Koesio wins 2023 Pro Sailing Tour as Solidaires En Peloton – ARSEP takes Final Rush honours
Erwan Le Roux and his Koesio team have emerged as winners of the 2023 Pro Sailing Tour after a sometimes complex and challenging 1,650-mile ‘Final Rush’ leg from Alghero in the northwest of Sardinia to Brest in Brittany, France.
Erwan Le Roux and his crew of Audrey Ogereau and Devan Le Bihan finished second in the Pro Sailing Tour final rush, some 44 minutes behind Thibaut Vauchel-Camus racing Solidaires En Peloton – ARSEP after over six days at sea.
Luke Berry skippered Le Rire Médecin-Lamotte into third place on the leg which had finished with a 25 to 30 knot northeasterly and heavy seas.
Earlier in the leg, which had taken the fleet through the western Mediterranean and the Gibraltar Straits, then north around Cape Saint Vincent, the racers experienced lighter and variable winds requiring all their tactical skills.
Koesio’s victory on the first two legs of the Pro Sailing Tour saw Le Roux live up to his status as one of the pre-event favourites, and take the overall title.
“We had set ourselves the objective of winning the Pro Sailing Tour, so it’s a pleasure to have done so,” said Le Roux.
“We had some great racing in the Mediterranean, and even if we didn’t win this stage we set the pace and fought well with Solidaires En Peloton – ARSEP, Viabilis Océans and Le Rire Médecin-Lamotte. This bodes well for the continuation of the Ocean Fifty circuit.
“This year the offshores were really intense — we really had fun the whole time. Collective energy transformed into performance is what motivates me to do everything I do.”
As winner of the third edition of the Pro Sailing Tour, Le Roux follows in the wake of British racer Sam Goodchild in 2021 and the young French sailor Quentin Vlamynck in 2022, the latter adding his expertise to the ‘Final Rush’ leg winner Solidaires En Peloton – ARSEP.
Her skipper Vauchel-Camus said: “The first sun we have seen is here in Brest after a rather cloudy Mediterranean! We are super happy, even if we had phases of success and phases of frustration — we won’t remember the two Mediterranean stages, that’s for sure.
“On the Final Rush we were super committed, we were well in the game all the time. This proves that we had worked well this winter.”
And he added: “We were hungry this leg: we had no more pastries left, so we wanted to win!”
The finale saw two of the five Ocean Fifty foiling trimarans hit by problems, with Christopher Pratt aboard Wind of Trust, racing with Ronan Treussart and Laurent Bourguès, withdrawing from the leg on Tuesday 23 May following minor but recurring technical issues with the recently acquired vessel.
Meanwhile Pierre Quiroga and his crew on Viabilis Océans had also hit difficulties while leading the leg on Friday, when their mainsail hook broke. An authorised pitstop in Vigo, Spain, allowed a rapid repair and Quiroga along with Léonard Legrand and Pascal Bidégorry was able to rejoin the race, though now well behind the new leaders.
The 2023 Pro Sailing Tour’s opening rounds were both characterised by exceptionally close finishes among the hard-charging racers, with the 350-mile first leg — from La Seyne-sur-Mer in southeastern France to Bonifacio in Corsica — ending in dramatic fashion with Koesio edging the win just 44 seconds ahead of PST newcomer Quiroga on Viabilis Océans.
Two-time Route du Rhum winner Le Roux doubled down in a shortened leg two between Bonifacio and Alghero with back-to-back victories, while Luke Berry‘s Le Rire Médecin-Lamotte finished second just a minute ahead of Viabilis Océans.
Le Roux had started the ‘Final Rush’ with 18 points, four ahead of Viabilis Océans (14), followed by Solidaires En Peloton – ARSEP (11), Le Rire Médecin-Lamotte (9) and Wind of Trust (8).
Skipper Erwan Le Roux and crew Audrey Ogereau, Steven Liorzou
Architect: VPLP, builder: Persico (Italie)
Boat launched: Octobrer 2020
Solidaires en Peloton – ARSEP
Skipper Thibault Vauchel-Camus and crew Quentin Vlamynck, Pep Costa (ESP)
Architect: VPLP, builder: Enata (Dubaï)
Boat launched: January 2018
Skipper Pierre Quiroga and crew Léonard Legrand, Pascal Bidégorry
Architect: VPLP, builder: CDK
Boat launched: September 2017
Previously: Leyton (Sam Goodchild), Ciela Village (Thierry Bouchard)
Wind of Trust
Skipper Christopher Pratt and crew Ronan Treussart, Laurent Bourguès
Architect: VPLP, builder: CDK
Boat launched: 2009
Previously: Groupe GCA-1001 Sourires (Gilles Lamiré), FenêtréA Mix Buffet (Erwan Le Roux), FenêtréA Cardinal (Erwan Le Roux), Crêpes Whaou 3 (Franck-Yves Escoffier)
Le Rire Médecin – Lamotte Immobilier
Skipper Luke Berry and crew Antoine Joubert, Mathieu Salomon
Architect: Guillaume Verdier, builder: JPS Chantier Larros
Boat launched: 2009
Previously: Primonial (Sébastien Rogues), Réauté Chocolat (Armel Tripon), Actual (Yves Le Blevec).
Finish times for The Final Rush stage
1 – Solidaires en Peloton-ARSEP at 16h07’33” – 6 days 4h58’08” – 18 pts
2 – Koesio at 16h52’06” – 6 days 5h42’06” – 15 pts
3 – Le Rire Médecin – Lamotte Immobilier Saturday evening
4 – ETA Viabilis Océans on Sunday 28 May at around 2am.
5 – Wind of Trust-Marsail – retired
Things to remember about this Final Rush
– 1,650 theoretical miles from Alghero in Sardinia
– 100,000 miles: with this Pro Sailing Tour 2023, Thibaut Vauchel-Camus’s Ocean Fifty, Solidaires En Peloton-ARSEP, has passed the 100,000-mile mark!
– 1 retirement: Wind of Trust-Marsail (Christopher Pratt, Ronan Treussart, Laurent Bourguès) off Almeria
– 1 pit stop in Vigo for technical damage: Viabilis Océans
– More than 36 knots top speed in the Mediterranean off Ibiza
– An average of 25 tack changes from course
12 May La Seyne Sur Mer, France – Bonifacio, Corsica
14 May: ETA Bonifacio, Corsica
17 May: Bonifacio (Corsica) – Alghero, Sardinia (including a around Corsica)
18 May: ETA Alghero
21 May: Start of the Final Rush – Alghero to Brest
27 May: Finish Brest