Thirteen Class40s competing, two legs to return from Guadeloupe to Europe, and a textbook duel between friends: Alberto Bona and the Class40 IBSA finish the Défi Atlantique in third place after 3,500 miles of twists and turns and unpredictable weather.
Alberto Bona, on board the Class40 IBSA together with Pablo Santurde del Arco and Pietro Luciani, crossed the finish line of the second leg of the Défi Atlantique in La Rochelle (France) at 4.10 pm (Rome time) on Saturday 22 April, taking third place overall in the classification combining the two legs, the first from Point-à-Pitre (Guadeloupe) to Horta (Azores) and the second from Horta to La Rochelle.
In the first leg (Point-à-Pitre – Horta), the Class40 IBSA had finished in third position, gaining a substantial lead over three quarters of the fleet. This allowed them to maintain their third position overall, despite the fact that the second race (Horta – La Rochelle) saw Alberto Bona’s crew finish in seventh position, after having been in the lead on many occasions.
At the start from Horta, Alberto Bona had in fact immediately taken the lead, followed by Ambrogio Beccaria (Alla Grande Pirelli) and Ian Lipinski (Crédit Mutuel), reiterating the three-way fight that had also animated much of the first stage. The Bay of Biscay, however, was a game-changer with weather conditions – medium-light wind, patches of calm and upwind stretches – that favoured the chasing crews, from which the leading trio Bona-Beccaria-Lipinski were overtaken a few miles from the finish, with an overtaking that remains in the stage classification, but does not affect the race podium.
“It was a beautiful and interesting regatta,” commented Alberto Bona, “with an exceptional crew and always in close competition with Ian and Ambrogio. Very complex weather conditions, medium-light winds, particularly in the second leg except for one day, 19 April, during which we sailed 309 miles, and a lot to learn: we are back to Europe after practically six months and so many miles on our shoulders that it seems like much more time has passed“.
Alberto and the Class40 IBSA sailed the 1,290 miles of the second leg in 6 days, 1 hour, 10 minutes and 27 seconds, more than enough time to be on the podium of the regatta, which for the final classification sums the times of the two races and therefore guarantees the IBSA team third place overall, preceded by Beccaria and Lipinski.
“With Ian and Ambrogio it was a duel, a match race, a race on sight. We made the same choices in the last part of the race, at Cabo Finisterre, where actually going down the coast was the best option for us. I enjoyed it: to see the Galician coast again, after so much ocean, was beautiful.”
In total, to sail from Point-à-Pitre to La Rochelle via Horta, the Class40 IBSA took 16 days, 18 hours, 46 minutes and 38 seconds, covering 4,178 real miles, at an average of 10.7 knots.
The overall performance of the Class40 IBSA was very good, so much so that Alberto and his team are leading the regatta leaderboard, having been at the helm 55 times.
“I could count on a great crew: Pablo is a pure fighter, he never gives up, having him on board is a continuous discovery and a great resource. Pietro gave a lot, together we were fine, morale was high“.
Back in Brittany, the Class40 IBSA is now returning home, to La Trinité-sur-Mer, where it was launched less than a year ago, for a passage to the yard. The next race on the calendar is the Normandy Channel Race, starting from Caen (France) on 4 June.