A huge, noisy Costa Rican welcome greeted Franck Yves Escoffier (FRA) and Erwan
Le Roux (FRA), co skippers of the Crêpes Whaou when they emerged out of the
Caribbean darkness, comprehensively winning the Multi 50 class and taking line
honours for this ninth edition of the Transat Jacques Vabre race which started
from Le Havre on Sunday 8th November.
Emerging out of the darkness to break the finish line off the historic port town of
Peurto Limon at 2231hrs local time Monday 23rd (0431hrs UTC/GMT Tuesday) the French
duo with their new build Crêpes Whaou! 3, only launched in August, maintained
Escoffier's unbeaten record in this biannual classic, also scooping the IMOCA Open
60's to take line honours for the third consecutive time.
Escoffier and Le Roux took 15 days, 15 hours, 31 minutes and 50 seconds to complete
the course which took the Multi 50 fleet south of Barbados on a course which for
the winning pair was 5805 miles, which they completed at an average speed of 13.41
The new destination for the coffee route race, finishing in Costa Rica, served up a
carnival greeting for the winners, Escoffier remarking immediately that without
doubt the high point of their race was the warmth of finish. Sailing with Le Roux,
a successful former Mini 650 Class 40 and multihull sailor who has completed two
previous Transat Jacques Vabre races, the pair chose a prudent southerly routing to
avoid the very worst of a very active depression before then building a big lead
over their Multi50 Class rivals.
Asked about the memories, the key moments, Escoffier said
"You have to start with this finish, the arrival here has been an
extraordinary reception. We have seen some great welcomes but here in Peurto Limon
between the fireworks and the whole world out to greet us on the dock, that was a
great moment. But so, too the start was interesting too. There is always a build up
of adrenalin you need pumping as a competitor, and I felt like we made the
strongest start of the Multi 50's. And a strong memory yesterday when we just
from tipping the boat over. It was not funny. Erwan, who is younger than me really
had to rein me in from time to time. We can smile looking back..."
On the subject of the Class 50, and asked if they did not feel out on a limb
without much competition in the end, Escoffier explained:
" We are about to succeed in making it (the Multi 50) take off with the new
boats in the class. Unfortunately the two other newest boats are not at the finish
too. We missed competition a little, but we should not forget Guyader pour Urgence
Climatique who are a good crew. In the multihull there is not much to teach them,
but they lack the finance to have a boat like Crêpes Whaou! And it would be
good if they could find it. And I hope that before I leave this class there
will be a proper class of boats like ours. But the objective was always, as well to
beat the IMOCA Open 60's in and we pushed hard to do that."