RESULTS ARE PROVISIONAL BEFORE JURY
Even in the the inky darkness there was no mistaking the exuberant mix of sheer joy, relief and final deliverance for Skipper MACIF duo Charlotte Yven and Loïs Berrehar when they crossed the finish line off Gustavia, Saint Barths in the small hours of this Friday morning to end a prolonged, intense three-cornered battle with victory in the Transat Paprec double handed race from Concarneau.
At the end of this 16th running of this renowned two-handed one design race to the French West Indies which was first contested in 1992, the pair triumphed by just 16 minutes after 18 days and 9 hours 1 minute of racing. This Transat Paprec is the first edition exclusively for ‘mixed doubles’ following an initiative to deliver a pathway for more female racers to build short handed ocean racing experience.
The top three raced though the final days and nights of the course no more than 2.5 miles apart. And while Berrehar and Yven closed out victory ahead of Transatlantic rookies Gaston Morvan and Anne-Claire Le Berre (Région Bretagne-CMB Performance) , third place went to Corentin Horeau and Pauline Courtois (Mutuelle Bleue) who took third gun only 58 minutes behind the winners. In fourth place Guillaume Pirouelle and Sophie Faguet (Région Normandie) missed the podium by 2hrs 20 mins and Camille Bertel and Pierre Le Boucher (Cap Ingélec) took fifth a further 30 minutes or so behind Bertel and Le Boucher.
Yven, 26, and Berrehar, 29, crossed the finish line at 0203hrs local time Saint Barthélemy, 0603hrs UTC. Their preparation in the colours of Skipper MACIF was as meticulous and comprehensive as merits a hugely successful long term initiative in Figaro racing in the colours of the French insurance giant which has successively supported Francois Gabart (2010), Charlie Dalin (2014) and Yoann Richomme (2015). Their no-stone-unturned approach included becoming room-mates for weeks through their winter training to enhance their compatibility.
“We realized last night that we had won. It was a crazy match. I have never experienced such a tight race. And I’m happy to introduce Saint-Barth to Charlotte like this.” Laughed Berrehar, “ We are a great pair, have a great bond and I loved sailing with Charlotte. There were no differences between us, we did everything together. And I’m ready to leave tomorrow with her to cross back across the Atlantic!”
Yven added, “It was a super intense race until the finish. There was such a battle, a great fight… I’m very happy to finish my first transatlantic in 1st position! For 18 days at sea we had very varied conditions, we were in contact with others all the way through the race, as if it were a Solitaire du Figaro. It was crazy!”
Both were independently selected to the Skipper MACIF programme, Berrehar in 2021 and Yven – who was previously with Team Vendée – for this year – hence their partnership was organic and pre-ordained. Berrehar whose father was a professional sailor cut his teeth in the Tornado Olympic catamaran before it was deselected.
He first crossed the Atlantic as a ten year old with his family and finished second in 2018 with third on this race in 2020 as co-skipper to Tom Laperche who went on to win La Solitaire du Figaro last year, raced the Ocean Race on HOLCIM PRB and is new solo skipper of Gabart’s Ultime SVR Lazartigue. Berrehar also raced the 2021 Transat Jacques Vabre with Fabrice Amedeo.
Yven is already a top Figaro sailor in her own right. Even as an Optimist sailor on the bay of Morlaix she had dreams of following in the wake of Ellen MacArthur, Isabelle Autissier, Florence Arthaud. She trained in the 420, 470 and match racing through the French national base at Brest before two seasons ago getting into the Figaro class.
They led in the south of Portugal, at the turn at La Palma one week after the start, again in the trade winds for a few days and then set a relentless level in the final days to Saint Barths.
Gaston Morvan and Anne-Claire Le Berre (Région Bretagne – CMB – Performance) finished second and had managed to sustain the pace after hitting an UFO (unidentified floating object) which damaged their rudder on the 11th day of the race. “We dreamed of winning for a long, long time but this is still our first transatlantic,” said Morvan on the dock in Gustavia.
In third Corentin Horeau and Pauline Courtois congratulated each other and their rivals. Their faces showed the stress accumulated over the final days and nights when there was no time to sleep. “It was hard mentally because we always had people next to us,” Horeau commented
“I don’t even know if there was much time at all when we did not see our pals beside us or not far away!” smiled Courtois.
They said :
Loïs Berrehar (MACIF Skipper): “We realized last night at the end of the day that we had won. It was a crazy match, I have never experienced such a tight race. And I’m happy to introduce Saint-Barth to Charlotte! This is the first time I have won a major race! We are a great pair, a great bond and I loved sailing with Charlotte. There was no difference between us, we did everything together. And I’d be ready to leave tomorrow with her to cross back across the Atlantic!”
Charlotte Yven (Skipper MACIF): “It was a super intense race until the end. There was a match, a great fight… I’m very happy to finish my first transatlantic in 1st position! During 18 days at sea, we had very varied conditions, we were in contact throughout the race, as if it were a Solitaire du Figaro. It was crazy! We were under tension until the end, I find it hard to realize that we have arrived, that there is all this enthusiasm around us. It’s really great to reconnect with the earth in this way!”
Gaston Morvan (Région Bretagne – CMB Performance): “We dreamed of first place for a long time, especially since we spent time at the top of the rankings, we were inspired and everything was going well. We may have been too quick to think of us as potential winners. But until the end, it was a tight match, with a good battle. Inevitably we are a little disappointed but this is our first transatlantic and it is all positive. And between the two of us, it was super balanced. I thank Anne Claire so much she did the job 100%! »
Anne-Claire Le Berre (Région Bretagne – CMB Performance “We are happy with this 2nd place but inevitably we are a little disappointed not to win. In a race, you need a bit of success and we missed out a bit. But we have no regrets. This race happened really fast, it was very intense. We managed to fit in well with each other, we quickly found our routine, it was great.”
Corentin Horeau (Mutuelle Bleue): “It was very tight until the end, that was what we came for. I want to congratulate Pauline because she had only spent two nights at sea before the start. I think she has a huge future in ocean racing! It was hard mentally because we always had people beside us. I told myself that we were going to win because we were going fast, we made the right choices… But Skipper MACIF did a master class and Gaston Morvan did Gaston, still being just as impressive and pugnacious.”
Pauline Courtois (Mutuelle Bleue): “It was tight all along and I’m not sure there were long moments when we didn’t see our friends! During the last 48 hours, we have fought relentlessly, in particular because of the algae. This race allowed me to progress in many different aspects and I know that this experience will be beneficial for my next challenges. We never let go with the others and it was really fun to fight so hard to get the best out of our boats.”
Provisional final standings before jury
1 Skipper MACIF (Loïs Berrehar/Charlotte Yven) finish time 06:03:33hrs UTC, elapsed time 18 days 19hrs 01min 35secs
2 Région Bretagne-CMB Performance (Gaston Morvan/Anne-Claire Le Berre) 06:20:06hrs, 18d19h18m06s
3 Mutuelle Bleue ( Corentin Horeau/Pauline Courtois) 07:02:30hrs 18d20h00m30s
4 Région Normandie (Guillaume Pirouelle/Sophie Faguet) 09:24:10hrs 18d22h22m10s
5 Cap Ingélec (Camille Bertel/Pierre Leboucher) 10:08:45hrs 18d23h06m45s