SALVADOR DE BAHIA, Brazil–Yannick Bestaven could scarcely believe his good fortune when he crossed the finishing line almost 30 minutes ahead of Brian Thompson. Thompson had led the final leg for the last 10 days, sometimes by as much as 50 miles, but it was the northerly route into the finish that reaped handsome dividends for Bestaven in Aquarelle.com.
Bestavens triumph in this race was complete, he had also won the first leg, from La Rochelle to Lanzarotte, by almost two hours, and his win on this 2,900-mile leg didnt give another sailor a chance to depose him from the top spot on the podium. “Its incredible,” he said. “I only knew that I was the first to Bahia once I had crossed the finish line. I was sure that Brian was in front of me. I am amazed that after 20 days at sea, just a few minutes separate the first two.”
The race organisers have confirmed the top-three overall finishers as Yannick Bestaven in Aquarelle.com, Simon Curwen in QDS from Britain, second, and in third place, Arnaud Boissiers in another Aquarelle.com, the sistership of the winner.
“Its still a little hard to believe,” said an elated Curwen. His position makes him the highest placed British sailor in the history of the French-dominated Mini Transat. His fifth place on this leg was sufficiently far ahead of Samuel Manuard in Tip Top and Boissiers to give him a better elapsed time than either of them who had beaten him on the first leg.
Samantha Davies on Aberdeen Asset Management was first woman to finish, in thirteenth place, closely followed by Jeanne Gregoire in the third Aquarelle.com and she looks likely to be confirmed as overall woman winner. A few hours passed before Karen Leibovici was next home. Her determination sees her take second woman overall with Davies third.