Safran takes the lead

«Am I really in the lead? I hadn't seen the positions. You just taught me something! That's great news! I'm pleased. I did say that the result wasn't my first goal (which remains finishing in order to qualify for the Vendée Globe, editor's note) and if I have done what was required to push the boat forward, I have not however pushed her too hard… I'm going to have to put up with that !», Marc Guillemot was right to be joking around this morning on board Safran.

In a good spirit
Just 24 hours after the start from Bahia yesterday, and already Safran, heeled over, is leading the fleet of fifteen single-handed yachtsmen, with her skipper walking on the compartments, as sailors say. «We're sailing upwind, and out on the deck everything is getting wet, and she is slamming into some of the waves, as the seas are choppy. To move around I could do with some shoes which stick to the deck.» In the Brazilian heat, the skipper from La Trinité was in great form. He admitted he had spent a fine first night and joked: «Talking about the night is going to be easy, as I didn't see a thing, as I was busy sleeping !» Was he exaggerating ? «O.K. That is not entirely true… but it's not completely a lie either. I discovered that the bunk was very well adjusted! I managed to get some rest after the first few hours of racing.» And after the first changes of tack «which are always tiring, as you certainly wouldn't get bored on this boat.»

Upwind all the way to the doldrums?
First by a nose this morning - with the lead extended to 1.6 miles over Bernard Stamm (Cheminées Poujoulat) at 14h00 and 3.80 miles over Desjoyeaux (Foncia) - Marc Guillemot was sailing within sight of Bernard Stamm, Michel Desjoyeaux, Loïck Peyron (Gitana Eighty) «and probably also Brit'Air (Armel Le Cléac'h) and Groupe Bel (Kito de Pavant) that I believe I caught a glimpse of.» Sailing upwind in headwinds reaching twenty knots during the night, Safran was making headway up the coast of Brazil. «At the moment I have eighteen knots of wind and am reaching speeds of around 10 or 11 knots,» explained Marc Guillemot, who was certainly far from angry about not having to change his foresail during the night. So, he is feeling fine, even if, of course, «it is just the start of the race and there is a long way to go.» - 4000 miles to cover to reach the finish in Port-la-Forêt, which he should reach in around a fortnight.

All down to speed
What next? «Until we reach the Doldrums, there shouldn't be many changes, and we will be looking for speed and trying to set the sails correctly. I studied the trimming and worked on it with Charles (Caudrelier) during the Transat Jacques Vabre. That way, I learnt very quickly and the fact that Charles was in charge of that on board the boat saved me a lot of time.»

Well done, Francis!
To finish, Marc could not miss out on congratulating Francis Joyon, who is also based in La Trinité and who is currently on the IDEC trimaran trying to break the single-handed round the world record. Last night he smashed all the records for the run from Brest – the Equator: «He got to the Equator in six days? Two days ahead of the time set by Ellen (MacArthur). That's great ! Wonderful ! Well done! It's what we have come to expect of Francis.» Down in La Trinité, they can be proud of such sailors. With Marc Guillemot working miracles and Francis Joyon setting off fireworks, Christmas has come early to the Breton port. At the 14h rankings, Safran was still in the lead…

Friday 30th November 2007

The Transat Ecover B to B could hardly have begun in better style for Marc Guillemot : in the rankings at 10h 00 and 14h 00, Safran was in the lead ahead of Bernard Stamm (Cheminées Poujoulat) and Michel Desjoyeaux (Foncia) !