Photo shows AGEAS, BALLAY, CERFRANCE, BAIE DE SAINT BRIEUC, (MAEL GARNIER, JULIA COURTOIS) Transat Paprec 2023 – at sea on 12/05/2023
Transat Paprec, a game of nerves until the finish
With just over 1000 nautical miles to the finish of the Transat Paprec race from Brittany to Saint Barths the margins between the top three boats are tiny and the battle of nerves is gradually intensifying. Skipper MACIF (Loïs Berrehar/Charlotte Yven) lead second placed Mutuelle Bleue (Corentin Horeau/Pauline Courtois) by 4.3 miles this Saturday afternoon and third placed Région Bretagne – CMB Performance (Gaston Morvan/Anne-Claire Le Berre) are a little more than seven miles behind the pacemakers.
"Over the last few hours we have been sailing in a south-easterly flow, in trade winds, and it looks like we are going to have a very fast leg towards Saint-Barthélemy. We just carry on the constant battle with the other two, sailing in sight of each other like a Solitaire du Figaro leg out here in the middle of the Atlantic. It seems a bit crazy. It feels just like a training day out from Port-La-Forêt. And this has been going on for 12 days, "said leader Loïs Berrehar on today's radio calls, "Of course it is cool to be in control of the standings again. Even though we lost the lead a while back we have been poised, ready to ambush the leaders at the first chance. Now, we will try to keep the lead until the finish. It's going to be a bit of a mental thing. It's a great race. We have to stay constantly fast until the finish. There will be a few little moves to make, gybes, variations in the strength of the trade wind and in the direction of the wind, which can open up the game a little. Until the finish, we will try to make the best use of the shifts in the wind and do everything to stay ahead! ".
Éric Péron, who had two podium finished on this renowned double-handed transatlantic route (2nd in 2012 with Erwan Tabarly, 3rd in 2008 with Miguel Danet) from eight races between 2004 and 2021 observes:
"Skipper MACIF, Mutuelle Bleue and Région Bretagne – CMB Performance have a clear advantage given the shifts that will come to them before the finish. It will be difficult for Région Normandie )in fourth at +24 miles) to get back in touch with the leading trio because there are no obvious shifts that might allow them to catch up. For me it is all pretty stable until the finish. There are no elements or phenomena that will greatly disturb the wind direction and flow. On the other hand, as always, there will be many little variations to exploit. They are not so noticeable on the GRIB files, of the order of 5 to 10 degrees."
The key, according to Péron: " The fine detail of the shifts these are often linked to squalls or simply intensity. I think you will have to work the fine detail, to really trust your electronics and really monitor the small changes in course to play these oscillations. And there is a psychological game too, when there are three boats racing so closely, almost in sight of each other, it is hard to break from the pack and gybe north for example. I think more or less they have decided to stick with the pack and not take the shifts."
Top five at 1700hrs BST Saturday 13th May 2023
1 Skipper MACIF (Loïs Berrehar/Charlotte Yven) 10770 miles to the finish
2 Mutuellle Bleue (Corentin Horeau/Pauline Courtois) + 4.3 miles
3 Région Bretagne CMB Performance (Gaston Morvan/Anne Claire le Berre) + 7.4 miles
4 Région Normandie (Guillaume Pirouelle/Sophie Faguet) + 25.4 nms
5 Cap Ingélec (Camille Bertel/Pierre Leboucher) +46.8 nms