Photo: Olivier Blanchet/Europa Warm Up

Acciona brings up the rear

Javier Sanso hampered by autopilot problems on the Europa Warm-Up

Monday June 4th 2012, Author: James Boyd, Location: France

Javier Sansó crossed the La Rochelle finish line of the Europa Warm’Up race at 13h 12m22 s (UTC) today to complete his first major competitive test with his new Owen-Clarke designed ACCIONA 100% EcoPowered. He completed the singlehanded second leg in an elapsed time of 8 days, 22 hours and 12 minutes.

Spanish skipper Sansó may have crossed the finish line around 24 hours after the fourth placed skipper Bernard Stamm, but he now has a good measure of what he needs to achieve for himself and his boat prior to starting his second Vendée Globe this coming November.

The Europa Warm’Up has been something of a baptism of fire for the Palma-based Sansó, not just in making his first major race with the boat, but in immediately putting himself up against the cream of the IMOCA 60 fleet with their highly optimised boats, most experienced skippers, newest boats and the up and coming stars. He will have discovered the level he wants to reach is high, but meantime he has certainly proven the reliability and efficiency of his 100% renewable energy IMOCA Open 60, and so to that extent at least Sanso can consider his first victory to be completed.

Sansó commented: "We had a lot of trouble with autopilots, which did not work very well. This was obvious even before reaching the Azores. However, in terms of performance, the boat is perfect. I have not had any problems with generating power, using solar panels and hydrogenerators. We had three days without a ray of sunshine and everything worked fine. It's a shame to have been separated away a bit from the rest of the fleet because of my pilots. I've learned many things, however. Finally, it must be said that the level of the fleet was incredible. For me, the future winner of the Vendée Globe is one of those guys."

Bernard Stamm who arrived yesterday to take fourth place said: "This race has not always been easy or straightforward, but it has been insightful and instructive. The format has been great. The first, crewed stage confirms the technical choices with the right people on board and the second stage, solo, tests our ability to take full control on these machines, which are – after all – very complex. This second stage? Well I remember the good and the not so good. The worst bit was losing two kites after the Azores. Cheminées Poujoulat ended up with her wings clipped a bit, especially over the last bit. Another thing is that my carbon sails seem to interfere with the comms. I came from the Fastnet unable to really update my weather info. The best was still the great downwind sailing in strong winds between the Azores and the Fastnet. We saw just how high and even the level is. I hit 30kts at times but you need to look after the boat”.

Jack Dillenbourg, Deputy Mayor for Sport in the City of La Rochelle: “The format of this event is very attractive. Seeing these boats in the fishing boat basin and it is easy to understand these stories. We are obviously very pleased to host the Europa Warm’Up although given the circumstances we had to work at speed to be ready.”

Leg 2 Final standings (provisional):

Pos Boat Skipper Finish time  Elapased time
1 PRB Vincent Riou 11h 22mn 50s  7d 18h 22mn 50s
2 MACIF Francois Gabart 12h 33mn 58s  7d 19h 33mn 58s
3 Banque Populaire Armel le Cleac'h 15h 11mn 15s  7d 22h 11mn 15s
4 Cheminées Poujoulat Bernard Stamm 17h 16mn 17s  8d 00h 16mn 17s
5 ACCIONA 100%EcoPowered Javier Sanso 15h 12mn 22s 8d 22h 12mn 22s
ABD Virbac-Paprec 3      
ABD Groupe Bel      

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