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Retour a la Base: 30 Imoca's Singlehanded Transatlantic


  • Retour a la Base: 30 Imoca's Singlehanded Transatlantic


    RLB23 Start Drone3011AB0989
    all images: Anne Beauge / Return to the Base

    They were in a hurry to head home! At precisely 12 p.m. (5 p.m. Paris time), in the bay of Fort-de-France, 30 of the 32 solo sailors engaged in this first edition of the Return to La Base spectacularly gathered on the line, for a contact start which did not fail to raise the excitement of the sailors and their teams... fortunately without any damage to deplore, except for one penalty!


    Until the last minutes before departure, the sailors hesitated about which wardrobe to draw, as the weather conditions were as light as they were unstable, this Thursday, November 30 off the coast of Fort-de-France. Proof of this climate of uncertainty and excitement, Fabrice Amedeo (Nexans – Art & Fenetres) , launched a little too early, crossed the line a few seconds before the “Start start” of Return to Base sounded, suffering thus immediately a penalty of five hours , which he will have to carry out at sea.

    After this prank, in a 6-9 knot trade wind, broken by the squall lines which tore apart the majestic Martinican bay all morning, it was Sam Goodchild (For the planet) who was finally the first to extricate himself from the fleet, before being caught thanks to a laugh by Jeremie Beyou (Charal) .


    Alone on her side of the line, carefully avoiding any risk of collision, the experienced British sailor Samantha Davies (Initiatives Cœur) seemed to be doing well, before stopping in the bay, sail flapping. Because in the great lottery of light breathing, it was ultimately Boris Herrmann (Malizia) who won with an option further offshore, avoiding the pitfalls of the coast and its numerous scattered fishing traps.

    The German sailor was nevertheless followed very closely by Louis Burton (Bureau Vallee 3) and Yoann Richomme (Paprec-Arkea) , well placed in his wake, while behind, the New Zealand skipper Conrad Colman (Mail Boxes etc…) was doing also a great operation, even having fun crushing the two favorites of the race, Thomas Ruyant (For People) and Jeremie Beyou (Charal) against each other . A close-to-the-whiskers rapprochement under tension, to the delight of nearby spectators, half-frightened, half-fascinated!


    The only downside to this postcard picture is that Sebastien Marsset (Foussier - Mon Courtier Energie) was forced to make a technical stopover following energy problems encountered on the first leg. The skipper of Port-La-Foret, who had crossed the starting line, was however able to restart the race, less than two hours after his peers.

    A handicap which should therefore prove very slight, compared to that of the two solo sailors still expected on the starting line: Tanguy Le Turquais (Lazare) and Jean Le Cam (Tout Commence en Finistere – Armor-Lux) , still approaching from Martinique. The two sailors should, however, be able to defend their chances on this return transatlantic, an essential stage on the route to the Vendee Globe. They have until Thursday, December 7, 1 p.m. local time (6 p.m. Paris time) to cross the virtual start line.


    It is with this objective in mind that many of the solo sailors left the pontoons this Thursday morning, still seeking the right compromise between their competitive ardor and the urgent need for many to complete the race without causing too much damage. to their mount. “We know that it will be a fast transatlantic race, I will do it as I feel, also looking at how the competition behaves. But if there is the opportunity to win it, I will take it! ? explained Thomas Ruyant , who has just won an impressive series of three transatlantic races and who will be making his first solo sailing on his new IMOCA For People.

    Frustrated at not having been able to defend his chances on the first leg, Damien Seguin (Groupe Apicil) , for his part, had no doubt about his desire to “press the mushroom a little” ! “The weather pattern with depressions coming from behind is also something that is close to what we can experience in the South Seas during the Vendee Globe. So there are plenty of lessons to be learned from this! ?, explained the Lorient skipper.

    Other sailors should, however, have a slightly more cautious approach to this ascent of the Atlantic via the North face, the first of which could reach the Lorient summit around December 9. “I will go a little easy with the boat to be safe for both him and me. It’s a learning race, I want to reach the end while gaining experience ,” explained Violette Dorange (Devenir) , who set off, at the age of 22, on her very first solo race aboard his IMOCA. “It’s the biggest challenge I’ve ever faced,” admitted the youngest in the race, happy to return to the ocean, but also to head “back home” to conclude an intense 2023 season for the entire race. IMOCA fleet. Next stop: Lorient Base!
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