Victory for Mabire and Merron
2008 Québec Saint Malo Class40 winner Halvard Mabire scored a historical double today by crossed first, just after 1100, the finish line of the fully crewed west-to-east transatlantic race.
This is the first time ever in the history of the event, since it was first held back in 1984, that a skipper has won a second consecutive victory. Not only has Mabire triumphed in this year's race co-skippered Miranda Merron, but they also set a new record for the class, as well as recording one of the best 24 hours runs of 360 miles, at an average speed of more than 15 knots.
Behind Campagne the France, German Joerg Richers and his international 'all star' crew, finished one and a half hour later, as they attempted to keep up the pace set by Mabire and Merron. In third place was Sébastien Rogues on Eole Generation-GDF SUEZ.
Already home in the Québec-Saint Malo, have been four in the Open class, among them the Italian Open 50 Vento di Sardegna skippered by Andrea Mura which also got the monohull line honours.
“It's your fault if we were so fast!” joked a tired Mabire referring to his adversaries Joerg Riechers' performance pushing Mabire and his crew particularly in the last few miles. When asked what were the secrets of his win, the Campagne de France skipper replied with no hesitation: an excellent team spirit among the three crew on board - the experience coming from the recent round-the-world race and the extreme reliability of his boat, that he now knows “by heart”.
The 56 years old veteran from Normandy acknowledged to have pushed the crew and their machine to the limit to keep ahead of the pace imposed by his rivals, at first by the whole fleet, and later by the chasing trio, determined to fight until the finish. Only Reichers managed to stay close, while the other two Sébastien Rogues on Eole Generation-GDF SUEZ and Fabrice Amédéo on Geodis could not keep maintain the pace. Not only was Campagne de France extremely fast but the crew's strategy proved winning too. “We tried to make our own race” said Mabire. “We let the others look for alternatives.”