By NAN Sports Editor
News Americas, Fort-de-France, Martinique, Fri. Nov. 26, 2021: French skippers Thomas Ruyant and Morgan Lagravière celebrated yesterday after winning the Transat Jacques Vabre in the Imoca class, in Fort-de-France, Martinique.
The Transat Jacques Vabre pair sailing race started in Le Havre and arrives at Fort-de-France with their Imoca 60 monohull Linked Out. The two Frenchmen enjoyed every minute of their triumph as they crossed the finish line after 18 days, one hour, 21 minutes and 10 seconds at sea at the end of a voyage of 6,691 nautical miles, which they completed at an impressive average speed of 15.44 knots.
For Ruyant this is a momentous victory – his fourth on the transatlantic course following previous wins in Class 40 in the Route du Rhum, in the AG2R double-handed transat when he sailed with Adrien Hardy, and in the Mini-Transat in 2009. At the finish he spoke about the intensity of a long race when both APIVIA and Charal were always waiting for LindedOut to make a mistake.
“The boat was perfect,” he told Sailing World.com. “All our modifications following the earlier races of the year proved to be judicious. The rest was a question of energy, of how much commitment we were willing to put into winning. And it was huge. We didn’t take a breath. On such a long transatlantic race, it’s impressive, but that’s where the partnership and commitment with Morgan came into play – he has an incredible talent.”
Lagravière spoke of an “almost perfect” race when LinkedOut often seemed to sail into better breeze in the later stages when her pursuers where faltering. “This crossing of the line crowns an almost perfect transatlantic race, with hard moments, but the immense satisfaction of having made fewer mistakes than our opponents, of having made the right choices overall and of having known how to handle this extraordinary boat,” he said.
LinkedOut’s victory marks an important milestone in the history of the IMOCA Class – the first boat to win a major long distance race with title sponsorship promoting a social cause (the LinkedOut charity helps homeless people), underlining that sporting success can be part and parcel of a campaign committed to good causes.
The victory also completes a remarkable treble for superstar naval architect Guillaume Verdier whose designs have won all three classes that have finished this Transat Jacques Vabre so far – Gitana/Maxi Edmond de Rothschild in the Ultime division, Primonial in the Ocean Fifty class and now LinkedOut in IMOCAs.