St Michel-Virbac breaks record to win Transat Jacques Vabre Imoca class

Jean-Pierre Dick and Yann Eliès on St Michel-Virbac, have won the Imoca class of the 13th edition of the Transat Jacques Vabre after crossing the finish line in the Bay of All Saints in Salvador de Bahia on Saturday, November 18, 2017 at 20:11:46 (UTC), 13 days 7 hours 36 minutes and 46 seconds after leaving Le Havre, Normandy, France. St Michel-Virbac covered the theoretical course of 4,350 nautical miles at an average speed of 13.63 knots but actually sailed 4,652 nautical miles at an average speed of 14.55 knots.

On his 60ft foiling monohull, Dick became the only sailor in the history of this bi-annual double-handed Route du Café, in any class, to have won four times. The 52-year-old skipper from Nice, won the Imoca class in 2003, 2005 and 2011.

St Michel-Virbac also established a new record time for the Imoca class to Salvador with Dick beating his own record of 13 days 09 hours 19 minutes and 2 seconds set with Loïck Peyron on Virbac-Paprec in 2005 by 1 hour 42 minutes and 16 seconds.

Dick recalled today that was his first Transat Jacques Vabre win in 2003 into Salvador de Bahia in 2003, that really announced his arrival as a serious contender in the sailing world.

It was a first victory for Eliès in the Imoca class, after his Multi50 win in 2013.

After leaving Le Havre on Sunday, November 5, at 12:35 UTC, St Michel-Virbac has led since the early morning of Tuesday, November 7 as they crossed the cold front that battered the fleet as the passed the Bay of Biscay. One of six latest generation foiling Imoca in the race, it was actually the older generation, foil-less SMA that has proved St Michel-Virbac’s toughest challenger. That was something the two French sailors, Dick and Eliès, predicted before the start of their training partner, and SMA closed to within 28 miles in the Doldrums before of St Michel-Virbac escaped first and extended as the headed down the coast of Brazil.

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