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Hugo Dhallenne (979 – YC Saint Lunaire), third production boat skipper to make Santa Cruz de La Palma : “We really had to get a shift on to limit our deficit in relation to the top two as much as possible”

Hugo Dhallenne was the third production boat skipper to cross the finish line of the first leg of the 23rd edition of the Mini Transat EuroChef this Friday 8 October at 14h58min25s (UTC). In so doing, the skipper of YC Saint Lunaire took 11 days 2 hours 28 minutes and 25 seconds to complete the 1,350-mile course between Les Sables d’Olonne and Santa Cruz de La Palma. The gap to the first is 01 day 01 hour 52 minutes and 48 seconds.

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“It was quite a bizarre race with the short stop in Spain. We had to get going again and then we really had to get a shift on to get down here as quickly as we could to limit our deficit in relation to the top two as much as possible with a view to the next leg. I really went for it. I didn’t get a lot of sleep and I didn’t manage the machine very well either. On exiting the first front, in the Bay of Biscay, I caused quite a bit of damage to the bottom of the boat with some structural issues. I made the most of the stopover in Baiona to relaminate everything. The decision to stop off in Galicia? I was part of a group of 10-15 boats sailing together at the front of the pack since the start. We received the warning from the organisation and one by one Anne-Claire Le Berre launched a series of calls. We discussed the situation and then together decided to stop before later setting sail again according to the order of that day’s 08:00-hour ranking with a view to retaining a degree of sporting equity. As such, all of us put into port except for two skippers who continued on their way. We waited for the front to roll through. On Sunday morning, the racing was resumed. Obviously there was some hesitation. Let’s just say that Basile (Bourgnon) and I were the last to come to a decision. Would I have stopped without the issues with my boat’s structure, mast wand and autopilot remote? It’s fair to say that in the second front, with the bottom of my boat delaminating, it would doubtless have been a bit tense. However, I believe we were right to put into port, let the front roll through and then set sail again. That way, we didn’t have to call in a helicopter, there were no problems and that’s the most important thing. Naturally I’m already casting my mind forward to the second leg, but I’m going to start by getting some sleep.”

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