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Transat Jacques Vabre - A totally successful outcome for the IMOCAs

by IMOCAs on 24 Nov 2017
Starting of the Transat Jacques Vabre 2017 Transat Jacques Vabre
With Romain Attanasio and Aurélien Ducroz finishing on Wednesday 22nd November, the thirteenth Transat Jacques Vabre came to an end for the IMOCAs. This year's race was won by Jean-Pierre Dick and Yann Eliès on StMichel-Virbac. There was a very positive outcome for the IMOCA class, as all thirteen boats that lined up for the start in Le Havre made it to the finish in Salvador da Bahia. While the boats were shown to be reliable, the high standard of racing also stood out. This is all very promising for the next events on the IMOCA calendar…

Thirteen boats out of thirteen at the finish: an exceptional result

The 2016-2017 Vendée Globe gave us the lowest retirement rate in the history of the event with 18 skippers out of 29 making it to the finish. The 2017 Transat Jacques Vabre has done even better with a 100% success rate. A very pleasing outcome for Antoine Mermod, President of the IMOCA class: “It is exceptional to see all the boats at the finish in a major ocean race with such a line-up. This result is all the more pleasing, as it was a very demanding race where everyone pushed hard. This success rate is down to the quality of the skippers and the preparation of their boats. In a post-Vendée Globe year, the boats have been tried and tested and have shown what they can do around the world. They were also well taken care of afterwards by the teams. We're not in a development phase with the risk of breakage that that entails. Having said that, a lot of boats changed hands after the Vendée Globe and we might have feared that some weren't ready for their first major race, but that wasn't the case. By completing the race, the newcomers showed they were able to live up to their ambitions.”

This 100% success rate is excellent news for the sailors, who are looking for funding in order to take part in the next big races on the IMOCA calendar, starting with the 2018 Route du Rhum. “This proves we have a reliable fleet and that is something that can be highlighted when in discussions with potential partners,” stressed Antoine Mermod.

A high standard of racing and a top quality competition

It should be pointed out that the three skippers on the Transat Jacques Vabre podium have been sailing on their boats now for several seasons and they made the most of this knowledge. Jean-Pierre Dick (StMichel-Virbac), Paul Meilhat (SMA) and Morgan Lagravière (Des Voiles Et Vous!, the former Safran) all managed to find excellent sailors to accompany them, with respectively Yann Eliès, Gwénolé Gahinet and Eric Péron. “These three crews had that little bit extra in their ability to sail the boat and choose the best routes,” explained Antoine Mermod. “But those crews just discovering their boats as they made their way across the Atlantic weren't that far behind. They have made a lot of progress in getting to grips with their IMOCA and have already shown that they are to be reckoned with. Boris Herrmann and Thomas Ruyant (fourth on Malizia II – editor's note) did a really good job, as did Louis Burton and Servane Escoffier (Bureau Vallée 2), who were in fourth place before the Doldrums, where they had some bad luck. As for Kito de Pavant and Yannick Bestaven, they had a magnificent race on a fine-tuned boat from 2006 that they pushed 120% of the way throughout the crossing. Overall, everyone did a good job and the overall standard was exceptionally high.”

We should add that there were three women in the 2017 Transat Jacques Vabre (Servane Escoffier, Sam Davies, Isabelle Joschke) and they all worked well. Two of them intend to take part in the races leading up to the 2020 Vendée Globe. While Sam Davies is already backed by a solid partner (Initiatives Cœur), Isabelle Joschke is looking for new sponsors, after gaining a lot of experience in the 2017 season, where she performed consistently well. “Isabelle has huge potential. We're keeping our fingers crossed that she will be able to complete her budget and continue her career in the IMOCA class,” declared Antoine Mermod.

“A lot of positive energy”

The other good news for the IMOCA class is that the relationship with the skippers, teams and organisers is very good. Antoine Mermod: “Everyone enjoyed themselves during the race, but also in everything to do with the race. We end the enriching 2017 season with a lot of changes and we are getting ready to enter a new cycle leading up to the 2020 Vendée Globe. We can feel a lot of positive energy.”

The 2017 Transat Jacques Vabre rankings for the IMOCAs

1. Jean-Pierre Dick and Yann Eliès (StMichel-Virbac)
2. Paul Meilhat and Gwénolé Gahinet (SMA)
3. Morgan Lagravière and Eric Péron (Des Voiles Et Vous !)
4. Boris Herrmann and Thomas Ruyant (Malizia II)
5. Kito de Pavant and Yannick Bestaven (Bastide Otio)
6. Tanguy De Lamotte and Samantha Davies (Initiatives Cœur)
7. Louis Burton and Servane Escoffier (Bureau Vallée 2)
8. Isabelle Joschke and Pierre Brasseur (Generali)
9. Alan Roura and Frédéric Denis (La Fabrique)
10. Yohann Richomme and Pierre Lacaze (Vivo A Beira)
11. Arnaud Boissières and Manuel Cousin (La Mie Câline-Artipôle)
12. Fabrice Amedeo and Giancarlo Pedote (Newrest-Brioche Pasquier)
13. Romain Attanasio and Aurélien Ducroz (Famille Mary-Etamine Du Lys)

A few facts and figures about the IMOCAs in the Transat Jacques Vabre:

- 13 days, 7 hours, 36 minutes and 46 seconds: the race time for the winners, Jean-Pierre Dick and Yann Eliès
- 4: the number of wins achieved by Jean-Pierre Dick in the Transat Jacques Vabre on an IMOCA
- 13.63 knots: The average speed set by Dick and Eliès on the Great Circle Route (direct route)
- 3 days, 20 hours, 5 minutes, 41 seconds: the gap between the winner, StMichel-Virbac and the final boat home, Famille Mary-Etamine Du Lys
- 0: the number of boats that retired

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