At the end of a breathtaking final and a hard-fought battle with Boris Hermann (Malizia-Seaexplorer), Yoann Richomme has won this latest edition of The Transat CIC. Eight years after the Armel Le Cléac'h - Vincent Riou duel, it was the skipper of the IMOCA Paprec Arkéa who came out on top in this incredible mano-a-mano.

Yoann Richomme crossed the line at 20:23 and completed the course after 8 days, 6 hours, 53 minutes and 32 seconds of racing. An outsider for a long time, he took the lead of the race last Thursday by overtaking Charlie Dalin before holding on to the finish despite the return of Boris Herrmann. This is one of the most prestigious victories of his career. He has added his name to the list of winners of this emblematic race alongside some of France's greatest sailors: from Eric Tabarly to François Gabart, not forgetting Alan Colas, Yvon Fauconnier, Philippe Poupon, Francis Joyon, Loick Peyron and Michel Desjoyeaux. 


Finish time: 20:23 (French time)
Race time: 8 days 6 hours 53 min 32 sec
Distance covered: 3293.55 miles
Average speed (on the great circle route): 14.83 knots
Actual average speed: 16.56 knots


So he held on, right to the end, hung in there and never gave up. Yoann Richomme is a Figaro racer at heart, one of those skippers who show incredible resilience at the helm. He's one of those guys who's capable of doing himself harm, of forgetting everything in order to hold on, make progress and move forward a little faster than the others. Yoann demonstrated this in this breathtaking end to the race, forcing us to be constantly riveted on his onboard adjustments and, for all the others, to compulsively refresh the 'carto' to make sure we didn't miss anything.

Conquering the West... and the IMOCA class

A hard worker, Yoann also likes to stick to the goals he has set himself. Last Saturday, he confided: "I'd really like to win this bloody race! There are many reasons for this: the pleasure of entering New York as a winner, having lived on the east coast for four years during his teenage years; the joy of adding his name to the list of winners of a legendary race, having already won the last two editions of the Route du Rhum - Destination Guadeloupe in Class40; the opportunity to demonstrate once again that he can be counted on, all the time and in every race.
His boat, the IMOCA Paprec Arkéa, designed by Finot-Conq and Antoine Koch - like Thomas Ruyant's boat - is a rocket launched to conquer the IMOCA Championship and the forthcoming Vendée Globe. Her debut - since her launch in February 2023 - has been stunning: 2nd in the Rolex Fastnet Race and the Transat Jacques Vabre - Normandie Le Havre with Yann Eliès as co-skipper, winner of the Retour à la Base and now of the mother of all transatlantic races, The Transat CIC.

© Yann Riou - polaRYSE

Good management and acceleration

However, after three months in the yard and a handful of sails, everything still had to be done. Yoann had to get back into the swing of things and manage to hold his own in points of sail where he felt a little less at ease than his rivals. Shy at the start of the race, plagued by "a few minor technical problems", he, like the rest of the fleet, had to face up to the difficulties at the start. "It's rough, it's violent, it's unstable, it's uncomfortable". Yoann is aware of this but isn't complaining. He knows that it's all a question of time, that you have to know how to hold on and bend your back to accelerate at the right moment.
The moment in question came last Thursday when he decided to lengthen his pace and passed Charlie Dalin (MACIF Santé Prévoyance) to the north, who was clearly having technical problems. Richomme is reminiscent of those cyclists who know how to attack and strike when the peloton seems to be running out of steam. When fatigue sets in, they do so with striking lucidity and composure.

His definition of the American dream

What followed was a lesson in resilience. He knows that his position at the front does not guarantee him anything and the closer he gets to the line, the more obvious this becomes. In this long corridor between the cetacean exclusion zone and the west of a low-pressure system, the conditions are very changeable, harassing before becoming very light. During the last night, the leader made headway at less than 5 knots. Behind him, the chase is on and one skipper, Boris Herrmann, is making up the lost ground to within 15 miles! In his comments, Yoann shows a certain phlegm: "Boris is putting me under pressure, it's the regatta, I would have preferred to arrive more relaxed". A tight finish worthy of a stage in the Solitaire du Figaro Paprec!
So it was a fight to the finish, and as always, adversity makes victory that little bit sweeter. His progress over the past few months is a vertigo in itself, illustrating that a project can start three years ago, that a new boat can be launched a year ago and still win two transatlantic races. Yoann Richomme will have the opportunity to savour the ten or so hours of sailing between crossing the line and arriving in New York Bay, passing under the Statue of Liberty, popping the champagne and offering his own definition of the American dream.

Source : The Transat CIC