GUYOT environnement – Team Europe fought for every mile in their race to catch up to the leg finish in Cape Town in The Ocean Race. But on the last night before the fleet of five Imocas arrived, the crew of skipper Robert Stanjek, navigator Sébastien Simon, pit Anne-Claire Le Berre, bowman Phillip Kasüske and onboard reporter Charles Drapeau had to admit to themselves that it wouldn’t quite be enough to catch up with their four rivals. Nevertheless, they fought on and finally crossed the finish line at 16:56:27 (UTC) on 12 February directly in front of the harbour entrance of Cape Town – only three hours and 46 minutes after winner Holcim. A few days ago, the black yacht had been more than 500 nautical miles behind the competition after failing to break free from a low wind zone and also being slowed down by some sail damage. The leg lasted almost 18 days for all teams, four days longer than originally expected. In the harbour, the team was enthusiastically welcomed and embraced by their loved ones, fans and friends.
The team management with Jens Kuphal was of course on the water to accompany the crew on the last metres to the finish: “The arrival was a great moment. We were outside with Robert’s family, with his children, his wife and his parents-in-law. It was very emotional. It’s great that they all arrived safely, that all the other teams arrived safely too.
For the race as a whole, the Imoca class is a great asset. It is super exciting. Everything was still possible until this morning. It requires a lot of concentration. For ourselves, it was a great start to the leg. We had a super first week. If we had managed to get through it, it would have been sensational. We certainly imagined this leg differently. It was supposed to be a preparation for the big leg. But now it has become so extreme – over 18 days and so challenging. It was anything but a preparation.
Everything worked out well. We are totally happy. Now we’ll have beer and burgers. But we are also looking forward to the start of the next big leg. This is one of the highlights of the race. Now the preparation begins. We’re already switching our thoughts to the next leg towards Brazil.”
Shortly after the yacht had docked and Robert Stanjek had taken his family in his arms, he reviewed the leg: “The team did a great job in all conditions. We always pushed in all conditions, we drove great. We were leading for a long time, then unfortunately we stopped a little bit, couldn’t get into a risk-free position to the field because of a rain cloud accumulation. In the process, we lost a bit of contact with the field. But we came back, drove the boat fast and fought until the end. In the end, we came in just a few hours after the others – after 18 days. A great stage. We are fifth. There is nothing to discuss. But the performance was great. We’ll take a lot of learning with us into the next leg.”