Panerai Transat Classique 2012 : Standing ovation in Barbados

Saturday, 29 December 2012

What a welcome! The crews of the Panerai Transat Classique 2012 already in Barbados hailed Croix des Gardes as she entered the Port of Bridgetown with an impromptu concert of foghorns, cheers and applause. After twenty-five days at sea the young Elizabeth, just 7 years old, was completely taken with the light-hearted commotion on the quayside. The Kelman family's crossing, aided by father and son Dave and Ollie Spensley Corfield, has been a magnificent experience for the little girl and her brother Matthew.  

Saturday 29 December is going to be a busy day with the arrival of three competitors who have been inseparable since the start of the race. Artaius is expected to cross the line just before daybreak, while Cipango and Gimcrack will continue to battle it out into the afternoon. Despite her computer problem which prevented her from sending and receiving messages, Cipango was able to contact the race director everyday for a weather forecast. The message sent this morning has that end-of-race feel about it and the crew are putting all their effort into defeating their friendly foe, Gimcrack. With nearly four weeks of ocean sailing under their belts, the crews seem to be in a hurry to make landfall and meet up with their extended family in the Panerai Transat Classique 2012 to share memories and emotions. As for Marie des Isles, she will soon be crossing the symbolic threshold of 1,000 miles left to run. It has been an amazing maritime and human adventure in which patience is the principal virtue.

Quotes form the boat crews

Croix des Gardes

"We've only a few hours left on the ocean and James is keeping a lookout for the island of Barbados. After weeks of variable winds, we're now enjoying a regular breeze and good weather. Elizabeth is very excited about crossing the finishing line and can't wait to go to the beach tomorrow. Matthew is more interested by the fact that we have managed to recharge his Nintendo DS. It's a strange feeling to know that this part of our voyage is almost complete. I know how Moitessier must have felt when he approached the end of his solo circumnavigation and why he wanted to continue his voyage. The vast ocean fills our horizon and our yacht is our faithful companion, furrowing her wake night and day while we take care of her. Her movements have become our own and the soft lapping of the sea against her bows accompanies her creaking and sighing. It is difficult to imagine our return to the land with all its noise and activity. We are going to cross the line during the night. The crew have had a shower and slipped on the polo shirts emblazoned with the yacht's name. For the final mile we will light up Croix de Gardes with her deck lights.


"So it's our last day. No more than 135 miles left to run. Not even the distance between Falmouth and St Malo. We're sailing downwind and making a good turn of speed so hopefully we'll cross the line at 05:00 hrs UT on 29 December. We will have run 3,655 miles in 26 days and 22 hours, which makes an average speed of 5.65 knots. It's a shame we wasted two days in the high off the Canaries. But it has been a unique experience. The entire crew would like to thank the faithful readers of our blog. Your interest has been precious. We promise to post a photo of Barbados as soon as the sun comes up. We would also like to thank the speakers of Voix de la Corée du Nord, a radio station whose French-speaking programmes we listen to daily. Their good-natured optimism, which belongs to another age, helped to keep everyone aboard in good spirits."

Isabelle Delaune

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Last Updated ( Saturday, 29 December 2012 )