The declarations on arrival
Emmanuel Le Roch, skipper: “I am happy to have arrived and am satisfied with 7th place, we really gave everything. Last night did us a lot of good with almost 20 knots of wind, we were able to push hard to arrive by day. I am happy with the boat, we did not have any breakage except for a rudder which could not be raised from Cape Verde. But we did not have the opportunity to strain the boat. In fact, we only took one reef, for two hours, over the entire Transat, which is unprecedented. I am happy to have shared this event with Pierre, we shared a lot and were extremely complementary. Pierre, a shrewd strategist, was focused on the weather, while I rather focused on the smooth running of the boat. The Class40 is a very homogeneous class, the match was fascinating. We had the impression of being on a Spi Ouest-France for three weeks! I am grateful to my partner Edenred and the whole team; it was wonderful to be welcomed by Basile and the Mini Edenred at Diamond Rock. We are a great team and I am proud of what we have put in place since 2018.”
Pierre Quiroga, co-skipper: “We have just experienced a beautiful and long transatlantic race. It is a superb human and sporting adventure. The course was demanding, with regroupings in Raz de Sein, in Cape Verde and even in the middle of the Atlantic which offered an incredible match with our competitors. We descended very close to the Doldrums at 9 degrees South and covered the road almost 1,000 miles over the theoretical distance, a bold choice that could have led us to victory. The Class40 is a boat that wears out less than the Figaro, but the return to land alongside the Edenred team will do us good. After spending 170 days at sea this year, I am happy that it ended in style with this beautiful arrival in Fort-de-France."
Bertrand Dumazy, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Edenred, said: “Congratulations to Emmanuel and Pierre, who sailed with ambition, courage and determination. Despite the difficulties and the capricious southerly winds, they flew the colors of the Edenred Group with panache and made our 10,000 employees vibe. This transatlantic race was the first major event for our new boat and for this duo of sailors. We look forward to continuing the adventure and facing our next challenges together.”
Looking back on a three-week race for the Class40 Edenred
A flying start
Emmanuel Le Roch and Pierre Quiroga got off to a great start in Le Havre at 1:27 pm on Sunday, November 7, despite rough weather conditions.
Against a backdrop of steady winds, sparkling seas and spectacular colors, the Edenred crew came around the offset mark near the cliffs of Étretat in the top three. Close behind them was a fleet of Class40s eager to get into a race like no other across the Atlantic. With 45 competitors, the Class40 was by far the best represented type of sailboat in this Transat Jacques Vabre. After a few hours, the wind died down completely, resulting in hours of low-speed maneuvering out of the Channel. Emmanuel and Pierre crossed the Brittany peninsula in 25th place, before quickly returning to the leading group in the Bay of Biscay.
Seven days in the top three
More at ease in windy conditions, the Edenred crew did not give up and made it into the provisional top three on November 11. After gliding through the Cape Finisterre passage in third place, Emmanuel and Pierre regularly reached the top of the leaderboard. They sailed past Madeira and the Canary Islands without a hitch, staying in the top three until November 18. Then, as they were about to tackle the Atlantic crossing, the Class40s were faced with a dilemma in Cape Verde.
The wind was once again missing in action, making for a hard choice: either sail through the archipelago, risking low winds but staying on the most direct route to Martinique, or head south and trade greater distances for stronger winds. Always up for a challenge, Pierre and Emmanuel made the bold decision to take the southern route. Unfortunately, the wind was not as strong as expected and the Edenred Class40 duo’s daring did not pay off, forcing them to join back up with the rest of the fleet four days later.
After that, it was a slow race to the finish line. Day and night, Emmanuel and Pierre stayed glued to the helm of their red and white monohull, trying to make the most of the slightest wind shifts and clouds. They finally crossed the finish line in 7th position, with no regrets, and with the feeling of having given it their all.