After arriving last night to a second place finish in Brazil, Armel Le Cléac’h, co-skipper Banque Populaire VIII, reflected on the race: ” We are super happy, one that we finished the race and two that we were playing to win. We did not lack for much. We were beaten by a stronger team. And we are a great team together. We have a great boat. Certainly we were in the running, there was a lot of fixing to do but that comes with a boat which has showed a great performance at times.
There is of course a bit of disappointment because we would have loved to win. We were leading at the entrance to the Doldrums. But we had some bad clouds which between that and a squall before the Doldrums lost us 35 miles. But it was close after that. We lacked a bit of speed when the trade winds were not so powerful along the Brazilian coast. So it was a bit frustrating to see PRB keep the lead. But they have sailed well, they have this course taped.
Foils? We will keep them. We are super happy. We discussed them a lot. There are times when they worked well and others when we were not so good. But Banque Populaire VIII was launched six months ago and PRB has been sailing for five years. We still have a lot of room for improvements. We learned a lot from this race. There is plenty of work to do before the Vendée Globe. Comparisons with conventional boats does not yield definitive answers. And they will have to decide quickly because these boats go back in the water in the Spring.”
Erwan Tabarly, the other co-skipper of Banque Populaire VIII also added his thoughts to the mic “There is still some time before Banque Populaire VIII is fully efficient at all speeds. For now, there are still holes in the performance, but the future will happen with the foils. Although today there are still gaps between the foilers and classic.
Like everyone else we had repairs but we had no major concerns. The first depression we managed get through without problems on the boat. Anything that happened to us we could repair relatively quickly. It took us some time but there was nothing serious.
It was a great experience for me since it was my first Transat Jacques Vabre and racing an IMOCA monohull, I’ve realized that they are demanding boats: the sails are heavy and you make loads of sail changes. But it goes very quickly: we have seen the speedo up to 29 knots several times! But it’s very physical. “
This report has been translated from French by the Transat Jacques Vabre media team.