On board with REGION BRETAGNE, CMB PERFORMANCE, GASTON MORVAN, ANNE CLAIRE LE BERRE - Transat Transat Paprec 2023 at sea 17/05/2023
Transat Paprec close to the finish in St. Barth
With just over 100 miles to the Transat Paprec off Gustavia, Saint Barthélemy the top three mixed- doubles duos are still less than two and a half miles apart as they head into what narrow leader Lois Berrëhar calls a 'totally crazy' final night at sea.
The final sprint to the line looks set to be a test of guile, nerves and determination. Maybe Berrehar has the mental advantage in having been the most regular leader of this race along with his Skipper MACIF partner Charlotte Yven, but also in having finished on the podium of the 2021 race, crossing third with last year's La Solitaire du Figaro champion Tom Laperche.
Tonight the Berrehar-Yven duo were credited once again with the race lead, but just two miles – or 15 minutes after 18 days racing - up on both Corentin Horeau and Pauline Courtois (Mutuelle Bleue) and Gaston Morvan and Anne-Claire Le Berre (Région Bretagne-CMB Performance). But Assistant Race Director Yann Chateau explained today that the trio are actually so closely matched that the tracking software package does not accurately determine the deltas. "In effect they are racing side by side, it is all but a dead heat at the moment"
Race Direction are suggesting a finish time Friday morning around 0900hrs French time, 0700hrs UTC.
(Follow the finish live in French on https://youtube.com/live/KGUcTdby0jM?feature=share)
"The first three are neck and neck. I think they will be like that until the Pointe à Colombier. It's like they were on the first leg of a windward-leeward race", highlighted Francis Le Goff Race Director this morning.
As well as the squally, shifty up-and-down breeze – most unsettled through the night – there is a lot of weed to contend with.
Berrëhar emphasized on the morning radio call: "The finish of this race is completely crazy and it's not easy! The final match is so very close, the suspense is high and the work rate is relentless. We get ourselves to breaking point up to gain every meter, to fight against the weed too that makes life hard for us. And it is a head to head speed race. We know we only have 24 hours left so we give it our all. The motivation, is of course, to finish on the top step of the podium. There is going to be nothing in it, one squall, one wave, one surf. And in the sky there are squalls to negotiate and there are no big plays left."
Top five at 1700hrs BST THURSDAY 18TH May 2023
1 Skipper MACIF (Loïs Berrehar/Charlotte Yven) 128.4 miles to finish
2 Mutuellle Bleue (Corentin Horeau/Pauline Courtois) +2.1 miles behind
3 Région Bretagne CMB Performance (Gaston Morvan/Anne Claire le Berre) +2.4 miles
4 Région Normandie (Guillaume Pirouelle/Sophie Faguet) + 17.1 miles
5 Cap Ingélec (Camille Bertel/Pierre Leboucher) + 21.7 miles