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Transat New York – Vendée - Another podium place for Sébastien Josse

by Gitana on 9 Jun 2016
Sébastien Josse - Edmond de Rothschild (France) - 2016 New York–Vendée Transatlantic Race Yann Riou / Gitana
2016 New York–Vendée Transatlantic Race - At 15h06’49’’ GMT this Wednesday 8 June, the skipper of the Mono60 Edmond de Rothschild crossed the finish line of the Transat New York – Vendée in Les Sables d’Olonne, western France.

With a race time of nine days, 19 hours, 26 minutes and 49 seconds from Manhattan, Sébastien Josse secures second place, 2hrs28 behind winner Jérémie Beyou (Maître CoQ). In so doing, he earns another podium place aboard the most recent of the Gitana fleet to complement his victory in the Transat St Barthélémy-Port La Forêt in December 2015. Some five months before the Vendée Globe (6 November), this latest performance rewards the work of a whole team.

“We’ve made it into Les Sables d’Olonne on a boat in very good condition, following a crossing that has given us the opportunity to size up our performance in relation to the competition. To finish second just a few months before the Vendée Globe is really positive,” admitted Sébastien Josse, shortly after crossing the finish line. “It’s important to finish races, especially well placed. The Vendée Globe is something you win or lose, but you’re not on your own. For Gitana Team, this result reinforces our goal of playing to win in the Vendée Globe, though it is also an adventure and you have to finish what is the toughest course there is…”

A transatlantic in the form of a condensed round the world

From Wall Street to the famous channel into Les Sables d’Olonne in France, the competitors have had to contend with virtually all the different types of weather conditions. Indeed, following on from the rather unique atmosphere at the start of the race with the Grand Banks of Newfoundland and the proximity of the ice, the solo sailors have also had to tackle some hostile conditions dished up by a low positioned directly in the middle of the Atlantic, culminating with a race finish that saw the winds fade away to nothing in the Bay of Biscay.

Alex Thomson from Britain led on board Hugo Boss for most of the race, he really pushed his machine hard, particularly when he took a more northerly option, the ranking ultimately turned however to Sébastien Josse and Jérémie Beyou's advantage when having chosen a less risky option. From beginning to end, the skipper of Edmond de Rothschild made it clear that he was competing in this event with the ultimate ambition to circumnavigate the globe and with this in mind the idea was to find the “right Vendée Globe mode” on the race, to try to strike a balance, ready to set a more conservative pace than his rivals.



“I’d like to congratulate Jérémie (Beyou) on his victory. We crossed the Atlantic together and always with similar trajectories so it’s been a really great battle. Unfortunately, we lost part of the fleet shortly after the start as a result of damage or a collision. It was an intense race. We had strong wind, medium breeze and calm conditions at the end, which isn’t the easiest thing to get a handle on and you have to be able to sail the boat well in all these different ranges. It was certainly a fantastic exercise. In the end, we have three ‘foilers’ on the podium (Maître CoQ, Edmond de Rothschild, Hugo Boss). It’s clear to see that we perform increasingly well downwind, but also upwind and we can still improve a lot more.”

Skipper and team rewarded

A month ago, the Mono60 Edmond de Rothschild was forced to stop off in Spain due to technical breakage and retire from The Transat Bakerly (Plymouth - New York, solo race). Naturally this was a disappointment for the skipper and his team, who were fully committed to this preparation for this winter’s upcoming round the world race. As a result, everyone rallied together to enable the monohull to make her delivery trip to the United States, which validated a large percentage of the technical data. After sailing 3,000 miles, it was then necessary to get the boat back into the optimum configuration in New York to take the start of this return sprint to France’s Vendée region less than 10 days ago.

“The work accomplished by the team has borne fruit', admits Cyril Dardashti, General Manager of the team founded by Baron Benjamin de Rothschild. “Everyone has put in 200% effort and, given everyone’s commitment, this second place is a just reward. Though we’re seeking victory in the Vendée Globe, we’ve taken another positive step forward on that journey. When you suffer breakage and have to retire, it’s very frustrating for Sébastien of course, as well as for each of the members of Gitana Team. You have to look at it more as a stage rather than a failure. We all have a great deal of trust in one another and there is a very real cohesion among the group. We know that technical issues are the name of the game, particularly on such complicated boats packed with innovations. We also know that we can’t avoid all the potential problems and that the same is true of our rivals. As such, when that happens, you have to talk about it, exchange ideas, dissect what’s going on and understand and find solutions in order to bounce back straightaway and above all make progress for the future. In this latest race, we operated in “Vendée Globe” mode, both in sporting and technical terms, so this podium is very positive.”



What responses do you have for the Vendée Globe

Launched some 10 months ago, on 7 August 2015, the most recent addition to the Gitana fleet has taken the start of four transatlantic races. Two return transatlantic races, which have resulted in one victory, one second place and two retirements due to damage, albeit it minor and enough to force the sailor off the racetrack. Among Gitana 16’s closest rivals, and notably those bidding for the highest steps of the podium in the Vendée Globe, they too have had their fair share of successes and disappointments. These two spring races have brought a few certainties to bear and notably the fact that humility prevails. The “foilers” have certainly shown what they’re made of: the winner of both events sport these famous “moustaches”: Banque Populaire VIII and Maître CoQ, but the line-up is very open, especially on the scale of a round the world.

Transat New York – Vendée, ranking on Wednesday 8 June at 17:15 GMT

1. Jérémie Beyou - Maitre CoQ (France) – Finished – 9d 16h 57min 49sec
2. Sébastien Josse - Edmond de Rothschild (France) – Finished –9d 19h 26min 49sec
3. Alex Thomson - Hugo Boss (UK) Finished – 9d 21h 03min 33sec
4. Paul Meilhat - SMA (France) 162 miles from the finish
5. Vincent Riou - PRB (France) 257 miles back
6. Tanguy de Lamotte - Initiatives Cœur (France) 265.8 miles back
7. Kojiro Shiraishi - Spirit of Yukoh (Japan) 286.4 miles back
8. Fabrice Amedeo - Newrest Matmut (France) 345.7 miles back
9. Morgan Lagravière - Safran (France) 908.1 miles back
10. Yann Eliès - Queguiner-Leucemie Espoir (France) 925.6 miles back
11. Jean-Pierre Dick - St Michel-Virbac (France) 973.4 miles back
12. Conrad Colman - 100 % Natural Energy (New Zealand - USA) 1,313.1 miles back
13. Pieter Heerema - No Way Back (Holland) 1,316.5 miles back

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