Transat B to B: return race for Safran
Two weeks after the finish of the Transat Jacques Vabre, Marc Guillemot is already heading off again: on 5th December, he will be setting out alone in the second edition of the Transat B to B, to sail from St-Barts (French West Indies) to Lorient (Brittany). During his two weeks of well deserved rest in Costa Rica and in the French West Indies, the Safran Sailing Team has been hard at work preparing the 60' boat for this new race.
The team has been busy
Alex Marmorat and Patrick Jullien, the two members of the Safran Sailing Team sent with the parts that were needed to carry out repairs to the damaged steering system, and Thierry Brault, the team manager, have been hard at work in Puerto Limon repairing the steering system and loading the supplies on board. "The repair only took a few hours, "But we also changed the sails," explained Thierry Brault, "Marc wanted to keep his new sails in the best of shape for what lies ahead, as this race is for him the last big training race before the Vendée Globe." Once they had loaded up the supplies, Loïc Lingois, the boat captain, who was in charge of the delivery trip and two members of the team, Erwan Conan and Alex Marmorat, went aboard to sail Safran to St-Barts… With an extra passenger on board, Pierre Bourcier, the autopilot expert, who wanted to grab this opportunity to do a bit more work on his installation.
A rather rough crossing
The big grey and orange monohull entered the port of Gustavia (island of St Barts) on Wednesday 30th November, after 8 days and after sailing a distance of 1250 miles in the Caribbean. "No hint of sunshine, overcast weather as you would expect in the Southern Ocean and above all a series of squalls, which passed over on the radar screen…" the crew wrote in the log. The voyage saw changes from light winds to heavy squalls with winds in excess of thirty knots.
Getting ready for the Vendée Globe
Safran and seven other competitors, all contenders in the Vendée Globe, will be setting off in 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). This is a qualifying race for the Vendée Globe, but Safran and Marc Guillemot have already qualified. In this top class line-up, only two sailors will be trying to get their precious ticket for the round the world race: François Gabart and Louis Burton.
They will deserve it as the weather conditions over this 3300 mile voyage between St-Barts and Lorient can be very demanding at this time of year. "It's a bit like the north face of a mountain", warned Thierry Brault… and therefore an excellent way of preparing for the Everest of sailing. The eight sailors taking part should take between 13 and 16 days to reach Brittany in mid-winter, stepping ashore a few days before Christmas.
Marc Guillemot is back racing solo as he will be lining up for the start of the Transat B to B between St-Barts and Lorient. An excellent way to get in some solo training with a year to go to the Vendée Globe…