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The Ocean Fifty Arkema 4, skippered by Quentin Vlamynck and Lalou Roucayrol, crossed the finish line in the Transat Jacques Vabre Normandie - Le Havre race at 11:08:09 am in Martinique (4:08:09 pm Paris time) in 7th place. After 17 days of racing, the two men moored their boat, weary of the commitment needed to sail these 50 ft trimarans, but happy to be able to tie up Arkema 4 to the pontoon in Fort-de-France, and so celebrate the first transatlantic crossing of this boat launched in the water in the autumn of 2020.
Despite both skippers’ understandable disappointment at this result, Quentin and Lalou will take away a great deal from this Transat, a maiden voyage in many respects, in particular for Quentin, the youngest skipper in the Ocean Fifty class, who has now completed his first crossing of the Atlantic in a multihull. The emotion was all the more palpable on the main pontoon in Fort-de-France, as Lalou Roucayrol announced his retirement from Ocean Fifty competition.

Reactions of the two skippers on arrival:

Quentin Vlamynck, Arkema 4 skipper:

“Naturally, as skippers we’re disappointed at this 7th place, and, of course, for our sponsor Arkema. This result does not reflect the level of Arkema 4, nor does it reflect ours as skippers. But it’s the harsh reality of sport and competition. And the Ocean Fifty class has become a major class, with great, highly professional skippers. So, in this context, the slightest delay starts to hurt in no time.

The aim too is to learn from your defeats. We’ll be working on plenty of points this winter in order to prepare my future season even better, the main objective being the Route du Rhum solo race.

The boat performed well despite a few technical glitches, each of which we repaired. Lalou and I sailing together worked very well. We weren’t always rewarded for our efforts; it’s the name of the game in ocean regattas.

There’re also many positive points. The Arkema 4 trimaran has completed its first transatlantic voyage! It’s not easy to sail across an ocean on board these boats. I know that now, and I’d like to congratulate all the skippers in this class. The multihulls take a lot out of you, and you need to be constantly on the lookout. There’s always danger.

I’m relieved to have crossed the finish line. And, on the strength of everything I’ve learned over these last 17 days with Lalou, I can’t wait to make further improvements to the boat.”

Arkema 4 arrival in Fort-de-France.

Lalou Roucayrol, Arkema 4 co-skipper:

“We did experience a few technical troubles, at the wrong time, just as we needed to gain speed so we wouldn’t get left behind by our rivals. We definitely didn’t have typical autumn conditions in this race. After 10 Transat Jacques Vabre races for me, I was expecting more robust conditions. We had geared up the boat for breezy conditions, but that’s not at all how it panned out. However, this is early in the life of Arkema 4, and the boat has showed a huge potential. It’s a sound and reliable boat, and I’ve no doubt that Quentin will be able to push it to the limit.

As for me, you’ll no longer see me on board an Ocean Fifty sailing across the Atlantic, either two-handed or solo. Since my first Transat in 1995, I’ve witnessed the evolution of these extraordinary machines that require sharpness and vigilance.

Landing here with Quentin for me is a great joy and a nice way of turning the page. I’m delighted to have been able to pass on my know-how and my experience to him over the last 10 years. There’re now ties of brotherhood between us: we discount our age difference, when we talk it’s from one sailor to another. I will keep on supporting him, no longer as an instructor but as a peer.

If I had any (more) advice to give him, it would be to trust his instinct even more. Quentin is someone who puts a lot of thought into things, but on this type of boat, there’re times when you shouldn’t think too hard and instead let yourself be guided by your instinct. One thing is certain, I’ve full confidence in him for the adventures to come.”