Transat Jacques Vabre duo Loïc Fequet and Loïc Escoffier, onboard Maitre Jacques, finished as the second Multi 50 into Puerto Limon, Costa Rica.
They never let up, but they were up against the odds. They endured one long final night of calm conditions to get to the line, struggling slowly to cover the final 100 miles to the line. And finally at 12h 10m 30s GMT/UTC the duo breached the line. Their average speed over the theoretical course was 11.72kts, actually 13.77kts on their course they sailed.
Loïc Escoffier: 'The Transat itself was wonderful but the Caribbean Sea was long. The last night we were so slow, like the thirty hours we had off the Azores. But these are only two things among many, everything else was great.'
Loïc Fequet: 'For me it was complicated [the start of the race], I struggled to get into it, but Loïc compensated I have been slow to get into it, to find the racing rhythm.'
There is no let up for the leaders Aquarelle.com who look set to lay a claim to be the only class winner to lead every mile from Le Havre to Costa Rica. Even if the British duo on Concise got to within two or three miles, Yannick Bestaven and Eric Drouglazet reign supreme. This afternoon they can consider the finish line which beckons less than 600 miles ahead of them, the equivalent of a Fastnet Race, a bit more than a long Solitaire du Figaro leg, or probably three days of sailing left. They lead by 113 miles over ERDF Des Pieds et Des Mains.
In third place Hannah Jenner and Jesse Naimark-Rowse broke through from the Atlantic to the Caribbean after a long and squally night. Having both sailed a lot in the Caribbean, the duo were pleased to feel like they are on familiar waters.
Jesse Naimark-Rowse (USA) 40 Degrees (GBR): 'We are into the Caribbean sea and it really is a great feeling. Last night was not easy at all with tons and tons of squalls and so we had to keep running to make it through the passage. It was just a long night. You get slow going downwind to be safe with no spinnaker and then you put it up and have to take it down again. So, not a lot of sleep. We did not see the land on the way through, just the lights. But me and Hannah have both sailed quite a lot in the Caribbean Sea a lot and so we feel that we are back somewhere familiar. Now it feels like we are getting there, getting very close. We are currently thinking we will get in Friday some times. The rest of the week is just downwind and hopefully it will be pretty stable, it could be quite windy for the next day or so, then gradually letting up. Spinnakers up all the way to Costa Rica. It is looking downwind and pretty stable. We are not going to stop trying but as time goes on it becomes harder and harder to close the gap in a shorter period of time.' Standings at 1700hrs CET on Monday, November 21st 2011
1 - Virbac-Paprec 3 (Jean-Pierre Dick - Jérémie Beyou) : arrived on Friday November 18th at 9h 15min 34sec. (French Time)
2 - Hugo Boss (Alex Thomson - Guillermo Altadill) : arrived on Saturday November 19th at 00h 20mn 00sec (French Time)
3 - Banque Populaire (Armel Le Cléac'h - Christopher Pratt) : arrived on Saturday November 19th at 6h 00mn 23sec (French Time)
1 - Actual (Yves Le Blevec - Samuel Manuard) : arrived on Sunday November 20th at 08h 07min 43 sec (French Time)
2 - Maitre Jacques (Loïc Fequet - Loïc Escoffier) : arrived on Sunday November 20th at 13h 10min 30 sec (French Time)
1 - Aquarelle.com (Yannick Bestaven - Eric Drouglazet) : 654.5 miles from finish line
2 - ERDF Des Pieds et des Mains (Damien Seguin - Yoann Richomme) : 113.1 miles to leader
3 - 40 Degrees (Hannah Jenner - Jesse Naiwark) : 272.3 miles to leader
For more rankings click here Transat Jacques Vabre website