images de Mer

Solidaire du Chocolat: Fine victory for mare

mare takes line honours into Progreso, Mexico

Thursday April 5th 2012, Author: James Boyd, Location: Mexico

Jorg Riechers and Marc Lepesqueux secured a well deserved victory in the Solidaire du Chocolat, the doublehanded Class 40 transat the majority of which they led.

On board mare the Franco-German crew crossed the finish line off Progeso on the north side of Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula in this second Solidaire du Chocolat at 00:02:24 UTC, covering the 5000 miles of this lengthy race in 24 days 7 hours 41 minutes, at an average speed of 8.56 knots.

This represented the first Class40 victory for German Jorg Riechers who announced before the start in Saint-Nazaire: "We're going to win!"

This promise he kept. Faster than her competitors throughout the race, mare first eeked out a lead passing Cape Finisterre, choosing a northern route and essentially this lead they almost never lost, again as the German skipper had predicted pre-race: "The management of Cape Finisterre will be important and probably decisive."

Riechers and Lepesqueux then sensibly controlled the fleet, across the Atlantic, past St Barts and into the Caribbean.

Upon arriving in Progreso the two co-skippers received a hero's welcome greeted by several thousand people.

Jorg Riechers commented: "The victory was built from the design of the boat. We knew the boat was fast, and I chose to race with Marc because I was convinced we would form a good crew. This allowed us to win and our ability to combine strategy and sail our boat extremely fast. It was a truly winning combination."

Lepesqueux added: "It's a big satisfaction to be there. It's really a release because there was a lot of pressure on us throughout this race. I am pleased to have arrived in Mexico, where you can drink beer and live a little! This welcome is great, really great. We never gave up, there was always a group behind us, there was never more than 90 miles of distance between the leading group of four. I think on a race this long, rarely has there been such intensity. It was great to be with Jorg and sail with him, even though we had very little sailed together before this race."


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