There was a big fight till the finish on the Transat Jacques Vabre among the leading Class40. By far the most interesting race on this Transat. Only 23 minutes separated 1st and 2nd after more than 17 days of racing!!! The victory went to Sorel/Carpentier on V and B. They were only 4th when they crossed the doldrums, some days ago, but their final part of the race was fantastic.
They left behind Sharp/Santurde (that lead the race till the doldrums) and went on close pursuit to Chappellier/Vaillant that put on a big fight, leading till very near the finish line. We can see their disappointment when they arrived almost not celebrating. Certainly it is hard to lose almost over the finish line after a titanic effort for many days. They can be proud regarding the way they battled till the end.
You can see what I am talking about pulling back the orange button on the lower right corner of the cartography, on the link behind. Amazing fight till the finish!https://www.transatjacquesvabre.org/fr/cartographie-et-classement
But there is another winner on this race, a big one, the NA that designed all the boats that arrived on the 3 first places, Sam Manuard. The class 40 is a kind of battleground for boat designers, almost all that are meaningful in what regards designing racing boats, have designed one, from Ker to Farr, passing by Marc Lombard, Finot/Conq, Verdier, Humphreys, Owen and Clark and many others.
With this kind of competition having a full podium is just incredible and says much about Sam Manuard's ability as a designer. Sam was a solo racer coming from the minis and even if he never had a chance in what regards a big commission by a main production shipyard (and that's unfair) he is responsible for some of the more interesting fast small cruisers on the market, the Seascape. You can read (link below) a very interesting interview he gave about boat design, one that is very important to understand the diference between new and old designs in what regards sailing downwind (explained with videos).http://interestingsailboats.blogspot.pt/2014/03/sam-manuard-on-design-of-performance.html
On the Volvo Ocean race, after a domination by the French/New Zealand crew of the Chinese boat, that lasted almost all the race, on the final part Mapfre, the Spanish boat, this time with mostly a Spanish crew, managed to overtake them and finished with a small lead. I guess that these two teams will be dominating the race from now on. In my opinion they are the strongest. My bet goes to Dongfeng, even if they lost this one to Mapfre.