Race winner Yoann Richomme took the time to savour his victory, he came to the winner’s pontoon with his arms raised up to the sky, to enjoy the welcome from his hometown crowd who had all come to cheer his arrival back to his base, the pontoon being only 300 metres from his team hangar.   

Yoann Richomme won the first edition of Retour à La Base a tough race as it was designed to be,  with a high level of adversity requiring full commitment. After uncorking a bottle of champagne, the skipper of Paprec Arkéa took the time to look back on his victory, his first ever solo win in an IMOCA.

Yoann, how did you feel at the finish line?
It was great, magnificent! The photos must be awesome! I even had a little scare: I went out on the deck to take a photo and realized that I was heading towards Groix. But winning this race is a great moment. I’m super proud to be here,  proud to finish in first place! I have a thought for Charlie (Dalin) who was not with us, as well as for Thomas (Ruyant) and Jérémie (Beyou) who had technical problems.

How would you summarize your race?
Above all, I made a tactical shift which served me. It basically was there. But I think it's due to the fact that we have a boat that is designed to go in the breeze, in more seas than the others. Perhaps I can set the cursor a little higher. In the end, I enjoyed sailing even though they are tough boats. They are committed boats but they pay you back. There are some crazy surfing moments, but you have to hang in there! Since Tuesday, I can only use barely 30% of my foils... I had to fix a lot!

“We can't operate these boats at 100% all the time! »

In what state of mind did you approach the race?
I left with a lot of motivation. We were in regatta mode all the way back to the North... Even sleeping it was hard! At one point, I told myself that we would never last ten days like this. I agreed to calm things down a little and I gradually managed to find my rhythm. There are real steps to accelerate and you have to know when to do it and that is not easy. The boats have suffered a lot, we have a lot of lessons to learn about how to handle them. We can't lead them 100% all the time otherwise we'll ruin everything! Earlier, I was surfing at 35 knots and the cursor is still very difficult to position correctly.

So you have had a good autumn!
Second in the Transat Jacques Vabre and winner of the Return to Base, I am really very proud of all the work that has been done by the team. We worked hard! Now, I want to party!

“The design of this boat is exceptional”

Is this a great reward for the work accomplished?
We've been working on this project for two years, nine months since the boat was launched... We spent a lot of time in the hangar repairing its teething problems. I've never been to the Southern Ocean but if it's anything like what we just saw, I'm ready to go! The design of this boat is exceptional, it is above what has been done elsewhere. We are able to push it further and put the cursor further. We know that it is made for rough weather, downwind conditions and heavy seas.

How did you hold up physically?
I found my rhythm on board and slept well, so I never felt in a red zone. These boats don’t allow that  You can make a daily schedule: you sleep at night, you do fix things during the day, you do a little navigation and that's it. It's really very intense.

What do you think of the welcome you just received in Lorient?
Was the cinema closed this evening? No, I find it so nice to see all these people on the pontoons! I am very lucky !