Transat Québec Saint Malo winner in 2008 in the very competitive Class40, Halvard Mabire has completed an historical double today by crossing in first, a little later than 11am, the finish line of the only fully crewed West-to-East transatlantic race.
Winning Class40 Campagne de France skippered by Halvard Mabire - Transat Quebec St Malo
For the first time ever in the history of the event, launched back in 1984, a skipper gets a second consecutive victory. An not only Mabire triumphed in the 2012 edition of the race, but also set the new record for the class, as well as recording one of the best 24 hours runs with 360 miles at an average speed of more than 15 knots. Behind Campagne the France, only German Joerg Richers and his 'all star' international crew, finishing one and a half hour later, could keep the furious pace set by Mabire and were ready to express all their admiration for their adversaries' incredible performance. Halvard Mabire, accompanied by his partner Miranda Merron and crew Christian Bouroullec, at the not so young age of 56 conquers one of the best wins of his offshore career. The the Class40 podium of the eighth Transat Québec Saint Malo, that has already welcomed four of the Open class category, among which the Italian 50' Vento di Sardegna skippered by Andrea Mura who also got the monohull line honours, has been completed by Sébastien Rogues on Eole Generation-GDF SUEZ, scoring an excellent third place. An edition of the race that will surely remain in the offshore racing books also for the exceptional windy conditions that accompanied the fleet across the Atlantic.
'It's your fault if we were so fast!' said an ironic albeit tired Halvard Mabire referring to his adversaries' performance and namely to Joerg Richers's that pushed Mabire and his crew to give it all until the very last miles. When asked what were the secrets of his win, Campagne de France's skipper replied with no hesitation: an excellent team spirit among the trio Mabire, Merron and Bouroullec; 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 ocean sailor from Normandy acknowledged to have pushed men and machine to the limits to keep the rhythm imposed by his rivals, at first by the whole fleet, and later by the chasing trio, determined to fight until the finish. Only Richers managed to stay close while the other two Sébastien Rogues on Eole Generation-GDF SUEZ and Fabrice Amédéo on Geodis could not keep Mabire's 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 the skipper 'we let the others look for alternatives.'
There was another happy skipper today on the pontoons of Saint Malo. Having achieved his main goal of getting the monohull line honours, Italian Andrea Mura on Vento di Sardegna expressed his satisfaction and joy: 'I'm very pleased with the result. We finished in fourth overall, first monohull and our reference time is excellent. It was hard, especially at the end in the low pressure, we had force 8 winds and a terrible sea, but we made it through. The boat performed very well and my crew was fantastic.' said Mura.
After the finish in third place of Sébastien Rogues' Eole Generation GDF SUEZ which got a well deserved podium position, 18 boats are still racing and the coming hours in Saint Malo promise to be as busy as ever. The next team expected to cross the line is Geodis (at around 8pm local time) followed by Belgium's Roaring Forty (around midnight). And tomorrow, Saturday, there will be a real gust of arrivals. Starting at 1am race organizers and fans will welcome Comiris Elior and in rapid succession IX Blue, Jack in the Box, Groupe Picoty, Red, Partouche, whilst Sevenstar Yachttransport and Bodacious Dream are expected to reach Saint Malo in the early afternoon.
In both the Open and in the Class40 divisions, the sailors from Quebec have brightened up this eighth edition of the Transat Québec Saint-Malo. Since the start, on July 22nd, the 3 teams taking part to the race have been progressing at their own rhythm but always in good humour and with that cheerful attitude that is one of the best features of this event.
In the open category Georges Leblanc and his crew on the 65' Océan Phénix seem to enjoy every moment of the race, despite several technical hitches along the way, namely a broken front pulpit. At 529 miles from Saint Malo, Georges Leblanc keeps fighting against the natural elements that have been battering his boat since leaving the St Lawrence and is racing neck and neck with Benoit Parnaudeau's Transport Cohérance and Denis Van Weynbergh's Proximédia since several days. Eric Tabardel's Class40 Bleu, is sixteenth overall at 561 miles from the finish and since getting out of the river, has been duelling with Avis Immobilier and EDF Energies Nouvelles while Robert Patenaude on Persévérance with his all-corinthian crew is keeping up and could well finish in Saint Malo with a good reference time of 15 days, an excellent result for a crew that is at its offshore debut.
Top position Transat Québec Saint Malo 2012
1 - Halvard Mabire – Campagne de France – finished on August 3rd at 10:50:47-
Elapsed time: 11d 17h 30m 47s
2 - Jorg Riechers – Mare – finished on August 3rd at 12:21:02 - Elapsed time: 11d 19h 1m 2s
3 -Sèbastien Rogues - Eole Generation - GDF SUEZ – finished on August 3rd at 18:04:43 - Elapsed time: 12d 00h 44m 43s
1 - Erwan Le Roux - FenêtréA Cardinal 3 – finished on August 1st 2012, at 07:56:05 – Elapsed time: 9d 14h 21m 5s
2 - Gilles Lamiré - Défi Saint-Malo Agglo – finished on August 2nd at 20:09:04 - Elapsed time: 11d 2h 34m 4s
3 - Erik Nigon - Vers un Monde sans SIDA – finished on August 2nd at 20:30:23 - Elapsed time: 11d 2h 55m 23s
4 - Andrea Mura – Vento di Sardegna – (First Monohull) finished on August 3rd at 08:35:59 - Elapsed time: 11d 15h 0m 59s