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Transat Paprec - Day 9

by Transat Paprec 8 May 19:10 BST 8 May 2023
Guillaume Pirouelle and Sophie Faguet aboard Region Normandie after the passage of La Palma © Region Normandie

Relief after toughest 24 hours

The last 24 hours have been the toughest yet for the mixed doubles pairs on the Transat Paprec. After passing the Canary Islands waypoint Sunday lunchtime, the breeze freshened and the leaders experienced a fast, furious night in winds over 30 kts, surfing at up to 20kts at times on the Figaro BENETEAU 3s, averaging 14 to 15 kts for a sustained period

Teams which had problems include Ageas - Ballay-Cerfrance - Baie de Saint-Brieuc (Mael Garnier/Julie Courtois) who lost their spinnaker tackline, while the duo from Groupe Hélios - Du Léman à l'Océan (Arnaud Machado/Lucie Quéruel) have had to make a sustained stopover in La Palma due to extensive sail damage. Meanwhile leaders Lois Berrehar and Charlotte Yven on Skipper MACIF have strengthened their margin to just over 4 nautical miles as they leaders head nearly due west pointing at the Caribbean.

Whilst at home in France and other parts of Europe it has been a Bank Holiday, there has been no possibility of downtime for the Transat Paprec fleet. But today as the winds eased there has been time recuperate a little and regroup after a boisterous Sunday evening and night.

"We had 24 very lively hours," admits Anne-Claire Le Berre (Region Bretagne - CMB Performance).

The controlled, steady regime of the first week since leaving Concarneau - trim, steer, eat, trim, steer, sleep, eat - was suddenly shattered Sunday afternoon and night into Monday with gusty winds and fast downwind rides. On top of that the lack of sleep meant layer upon layer of gnawing fatigue. Some had prepared for the sudden onslaught of wind and did better, but all the skippers spoken to Monday reported extreme tiredness and were taking every opportunity to catch up on rest.

But at the same time there is a renewed fight among the leaders, as the close rounding times at La Palma highlighted how tight the contest is, just 12 minutes between the top four after a week of racing, one hour and 14 minutes spanning the top eight.

"It was nice to see all the boats," today chuckled Le Berre who was previously Sam Davies' technical manager on the British skipper's IMOCA, "It felt like a fresh start. But then with the big swell and speeds you do start to worry about breaking things."

On Ageas - Ballay - Cerfrance - Baie de Saint-Brieuc the spinnaker tackline broke and Mael Garnier and Julie Courtois were forced to slow and work on the bow and the sprit end in the big waves to recover the situation but not before they tore their kite.

They admitted today to feeling lucky to be still racing. Meanwhile there is positive news of Lucie Queruel and Arnaud Machado who pulled into La Palma with sail damage. It is understood the duo from Groupe Hélios - Du Léman à l'Océan were leaving this afternoon after having done their best to repair the damaged sails with the help of two women from the remote island where there are, of course, no sailmakers.

Queruel summarised, "It is hard for morale. We broke all our sails but no matter what we will finish and we will enjoy it until the very end!"

Top five at 1700hrs BST Monday 8th May:

1 Skipper MACIF (Loïs Berrehar/Charlotte Yven) 2204.9 nms to finish
2 Région Normandie (Guillaume Pirouelle/Sophie Faguet) +4.6nms
3 Mutuellle Bleue (Corentin Horeau/Pauline Courtois) +5 nms
4 Edenred (Basile Bourgnon/Violette Dorange) +13.5 nms
5 Région Bretagne CMB Performance (Gaston Morvan/Anne Claire le Berre) +13.9 nms

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