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Jérémie Beyou holds on to take third in New York Vendée Les Sables d’Olonne race

Yacht Racing Podcast

French skipper Jérémie Beyou held out under pressure to take third place on the second edition of the New York Vendée Les Sables d’Olonne solo race across the North Atlantic this evening.

Winner of the first and only previous edition of the race in 2016, Beyou finished this Monday evening at 2111 hrs (local time, 1911 hrs UTC) to complete the podium. He was pursued closely through the final few hours of his race by the Les Sables d’Olonne favourite Seb Simon (Groupe Dubreuil) who is on course for fourth. Beyou, who finished third on the 2016-17 Vendée Globe, adds one more podium to a career record stretching back 20 years. He recently finished third on the Route du Rhum (2022) and last Autumn took third on the solo Retour à la base (2023).

FIRST REACTION

“”Like all the others I was trapped from the start. After that, it was a different race. Yes it’s a 3rd place, but it’s also a win in terms of our group. When I saw that I couldn’t win the race, I said to myself that I could win our race. In the end, it wasn’t really a race that boosts my confidence. It’s been tough but I’m happy to have shown that I can put everything into it, constantly like on La Solitaire du Figaro over the course of 10 days.”

BEYOU’S RACE

Beyou arrived in New York looking hungry for a result, desperate to get back into the thick of the action after having to retire from the westwards solo Transat with J2 forestay damage. He had to bring the Sam Manuard designed IMOCA across the Atlantic with a crew in delivery mode.

He’s renowned as a fierce competitor but he had to be patient. Even in New York Beyou could only focus on the race and found his peace of mind at his boat foregoing any time for relaxing sightseeing or tourism in the Big Apple.

Even so Charal was the fastest in his group during the Vendée Liberty, the prestigious speed runs competition contested on the Hudson between the Statue of Liberty and Manhattan.

When the race began on Wednesday 29th May he made a good start and worked well in the very difficult, unpredictable conditions as the Gulf Stream current, a moving low pressure front proving an obstacle which in the end only winner Charlie Dalin (MACIF Santé Prévoyance) and runner up Boris Herrmann (Malizia – Seaexplorer) managed to break through and away.

“It came down to five miles which became 500 miles,” rued Beyou at the time.

But the skipper of Charal regrouped and drove relentlessly. He led the pack to the south of the Azores and then on the climb to Les Sables-d’Olonne. This peloton of top boats and skippers had it all, downwind, upwind, boat-breaking seas, a big scare (the dismasting of Sam Goodchild) whilst all the time sustaining the intense, close boat for boat racing, mostly within sight of each other. “It’s been like a Figaro race” commented Hubert Lemonnier, the race director.

As leader of the pack Beyou was more often in the uncomfortable position being hunted rather than the hunter. But he held on and this is his second podium in seven months, his sixth over all races for Charal which was launched in 2022. And with another podium in his pocket on this key final race before the Vendée Globe, Beyou can look forwards to a more relaxed summer, confident he has all the tools needed to deliver a podium finish on the upcoming 10th edition of the solo race round the world.

BEYOU’s RACE IN FIGURES

Finish time: 19:11:49 (UTC)
Elapsed time: 12d 01h 11min 49s
Delta to first: 1d 21h 27min 19s
Distance sailed: 3 169.88 miles
Average speed (on the great circle): 10.96 knots

Main image © Olivier Blanchet / Alea

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