Transat Jacques Vabre: Croatian and Japanese Class40 sailors finish

The dream of completing the Transat Jacques Vabre race has become a reality for Olympic skier Ivica Kostelic and Japanese sailor Masa Suzuki.

Former world champion skier Ivica Kostelic and his French co-skipper Calliste Antoine also turned their dream of competing in the race into a reality. They crossed the finish line in 17th place out of 45 Class40 starters, having put in a consistently strong performance despite sailing an older boat.

 Ivica Kostelic and Calliste Antoine talking to press on the dock.
Ivica Kostelic and Calliste Antoine. Pic – TJV

Croatia Full of Life was built in 2013 and lacks the go-faster scow-bow of the later designs, nevertheless the pair stuck to the leading pack for the whole race.

Ivica Kostelic: “The race was very long. But for me it was probably one of my best races, the best I have ever done. We never expected to be so high in the rankings, in the fleet for so long. For me, the goal was to finish in the top twenty. We achieved it! It means we always exceeded our limits and that’s something I try to do consistently, no matter what type of boat.”

The Croatian/French pair reached third place at Cape Verde but admitted, at the time, that they would struggle to hold that position against the newer boats. This  realistic approach helped them enjoy the race. Calliste Antoine: “It was great to share a transatlantic race with a champion like Ivica. It was very hard at times because we were just on the edge in terms of food, but we did it! We pushed the boat 100 per cent, we have no regrets. We hung in there always pushing hard.”

Masa Suzuki and Anne Beaugé talking to press on the dock.
Masa Suzuki and Anne Beaugé. Pic – TJV

Japan’s Masa Suzuki and French co-skipper Anne Beaugé sailed their boat Milai across the finish line in 18th place, three hours 30 minutes behind Croatia Full of Life.

The light winds that defined the race and dogged many of the newer boats, were actually an advantage for Milai, “There was little wind and this was good for our boat. We are super happy and content, we had good communication on the boat. It’s a good experience for me,” said Suzuki.

His Lorient-based team-mate and photographer says the race was an amazing experience, “A wonderful race, we didn’t have strong wind, but our boat didn’t lose too much distance on the others. We had a great time. Life on board was great, Masa and I speak English and we had a lot of fun.

“The moments that I remember are the sunsets, which gave us magnificent colours, and the sailing along Portugal. Tactically we had a lot of fun and it was very interesting.”

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