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Sail-World.com : Abu Dhabi pulvérise le record du Tour des Iles Britanniques
Abu Dhabi pulvérise le record du Tour des Iles Britanniques

'Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing crew celebrates crossing the finish line off Royal Yacht Squadron, Cowes at 22.20.28 BST on Friday 15th August 2014 with an elapsed time of 4 days, 13 hours, 10 minutes, 28 seconds.'    © Ian Roman / Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing    Click Here to view large photo

Le Volvo Ocean 65, le monotype de la prochaine édition de la Volvo Ocean Race est né, et bien né. C’est cette nuit, peu avant minuit qu’Abu Dhabi Racing a terminé en tête le Tour des Iles Britanniques et Ian Walker et ses hommes ont réalisé une sacrée performance. Ils gagnent la course bien sûr mais ils explosent, au passage, de 32 heures le record établi quatre ans plus tôt par Groupama.

A bien y regarder, ce sont même tous les concurrents qui font tomber ce record établi en 2010 puisque même Team SCA (5ème) aura mis une journée de moins pour parcourir les 1 800 milles. Les conditions météo étaient extrêmement favorables, avec du portant sur la majorité du parcours, mais les Volvo 65 ont démontré leur fiabilité ainsi que leur vélocité.

Ian Walker, skipper of Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing -  © Ian Roman / Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing   Click Here to view large photo
'Les cinq bateaux ont montré leur capacité à naviguer en sécurité et sont rentrés en un seul morceau, c’est bon signe,' lâche Ian Walker à l’arrivée. Nicolas Lunven, navigateur à bord du bateau espagnol, se dit lui aussi très satisfait de ce tour de chauffe. 'Nous n’avons eu le bateau qu’en juin et on peut vite avoir de mauvaises surprises avec un bateau neuf,' explique t-il.

Les conditions de ce Tour des Iles Britanniques n’ont pourtant pas été simples avec, les deux premiers jours du vent fort, jusqu’à 35 nœuds, et une mer du Nord cahotique. De petites avaries ont été constatées comme un problème hydraulique à bord d’Abu Dhabi ou un souci électrique pour les Espagnols mais rien qui puisse contraindre un équipage à l’abandon.

Sur le plan physique, plusieurs marins rentrent un peu cassés à l’image de Pascal Bidégorry (Dongfeng Race Team), quatre points de suture à la main, Phil Armer (Abu Dhabi), sans doute une main cassée, ou de Justin Slattery (Abu Dhabi), blessé aux côtes. Autant de séquelles qui rappellent combien ces bateaux sont exigeants.

Sur le plan sportif, Walker a réalisé une véritable démonstration et mené la course du début à la fin. Seuls les Espagnols menés par Iker Martinez lui ont tenu tête jusqu’aux îles Shetlands. 'Nous sommes contents de les avoir accrochés aussi longtemps puis nous avons pris quelque chose dans l’hélice qui nous a fait perdre du temps,' explique Lunven.

Les Espagnols, coachés par Michel Desjoyeaux, terminent ainsi à la deuxième place. L’équipage franco chinois (Dongfeng) mené par Charles Caudrelier complète ce podium. Une bonne nouvelle pour ce collectif basé à Lorient qui accueille plusieurs chinois en formation. 'Ils sont de plus en plus à l’aise à bord et ont de bons réflexes. Si nous continuons comme cela, nous ferons de belles choses sur la Volvo,' analyse Caudrelier.

Le départ de la Volvo Ocean Race est dans seulement 48 jours.

Classement définitif:

1. UAE - Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing (Ian Walker), en 4 jours, 13 heures, 10 minutes et 28 sec
2. ESP - Team Campos (Iker Martinez)
3. CHN - Dongfeng Race Team (Cahrles Caudrelier)
4. USA - Team Alvimedica (Charles Enright)
5. SWE - Team SCA (Sam Davies)

Ian Walker (Skipper Abu Dhabi): 'Je suis très, très heureux car c’est une performance parfaite. Je suis aussi très heureux pour l’équipage car ils ont réalisé énormément de travail. C’est très excitant d’avoir explosé ce record de plus d’une journée à bord de ces nouveaux Volvo Ocean 65. Et les cinq bateaux engagés ont montré leur capacité à naviguer en toute sécurité et sont rentrés en un seul morceau malgré les conditions difficiles. C’est un bon signe pour la suite.'

Iker Martinez (Skipper : Spanish team): 'Abu Dhabi a mis la barre très haut. Maintenant, on sait à quoi s’en tenir et on voit ce vers quoi il faut tendre. Ils maitrisent mieux le bateau que nous mais c’est compréhensible car nous n’avons eu le notre que très récemment. Nous avons rencontré quelques problèmes électriques qui n’ont pas facilité les choses, en particulier pour la navigation, mais toutes nos félicitations à Azzam.'

Charles Caudrelier (Skipper : Dongfeng Race Team ): 'Cette course nous a permis de voir que nous étions compétitifs, ce qui est très intéressant. Je suis extrêmement fier des Chinois. Ils avaient peur d’être malades mais ils ne l’ont pas été. Ils sont de plus en plus à l’aise à bord et ont de bons réflexes. Si nous continuons comme cela, nous ferons de belles choses sur la Volvo Ocean Race. Ils viennent de très loin, quand je pense à tout ce qu’ils ont accompli. Ils sont de plus en plus bons, ils sont impressionnants et apprennent très vite. Il faut se rappeler qu’on ne devient pas un marin de la Volvo Ocean Race en seulement six mois.'

Nicolas Lunven (Spanish Team): 'Cette course était très intéressante car il y avait cinq des sept bateaux engagés dans la Volvo Ocean Race. Les conditions ont été super rudes au début avec du vent fort, une mer désordonnée du courant, des DST (zones interdites). Ça va vite et ça mouille mais ça permet de prendre le bateau en main. Nous n’avons mis le bateau à l’eau qu’au mois de juin. Quand c’est neuf, il y a souvent de mauvaises surprises mais quand il y a 30 nœuds de vent, tu vois vite s’il y a des problèmes.'

Plus d’infos:

Round Britain and Ireland
Volvo Ocean Race


by Volvo Ocean Race


  

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6:12 PM Sat 16 Aug 2014GMT


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2014 Sevenstar Round Britain & Ireland Race

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