There was joy unconfined in a glorious sunrise in the Bay of All Saints as the Franco-Spanish duo of Lalou Roucayrol and Alex Pella crossed line the on their foiling 50ft trimaran, Arkema to win the Transat Jacques Vabre Multi50 class.
Arkema’s win struck another blow for the underdog in this Transat Jacques Vabre as they beat the favourites in to Salvador de Bahia. Something that favourites Jean-Pierre Dick and Yann Eliès on St Michel – Virbac seem certain to make sure does not happen in the Imoca class. But Phil Sharp and Pablo Santurde are doing their best to cause another mini-upset against the two powerful French teams toiling alongside them in the Doldrums.
But the south-east trade winds brought the most mixed news to the 13th edition of the Route de Café over the last 24 hours. Thursday woke to the 80ft trimaran Prince de Bretagne being towed back to Salvador de Bahia after dismasting yesterday evening just 93 miles from the finish line.
Multi50: Arkema breaks race and 24 hour speed record
It was ninth-time lucky for the 53-year-old Lalou Roucayrol. When his co-skipper, Karine Fauconnier, was injured in training three months ago, Roucayrol was looking for the best to help win his first Route du Café. In Alex Pella, the formidable and multi-skilled, multi-starred Spanish sailor, making his third appearance, he found both that and hunger. Both had finished second in the race before – Pella in the Class40 with fellow Catalan, Pablo Santurde, in 2013 (who is currently leading that class).
They sealed their win with a masterful comeback in the Doldrums taking 160 miles in 42 hours off FenêtréA-Mix Buffet, skippered by the “dream team” of Erwan Le Roux and Vincent Riou, who have five Transat Jacques Vabre victories between them.
Arkema won the Multi50 class of the 13th edition of the Transat Jacques Vabre after crossing the finish line in the Bay of All Saints in Salvador de Bahia on Thursday, November 16, 2017 at 07:49:19 (UTC), 10 days 19 hours 14 minutes and 19 seconds after leaving Le Havre, Normandy France. Arkema covered the theoretical course of 4,350 nautical miles at an average speed of 16.81 knots, but actually sailed 4,671 nautical miles at an average speed of 18.02 knots.
Arkema beat the previous record of 12 days 06 hours 13 mins set by Franck-Yves Escoffier and his son, Kevin Escoffier on Crêpes Whaou!in 2005 by 1 day 10 hours 59 minutes and 40 seconds.
More importantly for them they were 7 hours 37 minutes and 4 seconds ahead of FenêtréA-Mix Buffet.
Le Roux and Riou, on their trimaran, FenêtréA-Mix Buffet, finished second in the Multi50 class of the 13th edition of the Transat Jacques Vabre after crossing the finish line in the Bay of All Saints in Salvador de Bahia, on Thursday, November 16, 2017 at 15:26:23 (UTC), 11 days, 2 hours 51 minutes and 23 seconds after leaving Le Havre.
FenêtréA-Mix Buffet covered the theoretical course of 4,350 nautical miles at an average speed of 16.33 knots, but actually sailed 4,726 nautical miles at an average speed of 17.71 knots.
Arkema also broke the Multihull50 24-hour speed record as they kept they pressed home their advantage down the final straight. They sailed 568 miles in 24 hours traveled between November 14 at 10:00 UTC and November 15 at 10:00 UTC (the previous record of 524 miles was held by Ciela Village on the Transat Quebec / St Malo in July 2016). The records is awaiting confirmation from the WSSRC