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Fabio Muzzolini (945 – Tartine sans Beurre), second prototype skipper to reach Santa Cruz de La Palma : “With all the hassles I’ve experienced this year, finishing 2nd is unexpected!”

Fabio Muzzolini (945 – Tartine sans Beurre) was the second prototype skipper to cross the finish line of the first leg of the 23rd edition of the Mini Transat EuroChef this Monday 4 October at 16h46min07s (UTC). In so doing, the skipper of Tartine sans Beurre took 7 days 03 hours 16 minutes and 07 seconds to complete the 1,350-mile course between Les Sables d’Olonne and Santa Cruz de La Palma at an average speed of 7.80 knots. The gap to the first is 01 hour 03 minutes and 37 seconds.

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“I think you have to award ‘La Palma’ for the way this first leg played out! (Laughs). I thought long and hard about that joke! (Laughs) When I saw Tanguy (Bouroullec) on the AIS this morning, I didn’t expect it at all. I was convinced that Irina (Gracheva) was the only one I could still keep behind me. What I’d planned at the start was to pull off a good performance in this first leg, as I still haven’t paid for the return trip via cargo ship or the boat’s insurance for the second leg. Securing a good place is a good way to create a buzz and a final call for partners. With all the hassles I’ve experienced this year, with the boat in the pits the whole time, frankly it’s unexpected. It’s a great thing to experience. The way things have played out has been incredible. It’s crazy that there were only four of us to slip under the ridge of high pressure. I didn’t think it would shut down like that behind us. After that, I lost sight of the three others in the first gybe southwards. I felt that the boat had good speed and I knew that Irina was positioned a little further south, which gave me the advantage. However, I had no idea where the other two were.

It wasn’t an easy leg, especially at the start, due to the sea conditions. The moment I exited the port of Les Sables d’Olonne, I was sick as the seas were raging and I was immediately plunged into the deep end. Afterwards, what was hard for me was that I was dealing with squalls on a permanent basis. I constantly had 8 knots, then 15 knots of breeze and, on my boat, there is a massive amount of work to do to deal with the differences in trim when the wind is so shifty. As such, I was either on my side or completely crushed in the water… it wasn’t easy. On approaching the finish line, it was full-on with Pierre (Le Roy). I opened the door for him again by completely stuffing my spinnaker drop. I think I was a bit knackered. Before that, it was fantastic as I saw that I was making up ground on Tanguy a bit. I’d hoped to pull off the same move as Axel Tréhin a couple of years ago, but no… For me though, it’s great to finish in second place. I’d feared that I would be too far behind the first boats in this leg. Today, within this context, anything’s still possible and that is just fabulous!”

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