Gwénolé Gahinet and Paul Meilhat crossed the finish line on Monday April 28 to win the 12th edition of La Transat AG2R LA MONDIALE, a transatlantic regatta that takes place every two years on identical Figaro Bénéteau II monohull sailboats.
The winning pair aboard Safran / Guy Cotten completed the course from Concarneau, in Brittany, France to the finish line in Saint Barth, via an obligatory buoy in La Palma, Canary Islands in 22d 6h 17m 59s.
“It’s a dream come true! We believed we could do it before setting sail, but from there to actually win, considering the high level of talent in the fleet this year, it’s quite extraordinary,” admits Gahinet, who was interviewed on the dock after celebrating with the traditional spray of champagne.
Fabien Delahaye and Yoann Richomme, aboard Skipper Macif, sailed across the line 1h 6m 53s later for second place. Behind them, a superb duel developed for third place between Alexia Barrier and Laurent Pellecuer aboard 30 Corsaires and Roland Jourdain and Martin Le Pape’s La Cornouaille. Approaching the port of Gustavia, they put on a thrilling display of match racing, skillfully tacking around the boats anchored in the harbor. Barrier and Pellecuer maintained an 87s lead over their adversaries to claim a place on the podium.
Sadly, the sailors who took the northern route across the Atlantic—a poor choice as they suffered from a serious lack of wind—did not arrive until Wednesday morning. Those opting for the northern route included famous French ocean racing sailors Michel Desjoyeaux, who won this race in 1992, sailing this year with Corentin Horeau on the boat Bretagne Crédit Mutuel Performance, and Jean le Cam, also a former winner, sailing with Gildas Mahé aboard Interface Concept. Having taken the northern route, they could onlywatch as their lead passed to those who headed south.
The 2014 edition of the event came to a close on the evening of May 1st with the arrival of the last boat—Mathieu Forbin and Arthur Prat’s Guadeloupe Grand Large 1. They had been at sea for 25d 13h 14m 29s to cover the 3,890 nautical miles to Saint Barthélémy.
On the evening of Friday May 1st, all the boats having arrived, the awards ceremony was held on the main dock in Gustavia.