Eighth Place for the Class40 IBSA in the Furious Stage Le Havre-Lorient
"We took crew and boat to Lorient safely, and this is our best result". This is the hot take of Alberto Bona who, in the night between Monday and Tuesday, at 01:39 am - after 1 day, 11 hours, 58 minutes and 5 seconds - crossed the finish line in eighth place (second among the Italians) in the Le Havre-Lorient "mini stage" of the Transat Jacques Vabre.
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"Mini" only for distance, certainly not for difficulty: "They were some of the wildest miles ever sailed upwind, with the risk of getting hurt and compromising the stability of the boat just before the longer stage of the regatta", said Bona. "We could have gone a little faster, but in those conditions and at that moment the boat and us were the priority; so, a route close to the coast and conservative with the filling of the ballasts, so as not to crash the boat, which was going with the current and upwind at 13 knots, crashing into the incoming waves".
Therefore, it's been a complex and dangerous upwind: "We ate and rested very little; it was difficult to make any movement, both in the cockpit and below deck; the conditions were certainly worse than the Fastnet, because there we suffered for six hours, here for over 24".
Alberto Bona and Pablo Santurde del Arco started fast, with a fourth position at the clearance buoy under the La Hève lighthouse: "We accumulated a bit of delay due to our first choices, staying close to the coast, where we were protected from the current. It was a way to keep the boat safe: the steep waves against the current were very dangerous, so much so that Ian Lipinski dismasted a mile in front of us due to the very same conditions. I am also very sad for Alberto Riva, who had to give up the next stage due to a broken leg, which he suffered while going to the bow for some technical manoeuvres. I send him a big hug".
In the second stage, the Class40 IBSA will have to make up for its 1 hour, 52 minutes and 46 seconds delay from the leader - the Italian Ambrogio Beccaria, to whom compliments go out from the entire IBSA team - but "I don't consider it a serious problem on such a long regatta like the one ahead of us; we are super motivated", commented again Alberto Bona, who today will carry out a series of tests with Pablo to confirm the good state of health of the boat and then will use the time to rest, after these 24 hours of great physical and mental strain. "We never let go; so many choices to make, so many manoeuvers to perform, so many turns - and therefore so much weight shifting inside, to keep the boat correctly trimmed", he concluded.
The Class40 IBSA covered a good part of the race on the left bank of the Channel, keeping very low, with the aim of being favoured at the exit. In Biscay, with a wider angle, the boat reached indeed excellent speeds and recovered many positions in a few hours. Now it's a matter of regaining strength, doing some checks on board, facing Wednesday's storm while staying warm indoors and waiting for the start, which - according to Bona - won't be before Monday.
"This first stage", commented Giorgio Pisani, Vice President IBSA Group and Project leader of Sailing into the Future. Together, "was truly a test of technique and courage. Alberto and Pablo are two expert navigators in whom we place the utmost trust; we were certain that they would manage to find the right compromise between sporting goals and protection of the crew and the boat, and so they did. The entire IBSA is at their side, in this last oceanic adventure of the 2023 season, which as always we follow with passion and admiration".