The sixteenth edition of the Transat Paprec (ex-ag2r), the first in mixed duets, is about to come to an end. Eighteen days after leaving Concarneau on 30 April, the head of the fleet is taking advantage this Thursday of the generous breath of the trade winds to glide at an average speed of 8-9 knots towards the West Indies and the island of Saint-Barthélemy where the winning crew should cross the line on Friday.
On the port of Gustavia where the mercury flirts with 35 degrees, everything is ready to welcome the sailors and the Figaro Bénéteau 3 (10 m monohull). The mooring lines are in position, just in front of the quay of the harbor master’s office where the race village stands. Relatives and families begin to disembark. The more the countdown scrolls, the more the order of arrival seems uncertain, the more the suspense swells.
Berrehar-Yven are 1.6 miles ahead of Horeau-Courtois
Some 150 miles away (277 km), the three contenders for victory are indeed within five miles! They are engaged in a final sprint which, despite the fatigue and the accumulated sleep debt, does not tolerate the slightest relaxation concerning the running of the boat, the settings, the analysis of the weather files, the observation of the clouds. The war of nerves, until the end!
In the 3 p.m. standings, this Thursday, the Loïs Berrehar and Charlotte Yven tandem regained a slight advantage at the helm of Skipper Macif. He is ahead of Corentin Horeau and Pauline Courtois (Mutuelle Bleue) by 1.6 miles and Gaston Morvan and Anne-Claire Le Berre (Brittany Region – CMB Performance), by 3.4 miles.
Two competitors are lying in ambush, Guillaume Pirouelle-Sophie Faguet (Normandy Region), 15 miles away, and Camille Bertel-Pierre Leboucher (Cap Ingélec), 19 miles away.
“We tear ourselves up to gain every meter, to fight against the sargum that makes life hard for us. It’s a real speed race, we give everything”
Loïs Berrehar in the lead with Charlotte Yven on Skipper Macif
The outcome could be played out at night, depending on the variations in the wind or in the early morning, at the tip of Colombier, which must be rounded before pulling a final tack towards Gustavia. “The difference can be made on the settings, the way of exploiting the clouds, the grains”, comments Yann Château, deputy race director.
“They will also have to manage the sargum (which they can release from the keel with a knotted rope) and small adjustments, he adds. We may also see a match-race final (dueling) a few hundred meters from the line. »
For Loïs Berrehar, this end of the race is “Completely crazy and not easy. We tear ourselves up to gain every meter, to fight against the Sargum which makes life difficult for us. It’s a real speed race, we give everything. We hope to finish on the top step of the podium. It’s going to be played with not much, except for a surf or a wave. »