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L’Esprit d’équipe 2nd in McIntyre Ocean Globe

Team L'Esprit d'équipe expresses gratitude to family and friends for their unwavering support throughout the campaign. Credit: Don McIntyre / OGR2023

French Whitbread Winner L’Esprit d’équipe Takes Second In Line Honours in McIntyre Ocean Globe!
Misses Out on Snatching Leg 4 IRC from Pen Duick VI by just 1 hr 54 Mins

  • At 20:27 UTC on 13th April French ex-Whitbread winner L’Esprit d’équipe FR (85) crossed the Royal Yacht Squadron finish line, Cowes, after 39 days at sea and 6768 nm sailed, taking second in line honours for Leg 4. Second French yacht across the line in 48 hours!
  • The 1985 Whitbread winner just missed out on taking 1st in IRC from French rival Pen Duick VI FR (14) by 1hr and 54 mins.
  • Skipper Lionel Regnier and crew were greeted by emotional family and friends clearly overjoyed to welcome the L’Esprit d’équipe, who battled non-stop to top the Leg 4 leaderboard.

The light had faded as the former Whitbread winner L’Esprit d’équipe FR (85) from LES SABLES D’OLONNE France took second-in-line honours for Leg 4 of the McIntyre Ocean Globe Race, crossing the Royal Yacht Squadron, Cowes at 20:27 UTC after 39 days of racing from Punta del Este, Uruguay to the UK.

Designed by architect Philippe Briand, L’Esprit d’équipe, formerly known as 33 Export and Esprit de Liberté, has participated in three Whitbread races, winning the 1985 edition. Credit: Aïda Valceanu/ OGR2023

Skipper Lionel Regnier and his seven crews fought extremely hard down to the last mile in the knowledge they were in the running to take first in IRC for Leg 4 from Pen Duick VI FR (14), who crossed the line two days ago. But it was not to be, missing out on snatching the coveted IRC title by just 1 hr 54 mins. They now sit second on the IRC leaderboard for Leg 4.

Beaming with pride, skipper Lionel explained what completing the circumnavigation on such an iconic yacht means to him and his crew.

Oh yes I’m exhausted but I’m very, very happy to be here. It’s been a long project. But we have achieved everything we wanted to. The crew worked so hard to achieve this result. I think tomorrow I will feel it all for real.

Lionel Regnier, skipper of L’Esprit d’équipe
We have achieved everything we wanted to. The crew worked so hard to achieve this result. I think tomorrow I will feel it all for real.- Lionel Regnier, skipper of L’Esprit d’équipe. Credit: Tim Bishop/PPL

First Mate, Pierre-Yves Cavan, also spoke of his immense pride in being part of L’Esprit d´équipe and recognised the outstanding history of the yacht.

We are all very proud. It’s amazing to come in second place, it’s the last leg so there was nothing to lose so we pushed as hard as we could from the start to the finish line. It was the perfect leg. This boat won the fourth leg with Lionel Péan in the 1985 Whitbread, so we have to respect that and try to do the same. We are only 2nd but it’s a big achievement.

Pierre Yves, First Mate of L’Esprit d´équipe, who admitted that this was his last race! But we’ll wait and see. 

Twenty-two-year-old Mathias Lestienne is naturally delighted to have fulfilled his dream of sailing around the world.

I don’t really realise what I have achieved yet. It has been a really long journey and there has been a lot of emotion and time to reflect. On a personal level, I think I’ve matured. I’ve got used to being without a phone and I’ve had to learn how to get bored! Instead of being on a phone we spent time reading books and talking to each other and that has been very interesting for me.

Mathias Lestienne, crew of L’Esprit d´équipe.
Watch the full interview on our YouTube channel.

It was during this leg of the OGR that L’Esprit d’équipe proved what she is capable of after slipping in the rankings on previous races. From the offset on March 5th in Punta del Este, the distinctive yacht was at the top of the fleet in a challenging leg due to fickle wind. At times leading the fleet. But she lost miles in the last week surrendering the lead to Pen Duick VI.

It has not always gone so well for L’Esprit d’équipe. Leg 1 saw them finish 6th across the line in Cape Town and 9th in IRC. She came 5th in line honours for Leg 2 and 9th once again in IRC in the Cape Town to Auckland leg after receiving a 12-hour time penalty for failing to leave a waypoint to starboard in the Southern Ocean. Leg 3 also proved challenging when the crew discovered rigging failure after rounding Cape Horn, forcing them to sail more conservatively towards Punta del Este. They ranked 8th in IRC and 5th in line honours. But it’s Leg 4 that she has finally found her form and without a doubt is her most successful leg.  

The crew of L’Esprit d’équipe proudly sports new statement t-shirts. Credit: Don McIntyre / OGR2023

Hailing from and sponsored by the sailing town of Les Sables-d’Olonne in West France, the stylish yacht sailed in the 1981 Whitbread under the name 33 Export. She abandoned the race after dismasting in the Indian Ocean. Skippered by Lionel Péan, she would go on to win the 1985 Whitbread, securing her place in sailing history alongside the legends. She would see success again winning her class in the 1989 race, with Patrick Tabarly leading the charge.

THIS ICONIC YACHT IS NOW FOR SALE TO ANYONE WISHING TO ENTER THE 2027 OCEAN GLOBE RACE.

OGR FINISH INFORMATION

Finish Line:
Royal Yacht Squadron, Cowes, UK
Berthing:
Once crossing the line, the yachts will be berthed at Trinity Landing in West Cowes for 48 hours.

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