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Les Sables - Horta: Bona-Santurde take the general ranking and Macaire-Lagravière the second leg!

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- Xavier Macaire and Morgan Lagravière won the second leg ahead of Achille Nebout and Gildas Mahé then Alberto Bona and Pablo Santurde del Arco.
- In the overall rankings, the IBSA duo won by 37 minutes and 20 seconds ahead of Groupe SNEF and 59 minutes and 45 seconds ahead of Amarris.
- Alberto Bona has scored his first major victory on the Class40 circuit. Pablo Santurde del Arco has now won the event for the second time, after a first victory in the 2027 edition alongside his compatriot Gonzalo Botin.

The final stretch of the second stage of the Les Sables - Horta - Les Sables was shaping up to be potentially tricky and likely to reshuffle the cards. It had the effect of significantly narrowing the gaps between the top nine, who all arrived in a flurry last night, but also of giving Alberto Bona and Pablo Santurde del Arco a few cold sweats. The IBSA duo, who enjoyed a lead of 1h37 over their closest pursuers at the end of the outward leg, experienced a few doubts in the final miles after seeing Achille Nebout and Gildas Mahé reap the rewards of their northerly option and then Xavier Macaire and Morgan Lagravière demonstrate a great deal of daring between the tip of Brittany and the finish. The fact remains that although they completed the 1,280-mile course between Horta and Port Olona in third place behind the duos of Groupe SNEF and Amarris at the crack of dawn on Friday, the Italian-Spanish duo took a resounding victory in the overall rankings, taking over from Antoine Carpentier and Mikaël Mergui in the race's prize list.

After a long port tack of nearly 1,000 miles, which began as soon as they left the islands of the Azores archipelago, followed by a major gybe off the Ushant Traffic Separation Scheme yesterday morning, the duos on Les Sables - Horta - Les Sables were expecting the last few miles to be relatively complicated on the way back down to the Vendée. In fact, it was on this section of the course that the match was decided. It was a tactical section, to say the least, during which the gaps between the first nine boats, and in particular between the three leaders, narrowed considerably. As proof of this, while they had managed to break away to a lead of up to 22 miles yesterday morning, shortly after triggering their big right-hand turn to the north-west of the DTS off Ushant, reaping the benefits of a perfectly controlled northerly option, Achille Nebout and Gildas Mahé quickly saw their rivals close the gap off the tip of Brittany. "We arrived with complicated timings and found ourselves a little trapped. This type of scenario is part of our sport, but it's always a blow to morale when it happens," recounted the co-skipper of Amarris, who thought he'd done most of the work and was on course for a stage victory.  This was without taking into account the contrary current between Sein and the pointe de Penmarch, or the weakening wind. "We thought they'd gone far ahead and that we wouldn't see them again, but we crossed in front of them off Belle-Ile after having really played close to the coast, particularly around Groix," explained Xavier Macaire, who then took control of the fleet and never let go."The routing was really extreme ashore.We had to make choices, not without a certain amount of stress", added the sailor from Sablais, who won the race in Les Sables d'Olonne at exactly 2 hours on Friday, after 4 days and 11 hours of racing.

Doubts and a good dose of stress
"On the whole, it was a very demanding leg. In spite of everything, we managed to enjoy ourselves from start to finish, to make the boat work and to think strategically," summed up Morgan Lagravière, whose duo with the skipper of Groupe SNEF had already caused a stir in the Figaro Bénéteau Sardinha Cup two years ago, when they won the event in a clear round. Alberto Bona and Pablo Santurde del Arco had dreamed of a clear round in this 9th edition of the Les Sables - Horta - Les Sables, after a well-run first leg and a fast start to the return leg. "The guys from Amarris sailed really well on the return leg. They took a very clear option right from the start. As for us, we never envisaged the same trajectory as them. We didn't have the right sail for it. As a result, we unfolded our game by staying a little more on the inside and that worked very well for a long time. Until there was more wind to the north. From then on it became a bit complicated and we clearly went through all the possible emotions", admitted Alberto Bona, who finished the race with his eyes glued to his watch, doing the maths until he crossed the line, not sure that his 1h37 lead accumulated during the first round would be enough to win in the end. "We clearly had a few doubts", admitted Pablo Santurde del Arco, who, having completed the course 40 minutes behind the duo of Xavier Macaire and Morgan Lagravière and 21 minutes behind Achille Nebout and Gildas Mahé, finally won the overall classification with a lead of 37 minutes and 20 seconds over his closest rivals. A relatively derisory lead at the end of nearly ten days of racing, which totally reflects the intensity of the debates on the water during this 9th edition, the final stage of which is expected to take place on Friday night with the finishes of the three point-to-point boats, before the prize-giving ceremony scheduled for Sunday at 11h30 in Port Olona.

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