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The IMOCA's Are In The Starting Gates


  • The IMOCA's Are In The Starting Gates

    November 6, 2023

    40 IMOCAs which have been starving to start are ready to rumble!

    At 9:30 tomorrow morning, the 40 IMOCAs will finally set off from Le Havre and the entire fleet of the four classes of the 16th Transat Jacques Vabre Normandy Le Havre will then point its bows towards Fort de France. With 25 knots of wind forecast, the conditions will be bracing but manageable and should deliver superb images broadcast live between the start line and a show buoy to be left on the starboard side, 4 miles away on the Cotentin road.

    It goes without saying that after their long wait, skippers and co-skippers are eager to do battle. This is good because it is without transition that they will go from the cozy mainland to the harshness of the open sea. Less than 24 hours after departure, a first front, brief but active, awaits them at the end of the Channel...

    The pontoons in Le Havre, where the IMOCAs have been moored for 20 days now, have regained the excitement characteristic of the eve of the big departure. At the time of the last briefing, we meet, everyone has their little say, it's about the weather, the timing of the reversal and the passage of the front... while on the pontoons, the preparers put a final touch on the refueling revised at the decrease taking into account the new shortened route.

    The IMOCAs are leaving for 3,765 miles towards Fort de France, a journey that the first could complete in a dozen days. Regardless of the number of miles revised downwards, “ the bellows has not fallen and our desire to race intact ” was the substance of Thomas Ruyant's 2 p.m. press conference today, title holder who aligns for the second time with Morgan Lagravi?re on their new For People.


    Like this pair of favorites, all the IMOCAs have ants in the foils, or the fins, it depends. “ This week of waiting has been endless! (…) A special period where you stay at home monitoring the weather without really enjoying everyday life. The deadline is approaching, so we must not get hurt, not party,…” confided this morning Martin Le Pape who is visibly eager to discover what the new STAND AS ONE has in his stomach. The David Raison plan that he is leading alongside Eric Bellion will try to follow the pace set by the best IMOCA foils, he who has chosen to do without them by focusing on lightness and its scow hull.

    The first verdict will fall quite quickly with the appearance of power because as soon as they leave the Bay of Seine and round the Cotentin, a westerly breeze of 20-25 knots awaits the IMOCAs which will have to tack in the Channel "The start will be bracing in a disturbed westerly flow with quite a few small squalls and gusts to 30 knots assures Julien Villion, teammate of Justine Mettraux on Teamwork, renowned as a fine strategist. “ Already during the day on Tuesday, we have two wind rotations to play, one blow to the right, one blow to the left to position ourselves towards Ushant upon the arrival of a first fairly strong front. ” The episode will be brief but promises 35 knots on the wind fields with slaps of more than 40... Enough to make a first selection of everyone's ambitions while the shift to the rear sounds like a first sesame to win in the South. “ We're hot but focused because the start isn't going to be very funky! ? confirms Clarisse Cremer who studies the routings with Alan Roberts in the press room opened this morning at the Carre des Docks in Le Havre . “These first 48 hours are not what you come for on a deckchair but you have to go through these moments to have the right to play in nicer conditions afterwards! "added the sailor who is one of the outsiders for the podium on her Occitane en Provence, Charlie Dalin's ex-Apvia.


    If the road to Fort de France is long, the pace set in the first miles to meet the front will once again be decisive for the future. The leaders should attack the front in the early hours of Wednesday morning, right around Brittany with the DST of Ouessant to be left to port or starboard to spice up the game a little more... Only then could the fleet be able to separate into two groups. The most daring or those who want to minimize the distance to be covered - which could be the case for several drift boats - will undoubtedly opt for a fairly direct trajectory, nevertheless leaving Santa Maria to starboard as required by the Sailing Instructions. Those who want to preserve their mount or simply think that the route along Portugal passing under high pressures is the right one, will open the sheets earlier.

    Invigorating and tactical this Route du Cafe, this is the menu that the 40 IMOCAs came to seek out. To have clear ideas tomorrow morning, you won't have to hang around town this evening. Because from 4 a.m., the departure ball in the Paul Vatine basin will be open. Some skippers have already planned to only rejoin their boat once the boat has left the locks, with two extra hours of sleep to boot. What is taken is no longer to be taken...

    For early risers, on the quays of the Paul Vatine basin tomorrow from 4 a.m.…

    On social networks:
    From 9:10 a.m. live on the race's social networks (Facebook and YouTube, with an English version only available on YouTube)

    On the race website in French and English.
    On television: From 9:10 a.m. to 10:03 a.m. on France 3 Normandy, Pays de la Loire, Brittany and Ile de France
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