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The Artemis Transat

Yann Eliès third behind Peyron and Le Cléac’h

"I really wanted that third place, I felt it was mine"

Sunday 25 May 2008Information The Transat

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Greeted by race winner Loick Peyron, second-placed Armel Le Cléac’h and "clandestine passenger" Vincent Riou, who had been replaying the race while waiting for him, Yann Elies was radiant when his boat came to a stop alongside the Boston Harbor Hotel pontoon. Happy, but also relieved, the Breton skipper could finally let his joy out, after having lived the last 36 hours at sea under a Damocles sword. Would the mast hold until the end?

"We told Yann to stick to two reefs in the main and the staysail", told us Erwan Steff, project manager for the Generali Open 60, this morning in Boston. Painstakingly slow, but much better than seeing the mast bid farewell to its verticality. Discovered during a routine inspection yesterday, damage to one of the top spreaders was a source of concern and might have resulted in the dismasting of the boat if Yann Elies had kept on sailing at full potential. Fortunately, his third position was not at risk, but to add insult to injury, the wind completely dropped 15 miles before the finish line. Doing less than 1 knot of boat speed Speed #speedsailing at 22:00 local time (2:00 GMT), Yann saw the wind come back very discretely - less than 5 knots - but right on the nose. Good for fishing, would have said Jean-Luc Nélias, but certainly not for sailing... The feeling of relief was visibly intense onboard Generali when the finish line was finally crossed at 04:00:22 GMT (0:00:22 local time)

With 10 Figaro seasons under his belt, two titles of France Offshore Singlehanded champion, two winning Jules Verne Trophy Jules Verne Trophy #TropheeJulesVerne campaigns (absolute RTW sailing record Record #sailingrecord , fully crewed), Yann Elies is currently still co-holder of the fastest planetary lap (50 days) and moved on to his own Open 60 campaign last year. Happy when the going gets tough, the young Breton sailor is a speed Speed #speedsailing addict and proved it once more during The Artemis Transat 2008 by signing the best 24-hour run with 376 miles covered, a figure which is unlikely to be beaten before the whole fleet is safely moored at the Boston Harbor Hotel. Moving into the lead on the morning of day 3, Yann had taken advantage of a rough downwind night to make his move - there was no questioning his ease in wet, wild and windy conditions, or the sheer power of his Finot-Conq designed monohull. His northern option two days later proved costly in terms of miles, and Generali got stuck into it like race favourite Michel Desjoyeaux... managing to gain south despite the complex weather pattern, Elies nevertheless held on, dealt with his own fatigue and his boat’s efforts with lucidity.

Quotes from the dockside

"I really wanted that third place, I felt it was mine, a result like that on such a mythical event is something! That’s why I’ve been stressed since I discovered my spreader problem, I spent the last day and a half worrying about a possible loss of the mast. Moreover, the wind died completely tonight when I was approaching the line, and it took me ages to get here, it felt like a typical windless Figaro finish!

The best moment in the race will remain that incredible battle between me and Vincent Riou under full main and big spinnaker in 30 knots of wind - I didn’t think it was possible to carry that kind of sail in such a strong breeze, it was very exciting but at first quite scary, I have to admit that. I also loved reaching at full speed the first night things got rough, because that’s what the boat has been designed for, and I’m particularly at ease in those conditions: you only have to hang in there, listen to the boat and be careful, and let the power speak out.

Of course the worst part was discovering the spreader problem, I really thought I was going to dismast at first. My technical team told me I had to take two reefs in and use the staysail, which was quite frustrating in 10 knots of wind... I tried to convince them to let me use a bit more, but there was just no way! There was no real direct pressure behind me, but still when I got parked I couldn’t refrain from wondering where my pursuer was. All in all, the great thing is that we see that the potential of the boat is very satisfactory, we can play on equal terms with the opposition in light airs and we’re very fast when the breeze is stong.

Tonight, I’m just happy, it’s as simple as that"


1- Gitana Eighty (Loick Peyron) 03:15:35 GMT 24.5.08 12d 11h 45m 35s
2- Brit Air (Armel Le Cleac’h) 08:28:40 GMT 24.5.08 12d 19h 28m 40s
3- Generali (Yann Elies) 04:00:22 GMT 24/05/08 13 D 15H 00 MN 22 S

Also in this section

The Artemis Transat : Historic achievement for Loïck Peyron in Boston

The Artemis Transat : Vincent Riou abandons ship

The Artemis Transat : Mike Golding fired the starting gun

Vendée Globe : Seb Josse’s Open 60 officially launched in London

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