Matthieu Souben has tears in his eyes, Sébastien Rogues has already opened the bottle of champagne. On the night of Monday to Tuesday, shortly before 10 p.m. in Martinique (3 hours in Paris), the duo crossed the finish line of the Jacques Vabre transatlantic race, after 15 days and 13 hours of racing. “It feels good to see you!” », Says Sébastien Rogues. Due to the curfew, the crowd is not the same as when leaving Le Havre on November 6. From the balconies which offer a bird’s eye view of the bay of Fort-de-France, around fifty people provide the atmosphere.
“It’s a lot of happiness, for 15 days we delivered everything we had and it paid off,” said Sébastien Rogues. “It’s a human adventure, a sporting adventure, we make a perfect copy,” continues his teammate Matthieu Souben. The duo are savoring. “These are rare moments in life, you have to savor it,” insists Sébastien, the first to land. “And then it’s a pleasure to arrive before the Ultimes, they clearly did not have the same route as us (Editor’s note: 3,700 km more). It’s still the most beautiful boats in the world with the best sailors in the world, but it’s not every day that you win a Jacques Vabre (Editor’s note: in the Ocean Fifty category, because there is no scratch ranking ), arriving before the maxi-trimarans. And being the first in Martinique allows us to experience what they experience in each race! “
In the Martinican night, good humor is the order of the day. A few hours earlier, the Jacques Vabre transatlantic shifted into a funny atmosphere, when at the end of the evening yesterday in Martinique (last night in mainland France), the organizers became aware of a potential rally of demonstrators at the time of the crossing the line. “It was an alert evoking possible degradation, specifies Caroline Caron, the general manager of the organization. As organizers, our top priority is to provide a safe arrival. “While the protocol which provided for an arrival on the pontoon, about thirty minutes after crossing the line, was maintained, the boats then found refuge in the port of Fort-de-France, and not on the docks located opposite the arrival village. “It’s only for tonight (Editor’s note: last night), says Caroline Caron. “The idea was to put the boats in a closed and secure place,” she continues. Several options were possible, at the Fort-de-France marine base or at anchor. “
“As long as we do not have any warning signals, we will continue”
If the tension was palpable, no event disrupted the arrival of the Ocean Fifty Primonial by Sébastien Rogues and Matthieu Souben around 10 p.m. in Martinique (3 hours in Paris). The rest of the fleet – and in particular the maxi-trimarans Edmond de Rothschild (Franck Cammas and Charles Caudrelier), Banque Populaire (Armel Le Cléach and Kévin Escoffier) or SVR Lazartigue (François Gabart and Tom Laperche) expected on Tuesday – should experience a “normal” arrival and moor on the quays, in the public eye. “We are listening to the town hall and the prefecture,” says the general manager. As long as we do not have any warning signals, we will continue the protocol normally. “
The arrival village should reopen this Tuesday morning, while the rumor of a dismantling of some stands spread on Monday. “The village closed its doors as usual at 6 pm, two hours before the curfew,” explains Caroline Caron. The local exhibitors simply made the decision, for the night, to remove the cars and some valuables like television screens. We have no disaffection, everything will be open Tuesday at 10 am. “
A general strike began on Monday in Martinique, with fear of contagion, while Guadeloupe fell into chaos. A demonstration, supervised by trade unions, took place in Fort-de-France and strategic points, in particular the entrance to industrial zones, were blocked. In the middle of the day, a hundred demonstrators entered the heart of the village from the Jacques Vabre transatlantic. Hence the fears of clashes, ultimately not proven, last night.