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Saturday Night Fever: Lead IMOCA's Charging Towards New York


  • Saturday Night Fever: Lead IMOCA's Charging Towards New York

    Saturday Night Fever….top IMOCAs charging towards New York

    The top trio on the Transat CIC solo race to New York from Lorient, France are charging towards the finish line averaging over 22kts. A slow down is forecast which should see some compression but this Saturday night with just under 700 miles to sail, Yoann Richomme on the Finot Koch designed Paprec Ark?a is over 70 miles ahead of Charlie Dalin with Germany’s Boris Herrmann (Malizia-Seaexplorer) now in a slightly more defined third place at five miles ahead of Briton Sam Davies (Initiatives Coeur). And since last night Italy’s Ambrogio Beccaria (Alla Grande Pirelli) holds the lead in Class 40 by nearly 40 miles over Ian Lipinski (Credit Mutuel) who this evening is three or four knots slower than Beccaria on his Musa 40.

    image: PolaRyse

    We caught up with the leaders today…..

    Being in the lead, what changes psychologically?

    Yoann Richomme: “What changes is that I feel pressure! I would love to win this damn race! It’s so complicated to get everything right and the goal is still far away. I give it my all, being in the lead gives a form of intensity to each decision that I didn't feel before. I try to put things into perspective to think calmly and always try to be one step ahead.”

    Ambrogio Beccaria: “For the moment, mentally, it doesn’t change anything. But it helps me and encourages me because it shows that I am doing things the right way. Our coach, Tanguy Leglatin told us that this race is an ultra trail run and I think he is completely right. Here I am in the lead for the first time in the race but I know that what awaits us is so long that it means nothing.”

    How can we explain this level of intensity since the start?

    Y.R: “When I see the list of competitors, I’m not really surprised. For example I don't know how many Solitaire de Figaro have been contested by each of them, but they are skippers who have this culture of high performance. I knew it was going to be intense from start to finish and it really will be. I know that with the slightest mistake, the group behind me will catch me. The sporting level has risen among everyone.”

    A.B: “I expected this, I didn’t think the intensity of the race was going to be any lowern it is. This is also why I came to compete in The Transat CIC. I wanted to see how far we could go. It’s true that from the start, the pace has been incredible!”

    How do you view the race of the skippers chasing you?

    Y.R: “This is a good group at the head of the race with Charlie (Dalin, MACIF Sante Prevoyance, 2nd), Boris Herrmann (Malizia – Seaexplorer, 3rd), Sam Davies (Initiatives Cœur, 4th) and Maxime Sorel (V and B – Monbana – Mayenne) and everyone is pushing hard. It is super clean. There is a level of navigation and preparation that results in a very close match even for those who take slightly different options. I have a lot of respect for what they do.”

    A.B.: “Until today I was one of the pursuers. I find that Ian (Lipinski, Credit Mutuel) highlights that he is a great champion. He does not have the fastest reaching boat and in the end, he was in the lead for the entire reaching part. His start to the race is incredible. I'm a little disappointed for Nicolas (d'Estais, Cafe Joyeux) who always makes great starts but who probably has to deal with technical problems, it's a real shame. He deserved to be in the good package. Fabien (Delahaye, LEGALLAIS) is one of the favorites and he remains so!”

    What do you expect in to the finish? Y.R:

    “We have a downwind leg that started this morning and we were caught by a bank of fog. It’s super cold, the water must be at 2? and the air not much more. It’s impossible to make too many sail changes in these temperatures. It looks like the Southern Ocean but more extreme sometimes. Then there is a transition area and an ending that looks long and slow depending on the timing. This is why I can't even give an ETA. 5% difference in speed can result in a 24-hour difference, so it's not easy to say.

    A.B.: “There are lots of things that will happen in the next five days of sailing! We have almost one new weather phenomenon per day. Now it's a nice straight path to get to the anticyclone and then there's a very rapid succession of different weather systems. I'm even having trouble seeing it clearly in my head, it's going too fast! It's moving in all directions: I have no idea with what wind we're going to finish in New York!

    Does being in the lead allow you to be more open in your approach or on the contrary is it an added pressure?

    Y.R: “It’s obviously a lot more pressure. It was not bad being right behind Charlie (laughs)! As the finish gets closer, there will be additional intensity. I try to detach myself from the result because I know that until the finish, everything can change.

    A.B.: “No, not at all. The classification it just lets me know if I'm doing things in the right order. It’s a little extra, of course, but I’m not going to spend my time looking at others. We all have different boats, we all have different problems. I have such a small lead with five days to go... I don't feel freer than before!


    The big squeeze in IMOCA, new leader in Class 40

    Transat CIC IMOCA race leader Yoann Richomme (Paprec Arkea) has seen his margin shrink very slightly as he sprints towards New York, at under 1000 miles to the finish line. Now with the cetacean exclusion zone coming into play to their north the strategic options for the moment are becoming more limited. And in Class 40 since early this morning Italy’s Ambrogio Beccaria (Alla Grand Pirelli) is now leading.

    As the IMOCA pacemakers pass the longitude of Cap Race on Newfoundland Island and the Cape Race lighthouse – the Transatlantic Beacon which received the distress call from the Titanic – there will at least be the feeling of reaching the first part of the home strait for the IMOCA peloton and certainly being closer to land even if Newfoundland is 250 miles to the north. And the leaders will pass the spot where the Titanic sank today. Back in mid 19th century a newsboat was kept out there to telegraph first news of liners and ships heading into New York.

    In the brisk NE’ly wind it’s a speed race for now while the wind holds in, but the pressure gradient is slackening all the time, the isobars opening and a slower finish is on the cards. Richomme still has three rivals within 70 miles, Charlie Dalin (MACIF Sante et Prevoyance) has pulled in to be 44 miles behind, Sam Davies (Initiatives Coeur) is third at just under 20 miles behind Dalin. The Brit has Germany’s Boris Herrmann (Malizia Seaexplorer) virtually alongside and both are 63 miles behind the leader.

    Sam Davies said yesterday of her tussle with Boris, reflecting exactly what the German said “It’s very motivating to be side by side, to have the same objective, it helps us both to catch up.”

    All three are very slightly south of Richomme’s line which – in what appears to be a lifting NE’ly breeze - will give them slightly more time on the favoured, more direct course whilst Richomme will be forced to gybe first in about six hours time. The fundamental principle is spending most time heading more directly towards the finish.

    Yann Eli?s, one of the race’s assistant directors said this morning “Having a versatile boat is good for Yoann.” And he underlines again that Dalin has been the victim of technical problems which forced him to slow down for a few hours yesterday around midday to find a solution.

    “Since then he seems to have returned to relatively stable speeds and his deficit is nothing bad.” Eli?s confirm.

    Francis Le Goff the Race Director explains the meteo, “They will remain in a northerly flow but it is not constant in strength or direction. It is possible that there are little holes and less wind here and there and they have to get used to it because it's the program for more than 200 miles. And all this is not well modeled, it can vary suddenly from 12 to 17 knots. They will undoubtedly be going through sails.”

    Le Goff adds. “For Monday, it is a little more uncertain, it is not yet clear even if the tendency is to maintain similar conditions. A lot can still happen before the finish, no lead is safe”

    SPRINTING IN CLASS40. Acceleration before a big question mark

    In the Class40s they will continue to truck along all day long. “The depression is very stable, the flow from the North, North-East still as strong as is the sea,” specifies Francis Le Goff. They still have several hours to go. Then next is a period of fast surfing like the IMOCAs yesterday with a slightly flatter sea, good angles and the opportunity to accelerate.” That should be good for the Italian leader on Alla Grande Pirelli, who reported this morning,

    “It is very, very nice. It is very sweet to have this sensation of being first for one of the first times on this race. Wonderful. But there is still a long way, and even right now to get out of this depression is going to be hard work with a lot of manoeuvres but for the moment I am very, very happy.” Said Ambrogio this morning after having stolen first from Ian Lipinski (Credit Mutuel) who is 5 miles away and ahead of Fabien Delahaye LEGALLAIS, 3rd) and Nicolas d'Estais (Cafe Joyeux , 4th).

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