A single prologue, but contested as a team
With the big start just a week away, the “Transat Jacques Vabre – Trophée Laguna” prologues were due to take place at Le Havre this weekend. Saturday saw the 60-foot Imoca class and therefore Gitana Eighty in action, while Gitana 11 and the other Orma 60-foot multihulls were supposed to have been in action on the Sunday. Sensing that poor weather conditions might force the multihulls to remain in harbour, Gitana Team general manager Loïck Peyron, the skipper of Gitana Eighty, brought together a large part of his team to contest this first event.

Beneath low and foggy skies and a light wind of 10 knots, the 60-foot Imoca-class monohulls, with the 40-foot class close behind, came together in the Seine estuary to compete over a course of around eight miles. It amounted to the first big test for the team's brand-new Gitana Eighty, as its crew for the Transat, Loïck Peyron and Jean Baptiste Le Vaillant, continue with the final adjustments during these “warm-up” sessions.

What was important on Saturday,” Loïck Peyron explains, “was to share these moments with Lionel Lemonchois and Yann Guichard, the crew of Gitana 11, the other boat being entered in the transat by our owner Benjamin de Rothschild. I also wanted to bring on board some of the technical team who have expended so much time and energy to get this new monohull ready for the start of the race. The days before the start of these big races are always important times and experiencing them together as a team is most important of all.

At the end of just over an hour's hotly disputed racing, it was the new boats – of which there are many due to line up at the start of the Transat – that took the lion's share of the spoils. Gitana Eighty and her expanded crew, meanwhile, finished in 4th position.

On the Sunday morning, following confirmation from Météo France of a warning of south to south-westerly winds blowing 25 to 30 knots in the Channel area, the decision was indeed made to cancel the multihull prologue, so as not to subject the boats and their sailors to any unnecessary risks on the eve of the race.

Crew for the "Transat Jacques Vabre – Trophée Laguna prologue"

Loïck Peyron
Jean-Baptiste Le Vaillant
Lionel Lemonchois
Yann Guichard
Jean Le Huérou-Kérisel
Yann Le Govic
Antoine Mermod
William Fabulet
Ludovic Aglaor

IMOCA 60-foot class

1. Safran - Marc Guillemot et Charles Caudrelier
2. Ecover - Mike Golding et Bruno Dubois
3. Foncia - Michel Desjoyeaux et Emmanuel Le Borgne
4. Gitana Eighty - Loïck Peyron et Jean-Baptiste Le Vaillant
5. Groupe Bel - Kito de Pavant et Sébastien Col
6. Artémis - Jonny Malbon et Graham Tourell
7. VM Matériaux - Jean Le Cam et Gildas Morvan
8. Cheminées Poujoulat - Bernard Stamm et Tanguy Cariou

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