Gitana Eighty continues its faultless performance in the Record SNSM
After setting out from Saint Nazaire on Sunday at 1735 UT, the fleet of Imoca 60 footers made it back into the Loire Estuary this Tuesday morning. Crossing the finish line at 0544'07'' UT, Loïck Peyron and his four crew – Cyril Dardashti, Antoine Mermod, Didier Le Vourc'h and Sébastien Thétiot – add the Record SNSM to Gitana Eighty's list of wins. The monohull in the colours of the LCF Rothschild Group covered the 360 miles of the course in 1 day 12 hours 9 minutes and 7 seconds, completing yet another performance to reinforce Gitana Eighty's domination, unbeaten since last winter.

This year, for the fourth edition of the Record SNSM, the seven participating 60 foot monohulls had to perform two return trips between Saint Nazaire and Sainte Marine, in southern Finistère, NW France. It was a tactical course which left the way clear for a fiercely contested race, with frequent jockeying for position. It was a particularly tight race, as the minimal separation at the finish bore witness. Gitana Eighty stood out with a 32 minute lead over the runner up, VM Matériaux, whilst Cheminées Poujoulat and Delta Dore were neck and neck right up to the finish. In the end it was the Swiss sailor Stamm and his crew who completed the podium for the Record SNSM.

A few minutes after the finish, Loïck Peyron gave us a rundown of the race: “After what was a fairly average start on Sunday we were slightly behind but our first descent from Sainte Marine towards Saint Nazaire enabled us to make up some ground and overtake a fair number of our playmates. Yesterday, we did very well weaving our way along, particularly at the approach to Belle-Ile and on the passage of Ile de Groix. The move proved decisive. 2nd at the midway mark, during our passage at the entrance to the Loire Estuary yesterday, we kept gaining ground on Paprec- Virbac before getting ahead of them at the exit from the Baie de Quiberon. However, our lead really got a boost off Lorient when Jean-Pierre Dick, skipper of the latter, and his crew opted to pass beneath Groix (round the outside) and that cost them dearly. Aboard Gitana Eighty, we went for the other option, namely passing between the mainland and the island. That appeared to me to be a better option both in terms of the weather and the currents. The scenario as we exited Groix proved we'd made the right choice as we saw them downwind of us and we had a good lead. The second descent towards Saint Nazaire was concerned with controlling and optimising our speed and trajectory” commented the sailor from La Baule on France's Atlantic coast, before adding: “There was a steady pace throughout the 36 hours of racing. We had five crew aboard Gitana Eighty (compared with six on the majority of the other boats), so there was always a fair amount of work on deck. You have to be on top of things in order to get the most out of the various weather phenomena and not cut down on the manœuvres… That's what we did! The race was complicated in terms of strategy but very pleasant in terms of navigation: a medium breeze alternating with upwind sailing and reaching, the whole thing coloured by glorious sunshine… we couldn't have hoped for better! This victory is reassuring on a number of levels” concluded Loïck Peyron.

The fourth victory in a row for the monohull in the colours of the LCF Rothschild Group… Since his first place in the Transat BtoB last December, the skipper of Gitana Eighty has remains unbeaten in the Imoca circuit. A precious confidence boost with less than five months to go to the start of the Vendée Globe.

From Monday onwards, Gitana Eighty will be welcoming her sistership – Paprec Virbac 2 – to La Trinité-sur-Mer for a unique training session. Despite working together since the genesis of their respective projects, Loïck Peyron and Jean-Pierre Dick will be sailing side by side for the first time. At the end of this training session, the monohull equipped by Baron Benjamin de Rothschild will be lifted out of the water for her final winter yard.

The crew of Gitana Eighty on the Record SNSM: Loïck Peyron (Skipper), Cyril Dardashti, Antoine Mermod, Didier Le Vourc'h, Sébastien Thétiot

The Imoca ranking for the Record SNSM
1. Gitana Eighty (Loïck Peyron), finished on Tuesday 24th June at 0544'07'' UT
2. VM Matériaux (Jean Le Cam), finished at 0616'12'' UT
3. Cheminées Poujoulat (Bernard Stamm), finshed  0627'20'' UT
4. Delta Dore (Jérémie Beyou), finished 0630'22'' UT
5. Foncia (Michel Desjoyeaux), finished at 0649'27'' UT
6. Paprec-Virbac (Jean-Pierre Dick), finished at 0703'43'' UT
7. Ecover (Mike Golding), finished at 0711' UT

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