Safran skipper Marc Guillemot left St. Bart's in the Transat B to B transatlantic race on December 5, 2011 at 3 pm (French time), under a light easterly wind blowing at 12 knots. Eight sailors set out single-handed on a transatlantic journey of 3,300 nautical miles, heading for the Breton port of Lorient in France.
Gearing up for the Vendée Globe
Safran and seven competitors, all candidates for the Vendée Globe round-the-world solo race, weighed anchor for this Transat B to B: Armel Le Cléac'h (Banque Populaire), Vincent Riou (PRB), Jean-Pierre Dick (Virbac-Paprec), Mike Golding (Gamesa), Alex Thomson (Hugo Boss), François Gabart (Macif) and Louis Burton (Bureau Vallée). While Safran and Marc Guillemot had already qualified for the Vendée Globe, this solo race was still an excellent way of preparing for the "maritime Mount Everest" challenge. It would prove to be even rougher then the skippers imagined, because of the daunting weather conditions.
Facing Hurricane Joachim, the Transat B to B organizers decided to shorten the route, drawing a finish line at the "safety gate" between the Azores and Portugal, to deal with the heavy storm taking shape in the Bay of Biscay.
François Gabart (Macif) won the race, ahead of Armel Le Cléac'h and Vincent Riou. Mike Golding of Britain finished fourth, followed by Safran and Marc Guillemot.
Safran arrives in Lorient
After a challenging return trip, Marc Guillemot reached the port of Lorient during the night of Saturday to Sunday, December 17-18, 2011, two and a half days after finishing fifth in the Transat B to B
Crossing the virtual finish line