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Transat New York-Barcelona: Safran leads the dance of the light airs
On the fifth day of racing, the Safran monohull skippered by Marc Guillemot and Morgan Lagravičre still leads the IMOCA Ocean Masters New York to Barcelona Race. At 1230hrs (French time) on Friday, the pair were 20.1 miles ahead of Hugo Boss (Ribes-Breymaier). After a more than bracing bypass of the first depression, the fleet are currently negotiating a transition zone in light conditions. Everyday is different for the four crews of the Transat New York-Barcelona, which Morgan Lagravičre is quite happy about.


Regrouping after the first third
The four IMOCA in the Transat New York -Barcelona have already covered nearly 1,400 miles and just 47 miles separate the leader, Safran and the crew of Gaes Centros Auditivos (Corbella - Marin) in last place. That kind of gap is a drop in the Atlantic ocean. "We lost a little to Hugo Boss as the wind died down gradually and they had a little more pressure behind them,” Lagravičre said, sounding happy and rested. “But we are very pleased with the beginning of the race because we have given it our all, there’s nothing more we could have done. I have to admit that the first few days have left their mark. We had a really hard time; the noise of carbon hitting the waves is seriously impressive. Sometimes we moved around in the boat on all fours. It's all part of learning process. It's more fun to have these kind of conditions early in the race. From now until Gibraltar it should be much more comfortable.”

Six days of racing before entering the Mediterranean
Approaching a first area of ​​high pressure, in the middle of the most direct route to the finish on a north-south axis, Team Neutrogena (Altadill - Munoz) and Gaes Centros Auditivos have chosen a path to the north and the two leaders Safran and Hugo Boss, have taken a southerly route. At the moment, Guillemot and Lagravičre have ten knots of west-southwesterly breeze. “We are under a Code 0, which is the perfect headsail in these light conditions,” Lagravičre, enjoying every moment of his first Atlantic race, said. “So, in theory, we will not be too slow and there will be transition zones from here to the entrance to the Mediterranean. The routing is showing six days to Gibraltar. We have the right boat for these conditions and that’s allowing us to eat well, sleep well and so be more focused on strategy. On the wardrobe side, we have dried everything out in the sun and last night we were just in a little fleece and our oily trousers. What happiness.”

A good working environment on board
Guillemot and Lagravičre have very different backgrounds but the strength of their partnership lies in how complementary they are. But until there is the pressure of competition, it is not always easy to know how it will work. After five days of racing, there is a real chemistry between the two sailors of the Safran Sailing Team. “Initially, we had planned two-hour watches. In the big conditions we didn’t really have time to chat. But since yesterday, we have talked a lot more and this a great aspect of double-handed offshore racing that I didn’t really know about. Our approaches complement each other, which is very interesting. Our roles on board divided naturally. I really trust our partnerships the boat is great, and we have the ability to win.” Which one of them said that?

Photo : PIERRICK CONTIN
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