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A look back at the genesis of this Atlantic return race reserved for the Class40

Born from the dual desire of Guadeloupeans and Rochelle residents to organise, for Class40 yachts that have chosen to winter in the West Indies, a transatlantic sporting event from West to East, the Guadeloupe > Horta > La Rochelle Atlantic Challenge brought together 2019 all the ingredients of adventure and discovery cherished by sailors. Rare are the crossings in the race from West to East, and it is a great first for the Guadeloupe Region, a major partner of the event, to see a race leave from its archipelago towards the metropolis!

Its two-stage journey, punctuated by a neutralization in Horta in the Azores archipelago, launched 11 competing crews on a major exploration of the North Atlantic weather systems, organized around the Azorean high pressures.

Its format, with a free crew of two to four members, offers many skippers the opportunity to share the adventure with other men (and women) of the sea who are close to them. In the end, the Class40 once again demonstrates its great adaptability and its great openness in the way it approaches ocean racing.

This Défi Atlantique is a smart way to bring our boats back to Europe after the Route du Rhum-Destination Guadeloupe and the Caribbean 600” declared Halvard Mabire, President of the Class40. “More seriously, and from a sporting point of view, we are offered two half-Transats, with a first section of around 2,200 miles towards the Azores, and the always delicate negotiation in this season of its high pressure. Between Bermudian depressions and high pressures of the North Atlantic, the choices and lengths of the route, as well as the sailing speeds can vary drastically, and thus open up the game and the competition. And needless to say, the last 1,200 miles to La Rochelle are also interesting to follow: “Avoiding depressions may force runners to lengthen their route considerably, perhaps to the south of Ireland. As we have seen in previous races starting in Horta, the game will be very open for the final sprint,” explained Denis Hugues, race director of the Défi Atlantique Guadeloupe > Horta > La Rochelle.

Back to the important dates of this first edition:

- Presence of boats at the Dock in Pointe-à-Pitre from Tuesday, March 19, 2019.

- Departure of the Défi Atlantique Guadeloupe > Horta > La Rochelle on Saturday March 23, 2019 at 11 a.m. (i.e. 4 p.m. in mainland France)

- Re-departure from Horta to the Azores on Monday April 8, 2019 at 1:00 p.m.

- ETA arrival in La Rochelle on Saturday 13 and Sunday 14 April 2019

- Prize giving on Monday, April 15, 2019

Team Aïna Enfance et Avenir, Earendil and Made in Midi, podium of the first edition of 2019.

With the Rochelaise arrival in the night in second position of the second stage, between Horta and La Rochelle, Aymeric Chappellier won this first Atlantic Challenge based on the cumulative race times over the two routes from Pointe-à-Pitre. Second in the Route du Rhum last November, Aymeric this time slips into the shoes of the winner, on an original event that was close to his heart. The order established from the first stage will not have been sufficiently altered by the second stage to modify the podium of the event. Aïna Enfance et Avenir wins, ahead of Earendil and Made in Midi after a first edition that met all expectations!

Aymeric Chapelier (Aïna Enfance et Avenir) – Winner of the first stage, 2nd in the second stage, winner overall.

“It’s true, I wanted this victory! Our opponents were tough and didn't give up. We end up very close to them. This race was very tiring. The loss of our large spinnaker, which exploded in a crash on the second day, put a lot of strain on us. We spent hours fixing it, once, twice, three times. We alternated at the bar and the repair, to the detriment of sleep. We had to whip to stay in the game. We finished very close to Earendil who sailed very well. This race format is great. It's good to do a transatlantic from West to East, which opens up the game a lot, very interesting strategically. And it's better to come back by sea than by cargo, isn't it? Yes, I am very happy to bring back this victory and to arrive home…”

Antoine Carpentier (Earendil) – Second in the first stage, winner of the second stage, 2nd overall overall.

“We come out dead last from Faial in the Azores, after a bad option on the coast. We worked hard to get back into the game. We were very close to the front and we feared that, as for the first stage, it would go in front. In fact, in this race, everyone was coming from behind, and we were under pressure all the time. We had some great days, including one not very far from the record for distance covered in 24 hours (368 miles editor's note). We have always been on the right timing and we have not made any mistakes. I discovered Pietro (Luciani), who impressed me because he has only been doing this job for a few years. Edouard Marie was as usual, terribly combative. We are really happy to have won this second stage… It was important to us!”

Kito de Pavant (Made in Midi) – Third in the first stage, third in the second stage, 3rd overall overall.

“A second leg which was fast at the start and which then closed on the Bay of Biscay. A bit of a habit on this Défi Atlantique where we finish upwind… It was nice to fight with the five boats in front and especially with Aïna who we found quite quickly. We did the whole race together… Suddenly it was him in front, suddenly it was us. We had a big connection problem, which meant that we had no more weather forecasts, no more rankings for three days... It was difficult to follow, we no longer knew where to go. But we are happy to maintain this 3rd place. That was the goal set from Horta and voila, it's done...because behind it was growing a little! We had a great time together with Alex in any case. »

Podium of the first Atlantic Challenge Guadeloupe > Horta > La Rochelle 2019:

1st – Aïna Childhood and future – Aymeric Chappellier

Its overall race time over the two stages from Pointe à Pitre, i.e. 3,800 theoretical miles, is 15 days, 03 hours, 42 minutes and 48 seconds, at an average of 9.67 knots.

2nd – Earendil - Catherine Pourre / Pietro Luciani

Its overall race time over the two stages from Pointe à Pitre is 15 days, 12 hours, 24 minutes and 15 seconds, at an average of 9.44 knots.

3rd - Made in Midi – Kito de Pavant

Its overall race time over the two stages from Pointe-à-Pitre is 16 days, 13 hours, 22 minutes and 05 seconds, at an average of 8.85 knots.

4th - Campaign of France - Miranda Merron

16 days 21 hours 09 minutes and 47 seconds

5th - Enel Green Power - Andrea Fantini

16 days 21 hours 20 minutes and 07 seconds

6th - Athena Groupe Immobilier / Mer Entreprendre - Arthur Hubert and Thibault Hector

17 days 05 hours 57 minutes and 02 seconds

7th - Colombre XL - Charles-Louis Mourruau

17 days 14 hours 48 minutes and 27 seconds

8th - Edenred - Emmanuel Le Roch

17 days 21 hours 20 minutes and 42 seconds

9th - Yoda - Franz Bouvet

18 days 07 hours 35 minutes and 23 seconds

10th - Scout Spirit - Marc Dubos

18 days 14 hours 11 minutes and 38 seconds

11th - Tibco - Loic Fequet

21 days 01 hour 57 minutes and 53 seconds

Abandonment - Lamotte Creation Module - Luke Berry

Grand Pavois Organization would like to thank all the partners present around this first edition with the Guadeloupe Region, the City of La Rochelle, the Agglomeration Community of La Rochelle, Horta Nautic (Azores), the Port de Plaisance de La Rochelle , The Grand Port Maritime of La Rochelle, the Department of La Charente-Maritime without forgetting the Class40 and the FFVoile.

Photos: O. Blanchet and P. Garenne / GPO


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