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Barcelona World Race : Aleix Gelabert and Didac Costa take 4th

Aleix Gelabert : "I don’t feel that we made this legend bigger"

jeudi 9 avril 2015Redaction SSS [Source RP]

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In the end, the Mediterranean was kind to Aleix Gelabert and Didac Costa on One Planet One Ocean & Pharmaton. The Barcelona duo, who had fought so hard and so exceeded expectations to score a hugely deserved fourth place, were granted a respite from the battering headwinds which signalled their entry to the Alboran Sea, whilst avoiding the shoreside shutdown of breeze which plagued earlier finishers. One Planet One Ocean & Pharmaton instead enjoyed light south-south-easterlies over the course of this afternoon, which carried them downwind to the finish line in front of the W Hotel at 5-6 knots.

The duo sailed an actual distance of 27,791 miles in 98 days, 9 hours, 12 minutes and 9 seconds, at an average speed over the ground of 11.8 knots. They arrived 14 days, 3 hours, 21 minutes and 44 seconds after the winning boat, Cheminées Poujoulat, skippered by Bernard Stamm (SUI) and Jean Le Cam (FRA), who arrived on March 25 th at 18.50 local time (17.50 UTC). Second went to Guillermo Altadill (ESP) and Jose Muñoz (CHI) on Neutrogena and third to fellow Spanish skippers Anna Corbella and Gerard Marín on GAES Centros Auditivos.

The Catalan pairing onboard One Planet One Ocean & Pharmaton were the undisputed ‘rookies’ of the race – this was their first attempt at a round the world voyage, neither had ever sailed in the Southern Oceans, and yet they not only finished fourth, but were the third team to complete the course non-stop.

A thrilled Didac Costa commented immediately after finishing :

“We are very happy and we have achieved the goals we had set : finishing the round the world race. Besides, we did it quite fast so we are very satisfied. We have enjoyed a lot during the whole race, it’s been fantastic.”

Co-skipper Aleix Gelabert also paid tribute to their near rivals We A re Water, saying :

“In the end we have put some hours between us and them [We Are Water] but if you look the global course of a round the world race it is very few and well, it has been lots of fun having been with them neck-and-neck, and waiting until the last minute to see who arrived first ; it has been very tight.”

The duo

For both Aleix Gelabert and Didac Costa Barcelona is home – Didac was born here - and to complete their first ever circumnavigation in a Spanish-flagged yacht, sailing in and out of their home port, is a particularly special moment. To do so finishing fourth in an IMOCA Imoca #IMOCA 60 round the world race, having completed the course non-stop, is an inspirational achievement for the duo.

Both Gelabert and Costa began their solo racing careers in the Mini 6.50 class, competing in the 2011 Mini Transat to finish 18th in the Proto and 21st in the Series divisions respectively. Both moved up to the IMOCA Imoca #IMOCA 60s through the FNOB, Gelabert racing onboard GAES Centros Auditivos and sailing doublehanded with Anna Corbel la, as well as working as perparateur for Anna and Gerard Marín on their doublehanded Figaro campaign.

Gelabert’s first taste of the Barcelona World Race Barcelona World Race #barcelonaworldrace was as shore crew for Corbella and Dee Caffari in the previous edition of the race, in 2010. Costa, meanwhile, is relatively new to the IMOCA class, although the pair sailed some 8,000 miles together in training to prepare for the race. To follow Corbella and Marín home in fourth place will be a dream come true for both of them, having commented before the race that their ambition was to complete the course. Aleix, aged 37, is an architect by profesion and Didac, 34, a firefighter.

The boat

Gelabert and Costa’s fourth place is all the more impressive given that they were racing the oldest IMOCA 60 in the race, the 2000 design which was famously sailed by Ellen MacArthur to second in the 2000-01 Vendee Globe Vendee Globe #VG2020 . Having gone through many thorough refits and three previous round the world trips – including two Barcelona World Races – the Owen-Clarke design is a one of the most enduring of the IMOCA fleet and much loved by those lucky enough to sail on her.

Veteran racer Nick Moloney, who also competed in the Vendée Globe on board the yacht as Skandia emailed Aleix and Didac during the race to congratulate them on their position and share his memories of the yacht :

“I believe with boats is that they have a soul…a heart even. This boat (your boat) is a survivor…a battler ! Many sailors hold many great memories of their days and successes afloat on this boat…I am really delighted to see her still stretching her legs in open ocean.”

Speaking shortly after they crossed the line, Aleix Gelabert commented on the legendary history of the yacht, saying :

“I don’t feel that we made this legend bigger, I feel that we have sailed as best as possible, I think we have had a good performance on this boat and I think this boat is really a good boat and we are very very proud of it.”

The ‘One Planet, One Ocean’ campaign is part of an agreement between the FNOB and the UNESCO Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (UNESCO-IOC). As part of their voyage, Aleix and Didac were involved in collecting data on salinity levels and levels of microplastics in the water, as well as the launch of the Argo floats and the Citclops project to analyse the quality of surface seawater.

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