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Excessive Winds Keep 3 Fleets In Port While Ultim's Progress Slowed By Light Air


  • Excessive Winds Keep 3 Fleets In Port While Ultim's Progress Slowed By Light Air

    01 November 2023 - 13h06
    Starting again Sunday still being looked at for the IMOCAs, nothing before Monday for the Class40 and Ocean Fifty boats

    At a press meeting this lunchtime, Francis Le Goff, the Race Director and Gildas Gautier, co-director of the Transat Jacques Vabre Normandie Le Havre, ran through the various scenarios for the start for the boats currently on hold in Le Havre and Lorient.

    We have just finished our latest look at the weather. There is no apparent break in the weather before Monday, which would allow the two classes of boats moored up in Lorient to set off. That does not mean that they will definitely be going on Monday. For the IMOCAs, a possible start on Sunday is still being studied. Conditions remain rough with lots of wind and heavy seas. We shall be working with the class to see how we can plan this in quieter conditions. It is not impossible that if the start does take place, a way-point may be planned to prevent the boats taking a northerly route, which would be very exposed. That is also the case for the Class40 and Ocean Fifty fleets.”

    That is howFrancis Le Goff summarised the possibilities for a new start for the IMOCA, Class40 and Ocean Fifty boats, to enable them to join the ULTIMs currently at sea. Differences in weather forecasts depending on the models for the end of the week lead everyone to be very cautious, as Gildas Gautier explained: “We are all frustrated and disappointed and there is a financial impact for the Transat Jacques Vabre Normandie Le Havre. But, as was the case last Sunday, it is the safety of the boats and the sailors that remains the priority when we organise these new starts.”

    The organisers of the Coffee Race are currently monitoring the progress of Storm Ciaran as it reaches the English Channel and near Atlantic tonight and tomorrow.

    “Instructions have been given in both ports,” added Francis Le Goff at midday. “A logistics team is in Lorient to work alongside the Sellor (port authorities). Individual solutions have been found by Julien Bothuan (Chief harbourmaster in Lorient La Base) so that no boat is side by side. In Le Havre, a large number of Race Directors and the sea team are on the spot. The pontoons have been moved so that the boats are in the axis of the wind and not beam on when the wind veers to the West (…) The Village was quickly dismantled so that nothing flies around and trucks have been put in place to act as a screen. Another tour of inspection will take place this afternoon.”

    Stalling around Madeira

    Charles Caudrelier and Erwan Israel have known since last Sunday’s start in Le Havre that the transition southward would require a great deal of patience as they try to negotiate an area of light winds. Indeed, following an intense start to the race in some difficult and boisterous conditions for both the men and their machines, as they close on the Portuguese archipelago of Madeira this morning the ambiance is flat calm on the deck of the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild. In reality, a ridge of high pressure is sprawled across the ULTIMs’ route, causing their progress towards the trade wind to slow dramatically. Synonymous with a windless zone, as well as a general bunching up of the fleet, this section has the air of a restart and it could be an important turning point in this 16th Transat Jacques Vabre Normandie Le Havre.
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