They were the favorites of this Transat Jacques Vabre. They had assumed this status by being the undisputed leaders until the Doldrums. Until this unlikely scenario of lasting entanglement makes them lose everything. Or almost, since they still end up 3rd in Imoca, behind Apivia (Dalin-Elies) and PRB (Escoffier-Lunven). Redeemed philosopher, Jeremie Beyou tells these unbearable hours;
Jeremie Beyou, what taste does this Caîpirinha have? Acid? Bitter?
Jeremie Beyou: (Laughter). It's a bit strong, but it's good. It is a race that deserves, which is long and difficult, and for us was a little more spicy than for the others … But this place of 3rd, it is a consolation?
Christopher Pratt: Yes, when we saw that the podium was accessible, it gave us a balm to the heart, but clearly we had not come here for that. And so there is disappointment not to have won this race, it's obvious. The minimum we could give our team and Charal was to get on the podium, and that's it.
And not succeed in getting the 2nd place in the end, is it still a disappointment?
J. B.: No, at all, it's anecdotal. The podium was important. After this is the first place that has led us throughout the preparation of Charal. And, the first 10 days of racing, we really sailed very well, we put the right edges and we made beautiful trajectories.
Until the doldrums have been fatal to you ..
J. B.: The, pff … it's just bad luck. It's three absolutely unbearable days when you're driven by victory. When you are ahead with more than 100 miles in advance and you see that it escapes you, you go through all the states. We did not give too much news during that time. In addition, we really had the feeling of serving as a marker for the back boats which, seeing us planted, not just had to luff (reduce the wind angle) to move further east. They were lucky we were in front, and they took advantage. After, once we were inside, we cut the rankings because it was too hard to read at each score … And we only turned them on again when the Doldrums came out, when we started to resume speed. It was there that we thought that there was perhaps a podium to play. This podium is therefore stolen.
How do you each have this delicate period?
Det Box: It was a very hard time to live, we each cried our turn. We spent nights and hours on the deck, tacking, jibing, re-tacking, restocking, then rain, then wind, then grains … The infernal merry-go-round stopped . We took turns in there but we did not believe anymore. Even last night, we wondered if we would really get by. We did not even think about the race anymore, just to get out of there. It's a really hard time in a runner's life off.
Your duo has been put to the test?
J. B: We did not hit each other (laughs). It's like in the film "The Endless Day", where you get up every day at the same time and it's always the same thing. It was unbearable. This is the worst condition in the world. Those who do not compete, can not understand, because there is more serious in life. But you, you're in your 18 m, two, you're in the lead … So this is the disaster of your life. Now, we must relativize, that's for sure. We held out, we did not stick slaps.
Your boat is going very fast, it's still a satisfaction …
J. B.: Yes, that, we knew it. We had some questions about the bearing. But we also stripped to go fast. Especially at the Canary Islands. Chris had found the right mode, the right paths. We have multiplied the gybes to stay in the good wind latches. And after that, the long board that took us to the Doldrums, we did the bottom of the box … Charal was talking about his potential at that time. And I know it's a real good boat.
Next year at the same time, during the Vendee Globe, you will make sure not to be in the lead at the Doldrums?
J. B.: (Laughter). Yes … I believe that during the Transat Jacques Vabre 2015, Armel Le Cleac'h also came first in this place, he was also stuck … and the following year he won the Vendee Globe. So it suits me if it happens like that. It's an area so unpredictable … but sometimes it's good too.
Transat Jacques Vabre. Jeremie Beyou: "It was unbearable!"Ouest-France.fr