At the end of a breathtaking regatta, Yann Eliès and Charlie Dalin, aboard the all-new Apivia monohull, won the Transat Jacques-Vabre in the Imoca flagship class on Saturday night in Salvador de Bahia (Brazil).
"We are happy, we are moved," said Charlie Dalin, on his arrival at night at the marina of the port of Salvador de Bahia, where the two sailors were greeted with a basket of fruits and two caipirinhas to the rhythm of a local percussion group.
The tandem cut the finish line at 21:23 local time (1:23 French time), after a 13-day, 12-hour and 8-minute crossing from Le Havre.
"We arrived at night, under the lights of the city and the sound of Brazilian music, it was a beautiful moment after thirteen days at sea," said the skipper Le Havre Charlie Dulin, at the microphone of France 24.
"As a Le Havre, it was a very important race for me: I grew up with it, it contributed to my passion for racing offshore ... Being a skipper of this incredible boat and winning, I could not have to dream as far as that in my youth, "he said.
Dalin and Elies delighted the pair of favorites, Jérémie Beyou and Christopher Pratt, aboard the Charal black foiler. These last ones made the expenses of the Doldrums, this area above the equator dreaded by sailors because of its changeable winds and difficult to predict.
Entered the area with 130 nautical miles ahead of Apivia, Charal emerged after three days with ... 350 miles behind.
"A Drab Pot-au-Noir"
"There was a Dwarf Pot-au-Noir, I think I'll remember that for a long time," Charlie Dalin insisted.
"We thought of Charal, we thought about Jérémie [Beyou] and Christopher [Pratt] because they had a great race," added Yann Eliès. "It hurt for them, that's for sure."
Jérémie Beyou also admitted a few days ago that this passage of the Doldrums had been "really terrible, one of the worst moments of my career".
Charal remains in the fight for 2nd place, with the PRB duo Kevin Escoffier / Nicolas Lunven.
Dalin and Eliès "had a great race," said Antoine Mermod, president of the Imoca class, the 18-meter boats also competing in the Vendée-Globe, the iconic race around the world alone and without assistance, the ninth edition of which will start in just one year.
"At first, they left quite cautiously, they did not try to pull too much on the boat, and then as they got caught up in the regatta game," he analyzed during a race. interview with AFP.
Yann Eliès, 45, had already won the Jacques-Vabre, with Jean-Pierre Dick (St Michel - Virbac), in this same category at the last edition of the race, in 2017. The navigator from Saint-Brieuc, winner of three Solitaire du Figaro, had also won the Transat in 2013 in the category of multihulls.
For skipper Charlie Dalin, 35, this is the second participation, after a first crossing in 2015, with Yann Eliès already. They were then on the 3rd step of the podium after an extremely hot race.