“ Colette was the name of a german teacher who hated me at school. I was like, someone didn’t work hard enough today and I think it’s me! ”
Edouard Gobery - Région Normandie
“The best part of the race is when we started to go downwind and the boat levelled out. I spent about 15 days at a 35 degrees angle and it was like someone was throwing grenades at you - it was quite painful.
This race is really different from the transatlantics you do down to the Azores, where it’s just fun all the time. This race was really painful and every day since the start until a couple of days before I arrived, I felt like giving up. I thought that I would never arrive. Every day I just cracked.
Every time the tracker looked weird, it wasn’t me it was because something broke. I can imagine people watching at home joking, is he writing his name? Is that an E? But that was when my mainsail broke. It split vertically and I had to patch it. It wasn’t too bad, but it took me a long time to do it. The only way to do it was to go downwind, so I ended up going east and backwards.
I named the big storm Colette, Colette was the name of a german teacher who hated me at school. I was like, someone didn’t work hard enough today and I think it’s me! I’m going to get kicked in the ass by Collete. And I did.
We had a lot of storms actually. There was one big storm and then lots of fronts to sail through. Every time it was the same, it starts sunny, but then you have the weather forecast - which I’m not used to - and it says that in 10 hours it’s going to be war, so let’s prepare. You have 25/30 knots and wind and rain and then sun and no wind and then 30 knots… A really difficult part of the race was that with every wave the boat felt like it was breaking.
They asked me in Plymouth why the Class40 is the perfect boat to do The Transat, and I can tell them now it’s not the perfect boat to do The Transat. Every time you hit a wave the boat just explodes, BAM, and something breaks - sometimes the boat, sometimes you.
At one point I was sleeping and I woke up flying to the other side of the boat. I landed on my neck and I couldn’t move for like five hours.
I’m really really happy to be in New York. Until you are here, you never think you are going to be here. It’s just crazy. I haven’t realised I’m here yet. I need to and see an opera, go running in central park, go to Times Square, find some cool bars.”
Robin Marais - Espirit Scout
“I didn’t have any disasters, but I had quite a few technical problems. I guess when they were added all together, it wasn’t far off a disaster! It can quickly become complicated when you’re alone on the boat. The first depression we went through was the biggest but not necessarily the hardest because it was downwind. Edouard and I ended up in the storm together, there were gusts of up to 45 knots, sometimes even 50 knots. The boat was surfing at over 20 knots. After the storm we wondered whether the northerly route, i.e the shortest route would be the best, or if would be down south with Louis (Duc) on a more conservative path. We decided to stay on the shortest route, but this is where the problems started. I lost the VHF antenna so I no longer had AIS, which is really important when you’re solo. It was the third storm that was the most impressive - the waves were huge.
From then, all the way to the finish, the battle was on with Edouard. Until after that storm I didn’t know where any of the other boats were. It was Edouard on VHF who told me they 30 miles north of us and I realised we were still in the game.
This morning I was disappointed to be in fifth, but seeing New York made it so much better. I start my Transat campaign just a month and a half before the departure and in that time I had to qualify, fix up the boat and deliver it to Saint-Malo. Just to be here and to finish in fifth is a great victory for me.”