Jack Bouttell and Gildas Mahé forced to retire from Transat Jacques Vabre
At 1630 this afternoon Team Concise co-skippers Jack Bouttell, an Alumni of the Artemis Offshore Academy, and Gildas Mahé announced their retirement from the 2015 Transat Jacques Vabre after sustaining structural damage to their Class 40 ‘Team Concise’ in bad weather.
“We were sailing in 20 knots of winds with 30 knot gusts and the sea state was building,” Bouttell reported. “We were reaching at boat speeds of around 18 to 19 knots. We peeled to a smaller jib trying to slow down and be conservative; other boats were flying past us. We were expecting heavy conditions for up to four days, so wanted to save the boat as much as we could.”
Mahé continued: “We heard a loud crack and went to investigate. We found quite serious structural damage to the boat, so set to work making as many repairs as we could to make the boat as safe as possible.”
The damage was reported to Race Management in the early hours, and the duo then made the difficult decision to divert to Crosshaven, Ireland and assess the situation. The decision was made by the skippers to retire.
“All of the team are obviously disappointed for the guys,” said Team Concise director, Ned Collier Wakefield. “They had been sailing a great race leading the fleet out west and had shown their own and the boat’s potential.”
Both experienced short-handed sailors, Bouttell and Mahé had high hopes for the Transat Jacques Vabre. Their abandonment of the race comes as a devastating blow for the skippers and their sponsors, with Bouttell hoping the experience would take him closer to his Vendée Globe dream.
“It is so disappointing,” Bouttell explained. “We were in a good position over the first 24 hours and enjoying the race. We have been working towards the Transat Jacques Vabres for seven months. All that work is now down the drain.
Both Gildas and I were pretty dark last night, frustrated and disappointed. It didn’t feel great, but our main objective became to get to Cork safely."
Now in Ireland, repairs will begin on the boat in order to return to England. In the meantime, Bouttell and Mahé plan to make the most of the Irish hospitality – “We’re looking forward to a Guinness!”
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