Sébastien Rogues, on Eole Generation-GDF SUEZ, has won the first stage of the La Charente-Maritime/Bahia Transat 6.50 from Salvador de Bahia, to Brazil via Funchal, Madeira, Portugal. He covered 1148 miles at the average speed of 5.40 knots in 8 days 20 hours 46 minutes and 43 seconds.
Sébastien Rogues (716 – Eole Generation-GDF SUEZ): 'It is my greatest victory because it's the hardest race I've ever done. The more you suffer the more valuable it is to win, especially because I believe I raced brilliantly. I have always been at the forefront of the fleet. But suddenly, off Portugal, when there were 40 knots of wind I wondered what I was doing there. What was going to break first, the mast? The hull? And at that moment the race is not your priority, you think about yourself first. We had a very combative but quite friendly race with David and Jorg. This morning, I wondered where David had gone. I did not dare to ask by the VHF and he is the one that told me 'Is that you ahead of me?' What a great moment! The boat is fine. I can leave right now; I just have a few ropes to change.'
28 minutes and 25 seconds after Sébastien Rogues, David Raison on TeamWork Evolution finished this stage between La Rochelle and Funchal in eight days 21 hours 55 minutes and 08 seconds at an average speed of 5.38 knots.
David Raison (TeamWork Evolution): 'I got scared this morning because I had blocked the main sail up the mast. I thought I was going to crash the boat on the rocks. I, also, have broken one batten. But, really, after the last 24 hours I was tired and everything I had been doing was stupid. But my 'Magnum' is remarkable. I could not use her full potential because I was not able to follow but she is made to win.'
Jorg Riechers on Mare.de finished third in eight days 22 hours 19 minutes and 07 seconds. He covered the 1148 miles at an average speed of 5.36 knots.
'When, before the departure from La Rochelle, Bertrand Delesne collided with me, I was furious. I would have killed him if I had him close enough. I remembered that I was forced to withdraw in 2009. I did not want it to happen again. For two seconds max, I thought about giving up. But I changed my mind. I laminated from the inside all night and by day I did the outside. After that experience, I'm happy with my race. I sailed against great champions and I'm third. It's great. Nothing is definitive yet; there is still the second stage. I got a bit scared like David in the end. I have touched the hole, but nothing serious. We will fix it.' La Charente-Maritime/Bahia Transat website