Following a tumultuous first solo transit in an IMOCA 60, yesterday morning at 05:32h (French time), Morgan Lagravière crossed the finish line of the Transat Saint-Barth – Port-la-Forêt in 4th position, to qualify for the Vendée Globe.
Dantesque conditions, keel actuator damage, a stopover in the Azores and resuming in a storm - it has been a tumultuous first solo transat in an IMOCA 60 for the skipper of Safran. But Morgan fought hard and showed the tenacity that enabled him to finish the race.
After leaving the Caribbean island of St Barts on Sunday December 6, on board a boat rented for the event (Nicolas Boidevezi’s Adopteunskipper.net), the skipper of Safran suffered damage to his keel actuator rod.
“I had two goals at the beginning of the race: To qualify for the Vendée Globe and, if possible, get a good result,” said Lagravière, who made a makeshift repair to travel the 600 miles separating him from the Azores.
“The second goal was quickly put on one side. The chance for qualification remained and I’ve finally secured that.”
After a three-day technical stopover in the Portuguese archipelago, Lagravière was able to resume the race, but with a keel locked in the upright position and a boat which he could only use at 60-70% of the potential. But once again, Lagravière hung on in there, doing his best to get to Port-la-Forêt with a boat in good condition.
“If I managed some success today it’s thanks to my team who supported me technically and personally,” he said. “This has been an educational transat. I’ve not been confronted with such powerful wind and sea conditions in training. In a short time, I have learned so much. After the euphoria of arriving back has died down, I’ll have some rest and prepare for the year to come.”
The Vendée Globe adventure begins
To secure qualification for the next edition of the solo, unassisted, non-stop round-the-world race, which will start on November 6, Lagravière had to finish within a maximum of nine days of the winner of the Transat Saint-Barth – Port-la-Forêt, Sébastien Josse, who finished last Wednesday.
Lagravière accomplished this mission but he will still need to qualify his boat. **
“My qualification is a good thing to have done, so, the Vendée Globe adventure has begun,” he said. “Now, I have to take charge of Safran, the boat on which I’ll race around the round the world in less than a year. After the boatyard work this winter, I will step up the volume of sailing to improve the reliability of my boat.”
* Lagravière crossed the finish line at 05:32:02 (French time). His race time was: 16days 13hours 32 minutes and 02 seconds. He travelled the 3,374.64 miles of the course (direct route) at an average speed of 8.49 knots, but actually covered 4,002.94 miles in total, at an average speed of 10.07 knots. Distance to the winner (Sébastien Josse): 6d 8h 13' 45''.
** Lagravière has qualified for the Vendée Globe but his boat has not. After the boatyard work this winter, he will have to complete a solo journey of 1,500 miles on Safran.
About Safran Group:
Safran is a leading international high-technology group with three core businesses: Aerospace (propulsion and equipment), Defence and Security. Operating worldwide, the Group has 69,000 employees and generated sales of 15.4 billion euros in 2014. Working alone or in partnership, Safran holds world or European leadership positions in its core markets. The Group invests heavily in Research & Development to meet the requirements of changing markets, including expenditures of 2 billion euros in 2014. Safran is listed on Euronext Paris and is part of the CAC40 index.