At 1252 hrs today (Wednesday 11th November), Vincent Riou and Sébastien Col won the 2015 Transat Jacques Vabre, adding their name to the list of winners after an exceptional edition, which saw the first battle between the new IMOCA monohulls and those from the previous generation. They fully deserved this win after a transatlantic race they took control of from start to finish. It is a victory for a boat that is perfectly adapted to racing. It also marks a fine victory for Vincent and Sébastien, who had never sailed together until a few months before tackling the Atlantic.
During the seventeen days of racing, the duo on PRB never gave up an inch after setting off from Le Havre. Vincent and Sébastien found the perfect route with a series of tactical choices keeping the pressure up ion their rivals. In particular, they found themselves in a battle against Banque Populaire VIII skippered by Armel Le Cléac’h and Erwan Tabarly and Groupe Queguiner sailed by Yann Eliès and Charlie Dalin, a battle that raged all the way across the Atlantic.
© Benoît Stichelbaut / PRBThis second win in a row for Vincent in the Transat Jacques Vabre comes after a perfect season for the winner of the 2004 Vendée Globe. With the boat he launched in 2010, he has asserted himself in every race against the newer IMOCAs, the foiling IMOCAs like Banque Populaire, but also against the 60-foot boats from the same generation. Taking on board one of the top match racers, Sébastien Col, he didn’t make any mistakes. Winner of the Artemis Challenge and the Rolex Fastnet Race, Vincent and Sébastien brought their complementary skills together to dominate this transatlantic race. Vincent Riou: “It was a great contest, as in the end, our rivals never allowed us to ease off. Before yesterday morning, they were always within 35 miles of us.”
Vincent and Sébastien had this goal in mind from the start in Le Havre. They were of course, up there among the favourites, but the two sailors stressed their goal was to avoid any damage to their boat in the heavy seas in the first 36 hours of racing. They were cautious but confident in the ability of their boat to ward off the attacks of the more recent boats in the class. They knew where to place the cursor to ensure PRB made it through without letting Banque Populaire get away. The latter in strong winds and on calm seas appeared at ease in this race. Having to make do without their wind instruments from the first night of racing, Vincent and Sébastien had to sail for a long time using the age-old techniques, as they were unable to get any useful info at the nav desk. Without info concerning the wind strength and direction, their race was no easy matter, but they never gave anything away and as they entered the Doldrums, put the pressure on Le Cleac’h / Tabarly.
© JEAN MARIE LIOT / DPPIAfter making it out of this area in the lead, Vincent and Sébastien found the perfect strategy to keep their opponents at a reasonable distance. They spent the last few days of the race at the helm of PRB and showed utter determination, reading perfectly the weather conditions, which were more favourable for their monohull.
Vincent Riou, skipper de PRB: “We’re pleased as this was no easy matter to finish in one piece. We can’t remember what we thought when we set off, but we do know that we wanted to remain cautious and that the first part of the race with all its dangers was going to be a key element. We knew we had to make it through and be at the front at the Azores. We managed to do that and after that we built upon that success. I think everything went to plan. With Seb, we worked well together. Honestly, it all worked out well for us."