Huusela and Ferguson finish Transat Jacques Vabre

The Finnish-Irish IMOCA skipper duo finished the legendary coffee route race Transat Jacques Vabre today morning at 08:22:14 UTC -3.That was an achievement of one kind with the heavily wreked mainsail.

This race did not turned out as the duo had liked. After a great start on Sunday Oct 27th they fell victim to the mainsail starting to fall apart on night. First reef went in off Guernsey and that put a small hole in the panel above reef three. The duo made sure they would safely get out the channel under canvased which we did and entered Biscay. Once the wind went forward the mainsail started to fall to pieces in front of the skippers. There was no chance to fix a delaminated mainsail. Two days upwind later Ariel2 showed the world a picture of her mainsail.

”To think that after 48 hours into the race one half of my head was thinking which Port has the closest airport or should we just retire and sail under jib back to France. The other half was thinking lets see where this journey could take us, Cascais?Madeira? Or the Canary Islands?”, says Mikey Ferguson. 

Skippers are glad they didn’t take the easy option of retiring with a DNF. Those thoughts had been massively out weighed by positive thoughts and new achievements along the way.

”We both sail the boat very differently. My goal was to get Ari out of a comfort zone and push the boat a bit harder than if he was on his own. We’ve done that. We’ve gone through Vendée Globe sail plan. What is required and what can stay in the container. The media set up has now been fully tried and tested. The charging systems all work perfectly but there are upgrades available to make life even easier. Simple things like stacking have all been improved on.  We were never going to win this race but we have probably got more than most out of this”, Ferguson continues.

To finish this race on this Friday 15th felt like a win to Huusela and Ferguson. Ariel2 did it in 18 days, 23 hours, 7 minutes and 14 seconds and became 26th (29) in IMOCA class. 

”We had to start with a spare main. So we knew the risks. But in the end for me securing my position in Vendée Globe ranking by getting these miles was the top priority. I could not be happier that we did the impossible”, tells Huusela.

Finnair Airbus A350 Captain Ari Huusela became the first Scandinavian and Finnish sailor ever to finish this legendary double-handed race.

Mikey Ferguson, Ari Huusela

Photos: Jari Salo, Sailingimage