Please select your home edition
Ovington 2021 - ILCA 3 - LEADERBOARD
Product Feature
Sea Sure 4 Hole 8mm Pintle
Sea Sure 4 Hole 8mm Pintle

Second place for Justine Mettraux and Simon Fisher in 48h Défi Azimut battle

by 11th Hour Racing Team 18 Sep 2021 19:27 BST 15-19 September 2021
Défi Azimut © Ben Bireau

Justine Mettraux and Simon Fisher bag a stellar second place at Le Defi Azimut 48 hour challenge! The team sailing on 'Alaka'i' arrived this morning at 8:56 am local time in Lorient, sailing the 550-nautical mile course in less than 42 hours.

The September sun almost broke through the overcast sky when 'Alaka'i' arrived at the dock this morning in Lorient. Onboard the IMOCA 60 yacht, an exhausted yet euphoric crew - Simon Fisher and Justine Mettraux. Over the past two days, our co-skippers dealt with the entire bandwidth of weather conditions Brittany has to offer this time of the year: From heavy rain to blasting sun, from smooth waters to a hectic sea state. From cruising in a mere two knots of wind (3,7 kmph / 2,3 mph) to seeing gusts up to 40 knots (74 kmph / 46 mph) - these two past days were densely packed with a bit of everything.

Simon 'Sifi' Fisher summarized: "I am super satisfied with the result. It was a really tough race. I'm proud of the fact that we managed to keep things together and fight until very the end. We're still learning as a team and this experience was important for us, requiring quick turnarounds and smart decision-making when it came to maneuvers. Obviously there is always room for improvement, but I think we did a good job building and maintaining speed and adapting to this large variety of conditions. We are glad to be back on dry land, these past hours left us pretty knackered!"

After snagging fishing gear drifting offshore, the crew had to momentarily pause the race in the first night to assess potential damage and clear the foils and rudders. At this moment, Alaka'i sat in fifth position amongst the fleet led by Apivia (Charlie Dalin / Paul Meilhat), the overall dominating French team and event winner.

Justine described one of the key moments when catching up to the rest of the fleet leaders: "Between mark one and two, we had some difficult decisions to make. Usually, the course requires a sequence of maneuvers, but we agreed to stick with a pretty straight course instead. This way we kept up solid speed and managed to pass fellow competitor Arkéa Paprec (Sébastien Simon / Yann Eliès) to move into fourth position after being in fifth place early on. We had some great reaching conditions and managed to become very fast."

Continuing the course back to Lorient, Sifi and Justine managed to overtake team LinkedOut and Bureau Vallée in the early morning hours of today after taking a more southerly position after rounding the final mark of the course. Building out their lead, 'Alaka'i' ended up crossing the finish line at 8:56 am, two hours behind event winner Apivia (arrival: 6:56 am) and nearly 20 minutes ahead of third place finisher LinkedOut (Thomas Ruyant / Morgan Lagravière) who arrived at 9:13 am local time, closely followed by Bureau Vallée (arrival 9:16 am).

"It feels great to be part of 11th Hour Racing Team and get the chance to sail this boat with Sifi", said Justine. "Our team dynamics are amazing, and we are fortunate to have a fantastic crew behind us. It's great to train with guys like Charlie Enright and Pascal Bidégorry, working towards our common vision of The Ocean Race 2022-23. And also amazing to work with such a strong shore team that supports and pushes us. We are starting to feel really comfortable looking at our big challenge of this season as a double-handed team - The TJV."

11th Hour Racing Team had initially started the 48-hour challenge with two boats. In addition to 'Alaka'i',' the Team's new IMOCA yacht 'Malama' also started the race but returned to Lorient following damage to the tiller arm on the first night of racing. With the upcoming inhospitable weather, it would been a considerable risk to continue to course, which led co-skippers Charlie Enright and Pascal Bidégorry to make the tough decision to retire from the race. Malama put on a strong opener to the overall event, finishing first on the Speed Runs on September 15.

Tomorrow, September 18, Le Défi Azimut will wrap up with one final event - Tour of l'Ile de Groix, off the picturesque Island just outside of Lorient. While repair work to 'Malama' are under way, both boats are currently scheduled to take part in the crewed race.

The full list of results and live updates can be found on the Défi Azimut - Lorient Agglomeration's website.

Related Articles

11th Hour Racing finishes The Ocean Race Leg 1
A brutal leg with sustained damage to the boats, the team had to carry out several repairs onboard The opening leg of the grueling 31,700 nautical miles (36,500 miles, 58,700 kilometers) around-the-world race took the fleet from Alicante, Spain, to the Cabo Verde island of São Vicente. Posted on 21 Jan
What do an astronaut and sailor have in common?
11th Hour Racing teams up with NASA Astronaut Nicole Stott to premier the Oceanview Effect film What's the connection between outer space and offshore sailing? Posted on 20 Jan
11th Hour Racing Team sets off on The Ocean Race
31,700 nautical miles ahead for the team 11th Hour Racing Team has crossed the start line in Alicante, Spain, of the world's longest and toughest sporting event - The Ocean Race 2022-23. Posted on 15 Jan
Freediver Fred Buyle takes on mast challenge
Climbing the 90ft mast of 11th Hour Racing Team's boat 'Malama' Exactly 24 hours before the start of the world's longest and toughest sporting event, The Ocean Race, Ulysse Nardin Ambassador and Freediver Fred Buyle took on the challenge of climbing the 90ft mast of 11th Hour Racing Team's boat 'Malama'. Posted on 14 Jan
Introducing the Oceanview Effect
Another way to understand the true nature of the planet The phenomenon astronauts experience when they look down on planet Earth from space is known as The Overview Effect. Coined by author Frank White, who described it as: "...a message from the universe to humanity. Posted on 14 Jan
11th Hour Racing Team claim 2nd place in Alicante
The first In-Port Race of the 50th anniversary of The Ocean Race 11th Hour Racing Team has claimed second place in the very first race of the 50th anniversary of The Ocean Race 2022-23: the Alicante In-Port Race. Posted on 8 Jan
11th Hour Racing Team arrives in Alicante
Joining three of four The Ocean Race IMOCA competitors already here The crew - a mixture of sailors and shore crew - sailed the 100-nautical-mile delivery (185 kilometers or 115 miles) with no issues and are now safely on a mooring in the Port of Alicante. Posted on 31 Dec 2022
11th Hour Racing final The Ocean Race preparations
Skipper Charlie Enright says "attention to detail is crucial" With two months to go until the start of the 31,700 nautical mile (36,500 miles, 58,700 kilometers) round-the-world adventure - The Ocean Race - US entry 11th Hour Racing Team is in the final preparation stages ahead of the race start on January 15, 2023. Posted on 17 Nov 2022
11th Hour Racing Team and Gen 2 Carbon join forces
Carbon fiber recycling of used boat components and manufacturing offcuts 11th Hour Racing Team has launched a partnership with Gen 2 Carbon, and the experts in high-quality carbon recovery systems join the Team as Official Carbon Fiber Recycling Partner. Posted on 7 Oct 2022
11th Hour Racing Team success in the Défi Azimut
Full race mode for The Ocean Race 2022-23 teams The final day of The Défi Azimut marked the last time The Ocean Race teams will line up against one another in a crewed format, before the start of The Ocean Race 2022-23 on January 15 next year. Posted on 18 Sep 2022