Sam Goodchild and Aymeric Chapellier on Leyton finished the Transat Jacques Vabre into Fort de France, Martinique at 05:42:43hrs UTC Tuesday, November 16 to take third place in the Ocean Fifty class. They crossed just 1 hour and 22 minutes behind second placed Koesio (Erwan Le Roux/Xavier Macaire) and 3hrs and 47 minutes after the class winners Primonial (Sebastien Rogues/Matthieu Souben) 15 days 17 hours and 43 minutes after the race start in Le Havre on Sunday 7th November.
The Anglo-French duo staged a significant comeback after being 283 miles behind the leaders at the Cape Verde islands racing a new course for this 15th edition of the Transat Jacques Vabre. Finishing in Martinique in the French West Indies rather than the normal ‘coffee route’ to Brasil, the route took the Ocean Fifty class across the Doldrums twice, both times Leyton making good gains on the boats in front. But a relatively modest start out of the Channel and across the Bay of Biscay made it hard to catch the race leaders on a course which ultimately profited the pacemakers.
Although they were rivals in Class 40 monohulls on the last Transat Jacques Vabre in 2019, finishing second and third, this was the longest ocean race yet on the demanding, fast Ocean Fifty multihulls for Goodchild and Chapellier on Leyton, ultimately closing in during the last hours to finish close behind Erwan Le Roux who three times Ocean Fifty class winner and 2014 Route du Rhum winner in the Ocean Fifty class.
On the dock in Fort de France, Goodchild who celebrated his 32nd birthday during the race smiled:“Actually we are less tired than a few days ago. After rounding Fernando de Noronha we were gybing constantly for two days along the Brazilian coast to try to catch up with the others. We found a good mouse hole to get through the Doldrums, which gave us a better angle to the others and got us back into the game. This was our first transatlantic in this class and it is very different to the monohull class. These Ocean Fifties are amazing boats that can go very fast, so you have to be careful. We have learned a lot. There was the adrenalin rush two or three hours from the finish. We got used to taking naps fairly often. We were boosted by the adrenalin and our motivation and wanting to go all the way. That has dropped off now and we’re tired, but pleased to have finished.”