A key point in the IMOCA Class’ calendar is announcing its new World Champion. This time the annual title goes to 32 year old Armel le Cleac’h. He shares the IMOCA Championship podium with Marc Guillemot and Michel Desjoyeaux, exactly the same podium as the Vendée Globe, but the reverse way round. Armel, skipper of Brit Air, has won his place by finishing second in both the Artemis Transat and the Vendée Globe. The Vendée Globe obviously carries the maximum points in the championship, and all 12 sailors that completed it will be rewarded accordingly. This year the top ten rankings is made up of 5 French skippers, 4 Brits and 1 American. Amongst them will be Sam Davies in 4th place who was the first Brit and first woman to finish the race.
So at the age of 32, since winning the ‘Solitaire du Figaro’ in 2003, Armel has gradually but convincingly established himself on the IMOCA circuit. He is hoping to add to this recent accolade by winning the 2009 Transat Jacques Vabre.
Armel Le Cleac’h commented on winning :
« We are really happy! This title goes to the whole team who have worked together since the start of the project. Consistency reaps rewards. The whole way through the project our main aim was always to have a really good Vendée Globe and to finish in the best possible place we could. We’ve finished second in the two greatest solo races on the circuit. That proves that we got our timing right, and had the right approach, even if we were denied an actual win. As far as the boat’s concerned, we got it right, as at no point have we had to make any major modifications after any of the races. I’m also really pleased that my sponsor Brit Air has made it as IMOCA World Champion after only three years in sailing. I’d like to finish by saying that it’s a great podium, I’m just in front of Marc who has vast experience and has one of the best boats and then obviously there is the winner of the Vendée Globe, Michel Desjoyeaux himself. It goes without saying that (sharing the podium with them) gives me a lot of pleasure. I’m continuing this season with Brit Air and would really like to finish it off by winning the Transat Jacques Vabre for the first time. »
The 2008 IMOCA World Championship Top 10
1 Armel Le Cleac’h FRA 371
2 Marc Guillemot FRA 368
3 Michel Desjoyeaux FRA 351
4 Samantha Davies GBR 338
5 Vincent Riou FRA 316
6 Arnaud Boissieres FRA 290
7 Dee Caffari GBR 288
8 Brian Thompson GBR 260
9 Steve White GBR 256
10 Richard Wilson USA 226
The 2008 title is made up from the coefficients from the Vendée Globe (coef 10) and The Artemis Transat (coef 4).