French duo win Transat Jacques Vabre race


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French duo Jean-Pierre Dick and Jérémie Beyou in the 60-foot Virbac-Paprec won the doublehanded Transat Jacques Vabre race from Le Havre to Puerto Limon, Costa Rica.

They had led the 13-strong fleet almost from start to finish after the start was delayed by three days to avoid storm force winds. But they were chased all the way by the Anglo-Spanish pairing of Alex Thomson and Guillermo Altadil in Hugo Boss. The other British skipper, Mike Golding, with Franco-Canadian partner Bruno Dubois, was lying last, in Gamesa, of the nine surviving 60-footers.

Earlier this year Dick notched up back-to-back wins in the Barcelona doublehanded non-stop round the world race and in the 10th TJV he set a new record of 15 days 18hrs 15min and 54 secs, just an hour and seven minutes inside the old record.

Apart from early problems with the water ballast and the keel ram Dick and Beyou had a relatively trouble-free run. “We did not hold back,” said Dick with Thomson adding “we think we’ve done a good job.”

All four of the six remaining boats on the first leg of the Volvo round the world race from Alicante to Cape Town are now south of the equator with the lead changing back to Spain’s Iker Martinez in Telefonica ahead of America’s Kenny Read in Puma.

The second Spanish entry, Camper, skippered by Team New Zealand’s Chris Nicholson, is still paying the price of switching from a southerly to a westerly route two days after the start and is over 150 miles behind Telefonica but the man who stuck with the southerly option along the African coast, Franck Cammas, is a day behind the leading three in Groupama.

The problem ahead is an unusual configuration to the South Atlantic high pressure zone. The route south to the westerlies is longer than usual, any attempt to cut across is very risky.