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Transat Jaques Vabre

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  • Transat Jaques Vabre

    With Class 40 having their weather stop and the MOD 70’s likely to be quick enough to avoid the worst of the weather in the Bay of Biscay – the big multihull duo should be at Finisterre, or near enough, by the time the worst of the weather hits, it looks like the IMOCA Open 60 fleet and the Multi 50’s which might bear the brunt of the big winds and seas which are forecast to build almost as soon as they clear Ushant.

    First for them is the long, tactical beat out of the Channel, balancing the options of more breeze in the north against a more favourable shift in wind direction arriving first from the south. The advantage is likely to increase for the leaders and so there is considerable pressure to push as hard as possible to start with, but in the knowledge that maximum energies will be needed across the Bay of Biscay. In the very early stages it was the established favourites, Macif, sailed by Michel Desjoyeaux and Francois Gabart – who hold three Vendée Globe wins between them – who lead from the first mark, three miles from the start line, ahead of Marc Guillemot and Pascal Bidégorry.

    The 190 miles leg to Roscoff is more akin to a super short Solitaire du Figaro sprint, offering several key tactical options but with a restart possibly in lighter winds and strong tidal currents, any gains or losses could be magnified after restarting.

    Damian Foxall, IRL, Oman Air-Musandam, MOD 70: “For us it is a race to get south to Finisterre before the next strong system coming in. We should be at Ushant tomorrow morning and Finisterre the following midnight. I think we might not get there before the new wind comes in from the SW so we might have to tack to get around there in a building breeze, probably 35kts but that should be quite short lived and we should get down the Portuguese coast. The boats immediately behind us will get a lot more. For us it does not look like anything extreme. Most of the options are heading out of the Channel, getting the shifts right as we get through, inside Ushant or not and then how much we pull the helm to accelerate towards the North Coast of Spain and try and get through in one, or go for a tack. More and more this morning we are looking at a tack.

    We will very clearly watch what Edmond de Rothschild and do it better.”

    Sam Goodchild, GBR, Concise 8, Class 40: “It helps mentally to be getting out of the Channel well, to be near the front of the fleet rather than the back so that is important. With a new boat we need to know we don’t have to push too hard to catch up for example, it would be nice to hold the throttle back a little. We need to stay in touch, and not take any risks. You want to get to Roscoff without too much deficit. It will be upwind, building through the day for us.”

    Jorg Riechers GER, Mare, Class 40: “It is what it is. It is a good decision to go to Roscoff, it means we will get more boats to Itajai I think. I maybe look relaxed but the tension is inside! We have to attack the first leg like a leg of the Figaro, so no sleeping always on deck, pushing the boat really going for it because it can be quite important for the re-start which might be on Sunday with not a lot of wind and a lot of tide, so it is important. A good start and first leg is key.”


    François Gabart FRA, Macif, IMOCA : « We will be upwind for the whole channel all the way to Finisterre. There are a lot of things to do upwind and the weather models don’t say the same things. It will be interesting. Biscay looks pretty tough for us on the IMOCA’s but after Finisterre we will be going downwind in the sunshine.”

    Brian Thompson, GBR, Caterham Challenge, Class 40: “My preference would have been to carry on. It is probably going to be worse for the IMOCA 60’s and the Multi 50’s so it is looking like a wise choice to be in this class.”

    Zbigniew Gutowski, POL, Energa, IMOCA: “I am not looking forwards to the storm in Biscay so we need to be careful there but after that maximum acceleration. I am always confident. The boat is well prepared and we are ready not like the last time (Vendee Globe).”

    Alessandro di Benedetto, ITA, Team Plastique IMOCA: “The fastest boats will find themselves with the advantage so we are trying to go as fast as we can to start with and stay with them, we will push the boat as hard as we can. I am looking forwards to getting down into the tropical sunshine.
    " I just found out my nest egg has salmonella" Photo Gallery

  • #2

    At 2158hrs UTC ( 2258hrs French time) this Sunday evening race direction of the Transat Jacques Vabre double handed race from Le Havre to Itajai, Brazil received a call from Yann Elies the co-skipper of nearby FenêtréA Cardinal (0.5 miles away) to inform them that the Multi 50 trimaran Arkema - Aquitaine had capsized

    At 2204hrs UTC (2304hrs French) Arkema – Aquitaine’s co-skipper Mayeul Riffet also contacted the race director by Iridium phone to inform them that all was well aboard the capsized trimaran

    The two French skippers, Lalou Roucayrol and Mayeul Riffet, are safe. The boat is 210 miles to the west of Cascais, Portugal

    Equipped with survival suits, the pair of sailors are dry inside the trimaran and are working on how organize their rescue. Just now the sailors do not plan to leave the boat. They have activated their Argos beacon so their position and trajectory can be accurately tracked. Weather conditions in the area make organising a tow a consideration.

    More information will be sent out following a radio call to the boat at 0515hrs French time when we will try to connect with Lalou Roucayrol and Mayeul Riffet .

    Transat Jaques Vabre ~It's not the size of the website, it's how you use it! ~


    • #3
      Thank you for the update. I am sorry to read this.

      Best wishes for the sailors aboard.

      Originally posted by Max Headway View Post

      At 2158hrs UTC ( 2258hrs French time) this Sunday evening race direction of the Transat Jacques Vabre double handed race from Le Havre to Itajai, Brazil received a call from Yann Elies the co-skipper of nearby FenêtréA Cardinal (0.5 miles away) to inform them that the Multi 50 trimaran Arkema - Aquitaine had capsized



      • #4
        Catching Up With The Transat Jacques Vabre

        It has been an extremely active 72 hours in the Transat Jaques Vabre, with boat breaking, boats flipping,
        boats seeking shelter for repair. Let's try to get caught up!

        Saturday, November 09, 2013
        News Flash: Damage to Multi 50 Maitre Jacques, heading for La Coruna

        The Multi 50 Maitre Jacques which was challenging for the lead of the Multi 50 class of the Transat Jacques Vabre double handed race from Le Havre to Itajaí, Brasil is making for La Coruna, NW Spain after the two co-skippers Loïc Fequet and Loïc Escoffier suddenly realised they had sustained damage to the front of their trimaran’s starboard float. It was around 13:30 UTC early this Saturday afternoon when they were sailing in big seas at speeds of between 20 and 28 knots on starboard tack in 25 knot winds and 4-5 meter waves, when the French duo suddenly heard two cracks and realised that the front section of the their trimaran’s starboard float was damaged.

        Together both skippers immediately dropped the mainsail and are currently only under ORC (a small headsail). The two sailors did not set off their Sarsat beacon or request help and are on course for La Coruna which was 130 miles to their SE where they should reach early tomorrow morning (Sunday)

        Loïc Fequet skipper, Maitre Jacques, joined by radio this afternoon reported:
        "We were making between 20 and 28 knots at 30 degrees to the wind . We heard a loud crack followed by a second and immediately saw that the starboard float was damaged, between its front and the crossbeam. There were 4-5 meter waves. We are on the way to La Coruna. It stops at the crossbeam which is the most reinforced part but it moves a bit in the waves bit it is not getting worse at the moment. No one is hurt, the boat, well we will see. We are very disappointed, but the main thing is no one is hurt. Last night was hard but we took gusts of 40kts and big seas. There was no particular shock, but the boat is from 2005.”

        Biscay: Breaking Away and Breaking Back

        © Photo Jean Marie Liot / DPPI

        Taking an option to get through a front in the early hours of this morning seems to have given the Vendée Globe winning duo Michel Desjoyeaux and François Gabart on MACIF the chance to extend their lead in the IMOCA Open 60 fleet on the Transat Jacques Vabre during the third afternoon of racing, since leaving Le Havre on Thursday.

        Gabart and Desjoyeaux, widely held to be pre race favourites, were quickest through much of a difficult Friday night and Saturday to build their margin out to 52 miles. And on the 1000hrs UTC position report this morning MACIF was sailing more directly towards the south with a noticeable speed edge over second placed PRB (Vincent Riou and Jean Le Cam) with Cheminées Poujoulat (Bernard Stamm and Philippe Legros) holding third at just less than four miles behind.

        ©Jean Marie Liot / DPPI

        While the MOD70 duo are entering much more favourable conditions, having tacked around Cape Finisterre this morning, relishing the prospect of getting south into the NE’ly Portuguese trade winds to reach at speeds more normal for the high speed 70 foot multihulls, it was the Multi 50s and the IMOCAs which will bear the brunt of the Biscay gale and big seas. But while the MOD70’s escaped the worst of it, Oman Air-Musandam’s skipper Sidney Gavignet still reported that the combination of confused sea conditions and gusty, squally winds added up to some of the worst conditions that he had yet encountered with Oman Air-Musandam.

        “The night was really hard; there was a huge seaway so we tried to protect ourselves by hugging the coastline, finally reducing sail to the third reef and the code three jib (the small headsail). The boat was literally taking off and we were not going very fast.” Gavignet said,

        “It is very hard to get any sleep; being so close to the coast, the one that is not helming is navigating. We have hardly slept at all. We are tired, but as soon as we get past the Cape, things will improve quite quickly. We will be doing a straight line south and we will be able to get some rest. Our immediate goal is to win back the eight nautical miles that we lost to Edmond de Rothschild overnight. At the moment, we can’t see them; they must be about 10nms ahead of us.”

        The poor conditions will last until Sunday for the Multi50s and IMOCA Open 60s as this deep low pressure which has emanated from Newfoundland and is tracking quickly makes life very testing for the Multi50s especially. This is exacerbated by the wind shifts between SW and W with more than 30kts average and much more in the gusts, the crossed seas make it very bouncy and unpleasant for the multihulls. 

        In the Multi 50 Class it is still Actual (Yves Le Blevec and Kito de Pavant) which holds the overall lead but Maitre Jacques (Loic Fequet and Loic Escoffier) have worked up to second place, some nine miles behind the leaders who won the class in 2011. Key for the Multi 50’s has been their trajectory and timing to deal with the front at the most favourable point, avoiding the worst of the winds and seas.

        After their enforced weather halt in Roscoff last night and today the 26 boat Class 40 fleet will restart from 0300hrs early tomorrow morning. Starting in the order of finishing into the Breton haven, GDF SUEZ (Sébastien Rogues and Fabien Delahaye) start just under 20 minutes ahead of the Spanish pair Alex Pella and Pablo Santurde on Tales Santander 2014. They will head into strong NW’ly winds initially with over 30-35kts to start with.

        “Across Biscay we will be mostly upwind on starboard in about 20kts of wind but at the start and out to Ushant it looks like it will be windy with big seas, 30+ knots for sure then it will begin to drop away.” Brian Thompson, skipper of Caterham Challenge explained in Roscoff today, “ To start with we will have winds north of NW and so we should be reasonably fast and able to punch through. The race is to get out through the front which is kind of stalled at the moment. The longer it takes you to get through it the lighter the winds will be to the east of it, and so there is a rich get richer scenario, or a bit a of a double whammy for the later starters if you like.”

        They said:
        Mike Gascoyne, co-skipper Caterham Challenge:
        “We were reasonsably happy with the first leg but got some fishing net, perspex and weed around the keel which Brian had to dive to get it off about two hours before we got into Roscoff, so we kind of reckon that cost us two or three boats, but whatever we were happy with the way we sailed the boat. For most of the time we were with the fast pack, so we were happy. It’s just a shame the first leg was not about 5200 miles longer.”

        Brian Thompson, skipper, Caterham Challenge:
“Across Biscay we will be mostly upwind on starboard in about 20kts of wind but at the start and out to Ushant it looks like it will be windy with big seas, 30+ knots for sure then it will begin to drop away. To start with we will have winds north of NW and so we should be reasonably fast and able to punch through. The race is to get out through the front which is kind of stalled at the moment. The longer it takes you to get through it the lighter the winds will be to the east of it, and so there is a rich get richer scenario, or a bit a of a double whammy for the later starters if you like.
        We have about six boats all starting within around 15 minutes of us and in all I think we will be in a ten boat pack or something like that, so it is great, really close racing, we are back in full sprint mode.”

        ************************************************** ****************

        Sunday, November 10, 2013
        Portuguese Pit Stop for IMOCA leaders

        Leaders of the IMOCA fleet in the Transat Jacques Vabre double handed race from Le Havre, MACIF, sailed by Vendée Globe winners François Gabart and Michel Desjoyeaux, were making a technical pit stop in Peniche, 87 kms NW of Lisbon, Portugal this afternoon after damage to their starboard rudder was discovered last night.

        When they were off Cape Finisterre yesterday evening, Gabart and Desjoyeaux realised that their starboard rudder had been damaged. Diverting to Peniche at 1400hrs UTC this afternoon, the two skippers on MACIF have been carrying out a pit stop in the port. They are replacing the blade on the damaged rudder. A technical team is on the spot in Portugal to assist them.

        The class leaders, who had built margin of up to 50 miles by Cape Finisterre after a robust passage across the Bay of Biscay were racing against time to get back on to the race course. Conditions meantime remained very favourable for the IMOCA Open 60 class, racing downwind in the Portuguese trade winds, so adding pressure to the French duo who many observers, pre-start, considered favourites to win the ten boat class, racing the boat on which Gabart won the Vendée Globe solo non stop around the world race in February. Before they stopped MACIF had seen their enforced separation from the fleet to the SE reduce their lead to just 13 miles on this afternoon’s 1300hrs UTC position report.

        After leaving from Roscoff –where they had been required to sit out a Biscay gale the full 26 boat Class 40 were back in the race by this afternoon. The order among the top boats remains very much as it was when they departed from the Breton safe haven this morning. Sébastien Rogues and Fabien Delahaye on GDF SUEZ lead by just over 7 miles this afternoon, ahead of the Spanish duo Alex Pella and Pablo Santurde on the Spanish designed and built Tales Santander 2014, in turn just less than four miles ahead of Germany’s Jorg Riechers and Pierre Brasseur on Mare. After sitting out the gale Class 40 are expecting to be rewarded with a relatively straightforward passage in W’ly winds of around 12-18kts across the Bay of Biscay with the leaders anticipated to pass Cape Finisterre late on Monday night or very early Tuesday morning.

        The three Class 40s which have British skippers or co-skippers were together in 11th, 12th and 13th this afternoon, less than two miles separating Brian Thompson and Mike Gascoyne’s Caterham Challenge in 11th from Ned Collier-Wakefield and Sam Goodchild on Concise 8 with Miranda Merron and Halvard Mabire on Campagne de France in between the two.

        Arriving in La Coruna at around 0900hrs local time this morning, Maitre Jacques skippers Loic Fequet and Loic Escoffier announced their abandonment officially. Having lost the front off their starboard float of their 2005 launched Multi 50, damaged back to the forward bulkhead of the float, they had no alternative but to withdraw. At the front of the very hotly contested Multi 50 fleet, Yves Le Blevec and Kito de Pavant were back in front this afternoon on Actual, 8 miles ahead of Arkema Region Aquitaine) and a further mile ahead of FenetreA Cardinal (Leroux-Eliès) as they raced downwind in 12-14kts of Portuguese trade winds, some 100 miles to the NW of Lisbon.

        Edmond de Rothschild co-skippers Sébastien Josse and Charles Caudrelier seem to be reaping a dividend for their choice to head more to the south than their rivals on Oman Air-Musandam, Sidney Gavignet and Damian Foxall, as they pass to the south of the high pressure system enjoying good, fast downwind conditions making 22-26kts. The class leaders had knocked in a useful 505 miles 24hours run.

        Tanguy de Lamotte , skipper Initiatives Coeur (IMOCA): “Everything is good, we can just see Alessandro (di Benedetto) on team Plastique, two miles behind us at Cape Finisterre. The wind has eased and we have 9-10kts of breeze and a big swell which shakes us about a bit. The shift to the west allowed us to avoid the worst of the depression and so the worst we saw was 38kts. We were both a bit sick. Now we are getting into the fun bit of the race.”

        Marc Guillemot, skipper de Safran (IMOCA): “The way out of the channel and the crossing of the Bay of Biscay was pretty much as we expected: fast, wet and challenging. Right now we are sailing downwind along the Portuguese coast. We have had a few technical issues but nothing too serious and nothing that will not let us continue our attack. Pascal is napping because up to midway across the Bay of Biscay we have pretty much at it all time with no sleep at all over the first 24 hours, so need to recuperate a bit.
        We are getting into our rhythm and setting patterns for eating, sleeping and getting dry! There is the high-pressure area to contend with and the run down South to the Canaries to prepare. Macif has sailed better than we have whilst we had our small technical issues to deal with and our navigation. Looking at the last position report, we can really see that they have made a big lead and the 3-mile advantage at Ushant has paid off, but above all they are brilliant.
        The game now is to try and rest and have clear head to think about the strategy to play out. All is going well on board and the fight continues because there are always tactical decisions that can be made. With downwind sailing there are gybes to be made and it is always better to be further towards the east than the east. Let’s what the wind variations can let us do.”

        Charles Caudrelier, co-skipper d'Edmond de Rothschild (MOD70): “We are not doing too badly and sailing downwind at a good speed, so ti is quite pleasant. On there boats you have to be really carful, even in dream conditions. We have tried sleeping, but have not managed to get as much as we would have liked to. We had a lot of manouvers to do get round the squalls last night and have positioned ourselves further south. Our friend (Oman Air-Musandam) has gone straight ahead. On a multihull we move really fast so our advantage can melt away very quickly. The router is not on board, but we trust him completely. We are 170 miles from Madeira with 30 knots of wind and should be there quickly.”

        English Audio From:

        Miranda Merron (Champagne de France)

        Sam Goodchild (Concise 8)

        Andreas Hanakamp (Vaquita)

        ************************************************** **********************************
        In the Transat Jacques Vabre double handed race from Le Havre to Itajaí, Brasil the Class 40 BET 1128 Class40 skippered by Gaetano Mura (ITA) and Sam Manuard (FRA) are heading to La Coruna to make running repairs after they broke the swivel hook on their Solent headsail and the mast fell down but did not land in the water.

        The duo managed to raise the mast again and carry on but are heading to La Coruna, NW Spain which is about 150 miles downwind for them. They need to repair some electrical cables inside the mast which were damaged and the hook for the Solent.

        British skipper Brian Thompson, on Caterham Challenge with co-skipper Mike Gascoyne, reported this morning that they only narrowly missed colliding with BET 1128 which was only a few metres away from them when the incident happened.

        Thompson reported:
        “We were just behind Bet 1128 when their mast came down directly in front of us. Luckily I was on deck steering and could avoid a collision. Hope the boys onboard are ok.”

        ************************************************** **********************************

        Monday, November 11, 2013
        News Flash: Four boats signal technical stops in Transat Jacques Vabre

        Further damage has affected the Transat Jacques Vabre fleet with a further four boats having recently signalled that they intend to make technical stops. There are three Class 40s, GDF SUEZ, Tales Santander 2014 and 11TH Hour Racing and the Multi 50 Actual.

        GDF SUEZ (Class40)
        Not long after they left Roscoff in the lead of the Class40 fleet on Sunday morning at 0400hrs (CET/France) French duo Sébastien Rogues and Fabien Delahaye realised they had lost the two essential wind vanes off the top of their mast. The pair plan to make an express pit-stop on the Spanish coast to make a rapid repair. On the 1400hrs (CET) position report this afternoon they lead the class by 18 miles this afternoon.

        Actual (Multi 50)
        Class leaders of the Multi50s, Actual, sailed by Yves Le Blévec and Kito de Pavant have confirmed that they have decided to make a technical stop in Madeira which lies 160 miles away pretty much on their direct course. They plan to re-instal part of their wind instrumenta at the top of the mast. Ronan Deshayes, technician, will be in situ to help. The stop is also expected to be a short one. On the 1400hrs ranking this afternoon Actual were leading by 39 miles ahead of FenêtreA-Cardinal (Erwan Le Roux/Yann Eliès).

        Tales Santander 2014 (Class40)
        Spaniards Alex Pella and Pablo Santurde on the seventh placed Class 40 Tales Santander 2014 have indicated they plan to stop into La Coruna after their starboard rudder took a shock, damaging the bearing. The two Spanish sailors believe they should reach La Coruna tomorrow but cannot anticipate how long the repair might take.

        11TH Hour Racing (Class40)
        And Transat Jacques Vabre race direction received confirmation from Hannah Jenner (GBR) and Rob Windsor (USA) that they will head to Brest after damaging their forestay where they will make a full assessment. Jenner reported, "At 0945 UTC this morning we were sailing upwind in 16-17 knots when there was a loud bang. Our forestay has detached at the top of the mast dropping the Solent (headsail) into the water. We have recovered the sail and saved the rig. We are headed back towards Brest where we will make a final decision on our race status." Brest is approximately 150nm NE from their last reported position.

        Classe 40


        Multi 50

        Mod 70


        Live Tracking

        " I just found out my nest egg has salmonella"

 Photo Gallery


        • #5
          The Atlantic is very busy with French this time of year, no?


          • #6
            British Class 40 Concise 8 abandons Transat Jacques Vabre

            British co-skippers Ned Collier Wakefield and Sam Goodchild are safely in Muros, NW Spain with their Class 40, Concise 8 this morning, having confirmed their abandonment from the 2013 Transat Jacques Vabre double-handed race from Le Havre to Itajaí, Brazil. Their boat suffered damage to the blade of its port rudder last night and was followed by damage to other essential fittings.

            The incident happened yesterday evening at between 2100hrs and 2200hrs UTC while racing in 25-26kts of NE’ly winds and rough seas when they were approximately 45 miles NW of Cape Finisterre.

            Further information will be distributed in the early afternoon.

            Solidaires en Peloton the French Class 40 co-skippered by Victorien Erussard and Thibaut Vauchel-Camus will make a technical stop, expected to be in Cascais.

            Update on Arkema-Region Aquitaine after capsize Sunday evening:
            A tug has left Lisbon last night at 2200hrs UTC and will arrive on zone tomorrow morning.

            See latest postions for the fleets:
            " I just found out my nest egg has salmonella"

   Photo Gallery


            • #7
              Feeling it at Finisterre and Dodging the Doldrums

              Multi50, Gusty, shifty.
              Last night’s solid lead of over 100 miles for FenetreA Cardinal (Le Roux and Eliès) has been nearly halved by the advancing Actual (Le Blévec and de Pavant). Conditions remain gusty and difficult under the clouds with big changes in wind direction and pressure, speeds dropping to less than ten knots at times in light spells.
              The tug sent from Lisbon to two the upturned Arekma-Region Aquitaine is now expected on zone tomorrow, the two unfortunate skippers Lalou Roucayrol and Mayeul Riffet, will have spent four nights in their capsized trimaran.

              © Caterham Challenge

              The Transat Jacques Vabre’s Class 40 had a tough time off the NW corner of Spain last night and this morning in strong, gusty winds and big seas which resulted in the British Class 40 Concise 8 having to retire with rudder damage. The two leaders in the class which had 26 starters are still just under 100 miles ahead.

              PRB, sailed by 2004-5 Vendée Globe winner Vincent Riou along with Jean Le Cam are challenging for the lead again in the IMOCA Open 60 fleet west of the Canary Islands.
              In the Multi50 Class Actual have halved the lead of FenetreA-Cardinal since this morning, back to 50 miles, whilst the MOD70’s are touching the first of the Doldrums, contemplating a passage to the Equator in seven days since leaving Le Havre.

              © Votre nom autour du mon

              Other stops, or not? And re-start.
              Italian duo Stefano Raspadori and Pietro d’Ali on Fantastica reported this morning that they broke three battens and lost their wind wand from the top of their mast during the night due to an involuntary gybe when their autopilot dropped out. After contemplating a more immediate stop, they have chose to carry on, but d’Ali says that the Canary Islands might be their best choice.
              And Solitaires en Peloton suffered sail damage and also lost their masthead want and were heading for Cascais.
              Meantime a smooth repair operation in Lorient, France, a couple of pizzas and a quick medical checkup for co-skipper Rob Windsor who has strained tendons in his arm and this morning 11th Hour Racing (Hannah Jenner and Rob Windsor) resumed their Transat Jacque Vabre, over 570 miles behind the leading boat.
              “We are a tough pair and don’t quit.” Jenner said this morning.

              The furious pace has slowed back for the leaders, GDF SUEZ (Rogues and Delahaye) were making 12 knots while the German/French pair Jorg Riechers and Pierre Brasseur on Mach 40 sistership MARE were 20 miles behind.
              The Spanish pair Alex Pella and Pablo Santurde on Tales Santander 2014 hold sixth and Britons Mike Gascoyne and Brian Thompson on Caterham Challenge lie 10th.

              © Chemines Poujolet

              IMOCA Open 60’s PRB on the prowl
              The lead of the IMOCA Open 60’s continues to hang in the balance as they pass the Canary Island, some 225 miles to their east. Bernard Stamm and Pierre Le Gros have been credited with the lead since last night but Le Gros told Race HQ this morning that such arbitrary calculations mean little to them in real terms, although it does boost morale on board, and for the Cheminées Poujoulat team which tasted disappointment in the last edition of the Transat Jacques Vabre in 2011, and in the Vendée Globe. Cheminées Poujoulat was only just holding off the advances of PRB (Riou-Le Cam) by less than 2 miles this afternoon.

              © Energa

              British pair out
              Unfortunately British duo Ned Collier-Wakefield and Sam Goodchild know the hollow feeling of disappointment at having to retire from the Transat Jacques Vabre only too well. In 2011’s last edition of the race from Le Havre across the Atlantic the young pair of co-skippers had to retire into the Azores after suffering damage in a major storm when they had just taken the lead

              This morning, on the sixth day of the race, in the benign sunshine of Muros, just to the south of La Coruna they were coming to terms with their abandonment from the 11th edition of the race from Le Havre to Itajai after sustaining damage to their port rudder yesterday evening some 45 miles NW of Cape Finisterre.

              Among the several problems which were reported from the Class 40 fleet Collier-Wakefield and Goodchild suffered the most terminal damage, whilst enduring some robust trade winds conditions and big, unruly seas off the NW corner of Spain.

              © Energa

              MOD70s, slowing?
              Speeds had also slackened off slightly for the MOD70 match race between leaders Edmond de Rothschild (Josse and Caudrelier) and chasers Oman Air-Musandam (Gavignet and Foxall) who were starting to feel the effects of the Doldrums this afternoon.
              The Doldrums or Intercontinental Tropical Convergence Zone remain relatively wide and active in front of the matched one design trimarans. Gavignet and Foxall are 90 miles more to the east and some 70 miles behind.
              At their current speeds the two MOD70s will cross the equator in one week which for a 70 feet trimaran with only two on board compares favourably with the reference time set in 2005 by Orange II in 2005, a 36 metre (120 feet) catamaran sailed by 14 men. And the two, Edmond de Rothschild ( Josse- Caudrelier ) and Musandam Oman Air ( Gavignet - Foxall ) have already passed the mid-point (2 700 miles) last night off the Cape Verde islands.

              © Team Plastique

              While the British boat has had to withdraw from the race, two more Class 40s– Solidaires en Peloton (Erussard and Vauchel-Camus) and Matouba (Guilloneau and Audigane) – will make technical stops soon and Italy’s Fantastica (Raspadori and D’Ali) are weighing up the possibilities of a repair halt further down the race course.

              The Concise co-skippers reported that they had 24 knots of wind at 110 degrees apparent and were doing 17 knots’ under double reefed main A3 gennaker when when their active rudder kicked up. Conseqently the boat went into a broach which they were unable to recover but they managed to get A3 down intact
              They were then hit by a breaking wave which did further damage to the rudder and its components.

              Classe 40'


              Multi 50

              MOD 70

              " I just found out my nest egg has salmonella"

     Photo Gallery


              • #8
                I bet the MOD 70's win!


                • #9
                  November 14th Updates

                  Bruno Jourdren and Thomas Ruyant have abandoned the Transat Jacques Vabre. Bruno Jourdren has dislocated his fibula near his knee cap and cannot return to the race. The sailors moored in Cascais, Portugal at the end of the afternoon

                  Thomas Ruyant :
                  "We are obviously extremely disappointed with this abandonment. It was a great story that ended in pain. Yesterday around 15:30 , Bruno fell in the cockpit. I helped him up. He had severe pain. We quickly made the decision to proceed to Cascais . Bruno remained in his bunk to rest. We cannot go back into the Transat Jacques Vabre. We had had a good start of the race, it's a shame ."


                  ************************************************** ************

                  English Audio Interviews:

                  Caterham Challange

                  Caterham Challenge, Mike Gascoyne and Brian Thompson, were on a charge yesterday, quickest in the fleet at times, but a big gybe last night ripped their mainsail and the British duo were in ‘sail-loft’ mode today, giving away some speed while their main was down:

                  Thompson told the live Radio Vacs with Race HQ in Paris today: “We got a rip nearly the whole length of the mainsail from luff to leach quite high up so we are having fun today repairing that. So we are a little slower.

                  The race has been fantastic. It is great racing with Mike. The level of the fleet is brilliant. We have been back and forth but always trying to be with this front group. It has fascinating and really divers conditions. One day we had flat calm off Finisterre and in the afternoon we had 35kts of wind. We have upwind and then a couple of days of fantastic downwind conditions. We are really enjoying it and had a great day yesterday as the fastest boat in the fleet. Now we are not!”


                  MOD70 Out of the Pot (Au Noir) and into the Fire?
                  For the MOD70’s the Doldrums appear not to have held too much in the way of stress. Both Edmond de Rothschild (Sébastien Josse and Charles Caudrelier) and Oman Air-Musandam (Sidney Gavignet and Damian Foxall) were back up to speed this afternoon with little change in their ranking. But Gavignet and Foxall have managed to position themselves about 100 miles to the east of their rivals, which may prove useful leverage as they drive south in the SE’ly trade winds.

                  Oman Air

                  ************************************************** ****************

                  "13th day of month was not so lucky for us here. We had a fantastic ride with our large gennaker, but unfortunately it gave up after one of stronger squalls last evening. So now we have one sail less from Energa's wardrobe and we'll have to manage until the finish line with the smaller sails we got. But we're still racing, no further losses. I am really angry, because I felt we were getting up the boat in front of us (VNAM), and now our speeds are more equal… Anyway, there is Equator to pass soon, and there you can gain or lose a lot. So we push forward as much as we can."

                  ************************************************** ****************************

                  At around 1100hrs UTC this morning it was confirmed that the two skippers Lalou Roucayrol and Mayeul Riffet have been successfully taken off their upturned trimaran Arkema-Region Aquitaine and are on board the Portuguese tug WEST. An attempt to turn the trimaran upright is expected to be made this afternoon.

                  It is some eighty five hours since their Multi50 trimaran capsized 200 miles west of Cascais on Sunday night around 2200hrs UTC and so the two French skippers have spent over three and a half days and in fact four nights inside the cramped, flooded 4m ² of the upturned hull of the boat.

                  Aboard WEST both skippers along with the whole crew of the tug will try to right the trimaran. Believed to have only once been achieved in the past in 2005 with Yves Parlier’s hydraplaneur, the technique is to ballast the stern (to sink it into the water ) and then attach two straps to the front of the central hull of the trimaran and then pull the boat at low speed. The back sinks slowly , thanks to 4 tonnes of water ballast and the boat is turned slowly end over end 180 °. It is a complex operation , especially in the prevailing wind and seas – a big cross swell - and so success is not guaranteed.

                  ************************************************** ****

                  IMOCA Open 60’s… Our lips are sealed?
                  Lips were firmly sealed among the IMOCA Open 60 fleet when the question was posed as to which side they would leave the Cape Verde islands which lay 200 miles down the track directly on their course. Indeed not only is the question which side to leave the islands, but – indeed – whether anyone may take the chance stop. And late in the afternoon it was confirmed that PRB will stop to repair an unspecified rudder problem.

                  Such is the usual psychological gamesmanship among the very closely knit group of skippers at the top of the fleet. Of course the top five boats all train together out of Port La Fôret but no one was giving anything away this afternoon. Vendée Globe winner François Gabart was quick to push the technical stop question of rivals PRB on Twitter.

                  Chrisopher Pratt, co-skipper on Maitre Coq said: “ We should get to the Cape Verde Islands in around 30 hours and it is an important point of passage and usually the entry to the Doldrums. We don’t really have a strategy yet because it will depend on how we handle these squalls.”

                  And Safran’s Pascal Bidégorry: “It is just very difficult to know what to do between the Canaries and Cape Verde Islands. The weather just keeps changing. We have to be aggressive because the others have a good lead at the moment.”

                  And while PRB continued to lead this afternoon by 18 miles over MACIF (Francois Gabart and Michel Desjoyeaux) so too there is a great battle going on between eighth, ninth and tenth Energa (‘Gutek’ Gutowski and Matiej Marcewski), Team Plastique (Alessandro di Bendetto and Alberto Monaco) and Initiatives Coeur (Tanguy de Lamotte and Francois Damien) were only ten miles apart in terms of DTF.

                  " I just found out my nest egg has salmonella"

         Photo Gallery


                  • #10
                    4 nights on a capsized trimaran is 3 too many.


                    • #11
                      Mod 70's Near Recife

                      The equator is already passed for both of the MOD70’s while the last Class 40 is off Lisbon. Now the fleet of the 11th Transat Jacques Vabre is spread over 3000 miles but the weather is quite similar, moderate trade winds, cloud cover to unsettle the breeze and good, effective speeds.

                      The MOD70 duo passed into the Southern Hemisphere last night. Around 2030hrs UTC it was Edmond de Rothschild (Josse-Caudrelier) across first and then two hours later for Oman Air-Musandam (Gavignet-Foxall), the duo in good SE trade winds of 20kts, making them speeds of around 25kts has they head towards the Brazilian coast where they should reach this afternoon. At the current rate the first to finish this Transat Jacques Vabre is expected in Itajai on November 19th, after less than 12 days at sea. But there are still potential pitfalls between the passage of Cabo Frio where the low pressures spin out from the coast, and then light winds perhaps in to Itajai. Edmond de Rothschild’s lead is cut to just over 60 miles with Charles Caudrelier admitting
                      “ We are in great shape but we have made a big mistake in the Doldrums against Oman. I think Sidney and Damian will have a better angle in the coming hours, but we will see"

                      Brian Thompson

                      "After a great day two days ago pushing out to the west and the fastest boat in the Class 40 fleet double disaster struck us on Caterham Challenge. Gybing onto port tack to head directly to the doldrums we suffered a huge rip practically the whole way across the mainsail two thirds of the way. We lowered the main and set off with just the A5 up and were still making 12-14kts. we were just evaluating if we could repair the main at sea or head for port when the tack line failed on the A5 and we had a big wipeout. We recovered the sail and furler but it is unuseable.We spent the whole of the next 24 hours on the mainsail repair with just the solent up. Finally hoisted the main at 9 last night. After a conservative first night we lowered it again to repair a small area that had inadvertently rubbed against the spreaders, reehoisted and also took the time to fix the tack line."

                      Yoann Richmonde ERDF

                      Stop in Cape Verde:

                      IMOCA Open 60 leaders PRB have chose to make a technical pit stop in Sao Vincente in the Cape Verde islands, arriving before dawn this morning. The pit stop should only be very short and not really affect their strategic routing. Vendée Globe winners François Gabart and Michel Desjoyeaux on MACIF, at eight miles in their wake, were racing on the wheel of PRB but will not want to divert to evaluate the leaders’ skills on the pit stand. Their NE’ly wind, at 12kts, is a little hesitant. The chasing group, at eighty miles to the west and 90 miles behind, will pass nearly 100 miles to the west of the island group, but notwithstanding the outcome of PRB’s pitstop and who does better in the west, a general re-grouping is expected near the ‘in door’ to the Doldrums (ICTZ).

                      Watt & Sea Region Poitou Charentes 2

                      Team Plastique

                      Sea and surf but no sun:

                      For the first two Multi -50s up ahead of the IMOCA Open 60’s life is good. It is warm but with a lot of clouds, light breezes and a good course to the Doldrums which they will reach tomorrow night. FenêtréA Cardinal (Le Roux - Elies) has pulled out a few extra miles on their pursuers Actual ( Le Blévec and de Pavant ) while Rennes Saint - Malo Agglomeration (Lamiré -Mura) is going well along the Mauritanian coast 600 miles from the leaders, who are between the Canary Islands and Cape Verde.

                      Class40 ' are passing to the west of Madeira in trade winds conditions which are slowly improving, up to twenty knots in a much more regular sea. Headsails have been changed and the overall risks reduced. Making speeds to 14kts the leaders are pursued by two groups, those in their wake and those working out to the east who will pass to the east of Madeira and perhaps through the Canary Islands. GDF SUEZ (Rogues-Delahaye) and MARE (Riechers-Brasseur) are still conclusive leaders


                      Watt & Sea Region Poitou Charentes 2


                      They said:

                      Michel Desjoyeaux ( IMOCA Macif )
                      "We are in the vicinity of the Cape Verde Islands . There are lights of Sao Vicente. We are 26 miles from the archipelago of Cape Verde. The trade wind has dropped a bit over night. As PRB passed between the islands we learned they stopped. You have to be careful of the wind shadows. I have been through the middle of the archipelago several times and there was always the wind. We decided to keep in touch with the leader, because there was a Transat Jacques Vabre winner a few years back who said he was stopping and he did not and the others were had. There is still some distance to the Doldrums but we are beginning to analyse. We watched the MOD70’s and they chose different passages and it opens the game. It works well on board, François spends a lot of time at the computer because he likes it, he makes the routing."

                      Pierre Brasseur ( Class40 ' Mare)
                      " It's great it was a magical night, the boat goes fast well . The wind has eased a little , it was about 25 knots and the sea calmed down and we can reall push it in the waves. These are ideal conditions for good speed in the waves with a beautiful moon. We are going quick and we take advantage ! But we see from the last positions that GDF will as well "

                      Erwan Le Roux (Multi -50 FenêtréA Cardinal)
                      "You woke me up, I 'm at the bottom of the bunk ... We thought we were a bit affected by the wind shadow of Cape Verde but not really we passed without much problem. We made some good averages yesterday and last night but for an hour now the wind begins to ease.
                      The Doldrums are quite high (north) and wide. I think it went well for the MODs but it will be more complicated for us. We'll see tonight.”

                      Charles Caudrelier ( MOD70 Edmond de Rothschild )
                      "It's going great! We are into the southern hemisphere. It was hard work to get here but it's good but Brazil is in front of the boat! It was the worst Doldrums I have seen, lots of squalls, changes in direction, 35kt gusts, it was more difficult in the west than for Oman Air-Musandam. Now we have 25 knots of south-easterly trade winds because it has veered the last two hours and we’ll see between 25 and 30 knots. The sea is relatively flat , it's hot , almost too hot ! In 10 to 12 hours we'll be at the forefront of Recife and then it will be enjoyable. We are in great shape but we have made a big mistake in the Doldrums against Oman. I think Sidney and Damian will have a better angle in the coming hours we will see"

                      " I just found out my nest egg has salmonella"

             Photo Gallery


                      • #12
                        Pit Stoping On The Jacques Varbre Race Track

                        IMOCA Open 60. In the Pits… and Out

                        As PRB made their pit stop into the Cape Verde islands François Gabart and Michel Desjoyeaux on MACIF seized the lead in the IMOCA Open 60 class, passing through the island group in the wake of erstwhile leaders and carrying on when Vincent Riou and Jean Le Cam peeled off to rendezvous with their pit in Mindelo on the island of Sao Vicente.

                        The diversion, no more than a dozen miles west from the route taken by the Vendée Globe winning pair on MACIF, took a little over an hour but it allowed Gabart and Desjoyeaux to resume the lead that they had last held off Portugal five days ago, before they themselves had stopped into Peniche on the pit stop for repairs. MACIF was leading by 31 miles this Friday afternoon, but PRB was quicker.

                        Fifty miles to the west of the islands, Maitre CoQ (Beyou and Pratt) was giving chase with a deficit of a further 30 miles behind the leaders. But with a complicated and difficult Doldrums up ahead, the leading five are expected to compress again.

                        Jean Le Cam, co-skipper of PRB, recalled: “We just stopped for an hour to give us enough time to change the rudder, so it was fast. It went well. The rudder had broken when we were close to Madeira and for sure when you push the boat it is normal that things can break. We have had an excellent first half of the race and hope the second will be good too. One of us is always on deck and at the helm. We are off under spinnaker and going as fast as we can. We are going to see what options everyone is taking so we have to work out how we get up to Macif.”

                        And if the top five are engaged in an exciting tussle with the lead changing regularly – all five of the top boats have lead at least once – the scrap at the rear of the IMOCA Open fleet is as intense and challenging. Alessandro di Benedetto and Alberto Monaco on Team Plastique took over eighth place today ahead of the Polish duo on Energa, Zbigniew Gutkowski and Maciej Marczewski.

                        Multi 50’s, Long Tow to Madeira for Arkéma - Region Aquitaine

                        There is little change at the front of the Multi50 fleet where Erwan Le Roux and Yann Eliès on FenetreA Cardinal have Actual (Le Blévec and de Pavant) directly behind them as they start to contemplate their Doldrums passage, one which looks set to be less straightforward than that which prevailed for the MOD70’s. Le Roux and Eliès opened more than 20 miles on the second placed Multi 50 today and lead by 120 miles.

                        Although they are safe on board the Portuguese tug and Lalou Roucayrol and Mayeul Riffet are recovering from their 85 hours ordeal in the upturned Arkema Region Aquitaine, they are not yet able to relax. Conditions mean that, along with the tug company, they have decided to tow the upturned hull to Madeira, 285 miles downwind. They expect to reach there sometime in the middle of next week.

                        Speaking to French radio yesterday they relived the conditions in the capsized trimaran:

                        “We are feeling a bit better having had a shower and some food”, explained Mayeul Riffet, the co-skipper on Arkema – Région Aquitaine. “We did try and turn the boat over but the maneouver is virtually impossible with the sea state being so bad. We tried to while away the time but had a lot of maintenance work to secure the boat which involved diving to clear rigging and daily check outside. We had time to talk and philosophize on life, the future and think. We had to set ourselves objectives try and achieve them. Each time the ETA for the tugs arrival was delayed, we found it really tough. Conditions really worsened and the waves were breaking over the upturned hulls. We were lucky to have battery power inside despite being upturned, which gave us light at night and the ability to communicate. With no beacons it was only thanks to the GPS position given, that the tugboat managed to find us.”

                        Roucayrol described the transfer onto the tug as: “Dangerous and frightening with very strong winds and angry and breaking waves.”

                        Class 40, Caterham Sail Loft Challenge

                        In Class 40 the pace has slackened slightly but the lead of GDF SUEZ (Rogues and Delahaye) remains unchecked by second placed MARE (Riechers and Brasseur).

                        For the British duo on Caterham Challenge, Mike Gascoyne and Brian Thompson the last 36 hours have proven costly in terms of miles and distance, dropping to 13th after a sail repair marathon taking the best part of 36 hours, repairing their mainsail and gennaker:

                        “Finally hoisted the main at 9 last night.” Gascoyne reported today, “After a conservative first night we lowered it again to repair a small area that had inadvertently rubbed against the spreaders, re-hoisted and also took the time to fix the tack line. Finally at midday hoisted the spinnaker and started racing again. It’s been a tough 36hrs but it’s a long race and we need to push as hard as we can to catch up our lost ground.”

                        MOD70, Brasil Ahead!

                        In the MOD70 class the match race between Edmond de Rothschild and Oman Air-Musandam remains relatively even after the two crossed over the equator last night.

                        Pointing at Recife on the NE Brazilian coast this afternoon, Sébastien Josse and Charles Caudrelier lead by 73 miles from Sidney Gavignet and Damian Foxall.

                        They said:

                        Bernard Stamm, IMOCA Open 60, Cheminées Poujoulat

                        “Maitre Coq has managed to get a better wind angle, one that is more favourable for his boat, than the one we have. Things seem to have slowed for Safran, so we just have to keep an eye on the others. We have decided to go as far west as possible round the Cape Verde Islands to position ourselves to get to the optimum Doldrums crossing point. Conditions are a little strange, the sky is overcast and although we do not have the squalls or big clouds of the past few days, we do have a good established and regular wind. We have managed to get a bit of rest and the morale was boosted yesterday finding ourselves well positioned. It is not easy when you are leading and then lose ground, so it is tough; we have to keep on top of it all the time.

                        I think we are well set up to get through the Doldrums, which are positioned well north this year, and that means we should be a bit faster out.”

                        Jean Le Cam, IMOCA Open 60 PRB:

                        “We just stopped for an hour to give us enough time to change the rudder, so it was fast. It went well. The rudder had broken when we were close to Madeira and for sure when you push the boat it is normal that things can break.

                        We have had an excellent first half of the race and hope the second will be good too. One of us is always on deck and at the helm. We are off under spinnaker and going as fast as we can. We are going to see what options everyone is taking so we have to work out how we get up to Macif.”

                        François Damiens, IMOCA Open 60, Initiatives Coeur:

                        “We had some great speed yesterday and now things have slowed down a bit so we are losing ground. It is very frustrating when you are averaging 24 knots and now we are doing 11 / 12 knots. We have a blue sky, flat sea and gentle conditions. It is a bit like a holiday and completely different to what we had when we left Le Havre.

                        Yesterday I saw a whale and her baby just 10 metres away from the boat. We have had a lot of dolphins and then a seagull that just landed then a little bird that joined us for 3 days. I am still in my tights, because I think they suit me, but now that the sun is out I suppose I should get the trunks on. I am waiting for Tanguy to wake up and then we can have breakfast and have a wash and will make the most to get the shorts out.

                        We have Energa and Team Plastique close and so just a few miles away one is doing 8 and then other 12, so we just have to really keep en eye on the conditions on the water. You can just miss the wind trying to chase it.”

                        Sounds in English:

                        Michelle Zwagerman (Croix du Sud):
                        "Things are very well today onboard Croix du Sud! The sun is out."

                        Maciej Marczewski (Energa):
                        " I just found out my nest egg has salmonella"

               Photo Gallery


                        • #13
                          MOD 70's Prepare For Final Flight To Finish

                          The MOD70s are well within the final 1000 miles to the Itajai finish but those last miles are likely to be decisive. First there is the cyclogenesis zone off Cape Frio – where low pressures spin off the coast – and then the last stretch in to the finish is likely to be light, cloudy, shifty and all in all slightly random. Sidney Gavignet and Damian Foxall are certainly in shape and right up for the final fight:

                          "We are through the worst just now and it is easier. The sea is relatively flatter and with the Wind we have it is going well. We have managed to reduce the gap a little to Edmond de Rothschild. How did we do it? (laughs)... Well we probably had more wind think. We are 46 miles apart now . We are always steering, always on deck".

                          All images courtesy © Transat Jaques Vabre

                          In the next 24 hours, the scenario is perfect with the wind, a small depression in the Bay of Rio means gybes and so the game is open until the end - until a few miles before the finish! We try be at the maximum for the near future. No Paris I am not tired at all!", Gavignet laughed.

                          In the other multihull head to head duel, that of the MOD70 pair which are opening the course off Salvador de Bahia today, the lead of Edmond de Rothschild, the MOD70 sailed by Sebastien Josse and Charles Caudrelier – which has looked very solid for some days – has also been severely trimmed by their opponents Oman Air Musandam. The strategy of taking a more easterly passage through the Doldrums seems to be paying now for the French/Irish duo of Sidney Gavignet and Damian Foxall who are now less than 40 miles behind and sailing slightly quicker.

                          There is no such significant change in the IMOCA Open 60 class where MACIF, sailed by Vendee Globe winners Francois Gabart and Michel Desjoyeaux, is on the most direct, rhumb line course at 23 miles ahead of PRB. The leaders in this class will be watching the evolution of the Doldrums and learning from what happens to the Multi 50s who are a matter of 180 miles – or 10 hours ahead.

                          While the leading positions in Class 40 continue to be monopolised by the Mach 40 duo of GDF SUEZ (Rogues and Delahaye) and MARE (Riechers and Brasseur), Briton Miranda Merron and her French counterpart Halvard Mabire on Campagne de France currently have the better of ERDF des Pieds et des Mains (Seguin and Richomme) for the moment, rising to third overall but this duo are less than one mile apart on the water after nine days of racing.

                          There is no let up in pace when there are such private battles as an added spur, and just as Campagne de France and ERDF press each other ever harder, so also Alex Pella and Pablo Santurde on Tales Santander 2014 are enjoying tight racing with Watt & Sea (Bestaven and Ducroz) which is four miles behind them.

                          Speaking today on live radio with Race HQ in Paris, Pella confirmed that the Spanish duo are very happy with the speed of their very new boat which they are only now getting an extended chance to learn. They are well to the West of the rhumb line and – Pella said today – will need to get back to the east to avoid the worst of a Doldrums minefield up ahead.

                          Italians Stefano Raspadori and Pietro dÀli revealed that they will stop in Tenerife imminently to make a repair to their mainsail track.

                          They said:

                          Jeremie Beyou - Maitre Coq: "Yes we have opened the gap with our nearest rivals. We worked the squalls and gusts a bit more than Safran and Cheminees Poujoulat. I think that last night we did a little more than they did and got . Conditions are optimal for great surfing! We have between 23 and 28 knots of wind, we sailed at 120 degrees AWA so we were sailing at 20-22 knots, which is cool the boats are fully loaded at this angle of the wind , so it goes fast but we must be careful. We will tackle the Doldrums shortly. We will try to do something good. Significant clouds are already in sight, so it will be difficult to predict".



                          Class 40


                          Multi 50
                          " I just found out my nest egg has salmonella"

                 Photo Gallery


                          • #14
                            Compression and Pressure

                            Closing fast on the finish in Itajaí Brasil, where the parties commenced Saturday, when the race village opened, a very warm and exhuberant welcome is expected for both MOD70s when they arrive. Expected during Monday afternoon (local time). Edmond de Rothschild still held a small advantage in to the final 500 miles but with a sequence of weather hurdles set in their way, victory in this eleventh edition of the Transat Jacques Vabre is set to be held in the balance until the very final hours.

                            Compression, as the fleets compact in lighter winds, has been noticeable in the IMOCA Open 60 fleet who are fighting to get from the stifling Doldrums which are active and complex, into the oxygen of the south easterly trade winds, to establish a more decisive margin. MACIF had seized the lead again this afternoon, coming back from the lighter winds in the east, to squeeze back in front of PRB. But the concertina has squeezed hard and now there is only 30 miles separating first from fifth among the Famous Five, the posse of crews which train together out of Port La Foret. And there has been something of a squeeze in Class 40. The leading duo GDF SUEZ and MARE have not really felt it, still nearly 70 miles ahead of the chasing third placed SNCF Geodis. The Multi 50s are hard on the wind in the SE’ly trades with FenetreA-Cardinal back in a more commanding position over second placed Actual.

                            The MOD70 match race is very close to its conclusion, but with less than 45 miles between leaders Sebastien Josse and Charles Caudrelier and long time pursuers Sidney Gavignet and Damian Foxall on Oman-Air Musdandam, the two head to head duos will leave nothing on the race course. Working constantly on the deck, snatching brief naps in the shelter of the small cuddy, Gavignet reported today that physically they are starting to bare the effects of their unrelenting work rate:

                            “We are getting close to the finish and are in good shape on board. For the first part of the race we were operating very much as a duo, but now we’re able to operate single-handedly more and more which helps a lot with getting enough rest in order to be sharp and fresh to keep the speed up during the next watch.

                            “We are helming a lot and our hands are suffering for it, not quite bleeding yet, but not far off – we’ve been on this tack almost exclusively since Cape Finisterre. Right now we are doing 21 knots of boat speed.” Gavignet told his team earlier today “There are still some challenges to come before Itajai; we have to get through a small front with very little wind behind it, there will be a little from the north and a little from the south. It will be pretty tricky for both boats.

                            “In the meantime, I am going to get dry and sleep for 20minutes before heading back up on deck and getting on the attack for three hours!

                            The low pressure system is squeezed between two high pressure zones, resulting in cloudy, difficult transition zones, which will mean a slow down for the leader before escaping again. Gavignet and Foxall were making sure they were fully energised for the final night.

                            In the IMOCA Open 60s it is MACIF which has only just managed to pass in front of PRB as the two leaders fought into the first of the SE’ly trade winds. Making 16kts on the afternoon ranking suggests Francois Gabart and Michel Desjoyeaux have an edge which might multiply initially on the 750 miles tack towards Recife on the corner of Brazil.

                            Class 40 sees the contraction in the peloton become more noticeable as they run into lighter breezes. Now just four miles separates third from sixth, Campagne de France (Miranda Merron and Halvard Mabire) dropping a couple of places over the early afternoon. Merron said this afternoon: “We are into a bit of a snakes and ladders phase right now so we really need full concentration as we get into a bit of a light patch. The boats behind will be catching so we have to minimise that effect.”

                            “We lost out a bit with the staggered start which did advantage the boats which went out first, and again at Finisterre, but we really have been pushing hard to get back into it.”

                            Speaking of their strength together as a duo, certainly one of the most enduring partnerships in the Class, Merron pointed out that more than 36,000 miles of sailing together, means they are able to push their boat to constant high average speeds.

                            Quickest through much of the day has been Mike Gascoyne and Brian Thompson who are driving hard to try and recoup the miles they lost making a big repair to their mainsail. Lying 11th the British duo believe they have a good chance to come back:

                            Talking on the live radio vacation with Paris, Gascoyne said: “It is great to be getting a chance to catch up the leaders, to make up some lost ground. I think it cost us about 150 to 170 miles we had a big rip across the main, just under the third batten, two thirds of the way down, going down one metre and across to within 30cms of the luff of the sail. So we lowered it on deck, looked at the material we had and unfortunately because we shredded the A5 as well we had some of it, the A5, available. So basically we repaired that all of the next day, hoisted it and 9 the following evening. We were conservative, baby’d it a bit, and it had moved a little but the key area by the leech of the sail was rock solid.”

                            “We have just built it up and up since yesterday and we are pretty pleased with the ranking this morning and we are going well. The group we were with, Proximedia and that, we have left them behind and are chasing into the group ahead.”

                            “We know the guys in front have slowed up and it is our turn to enjoy it.”

                            “For us the guys up the front are going to be held up a little bit with lighter winds, the high is moving down and so we should hold the stronger winds and we think that looking at the leaders, if it goes the way it is looking we could be under 100 miles behind at the Doldrums. And I think that if that was the case, with a pretty straight route down there, we have the advantage of looking down the track and see what’s going on and we will be coming down quickly.”


                            " I just found out my nest egg has salmonella"

                   Photo Gallery


                            • #15
                              Multi 50's On The Home Stretch

                              With just 543nm and 583 nm left to go respectively, FenêtréA Cardinal and Actual are in a tight duel as they work their way down the Brazilian Coast with 15 knots of breeze and following seas. Actuals VMG currently is at 21 knots and is closing the gap on the leader who's currently maintaining an 18 knot average.

                              all images courtesy Transat Jacques Vabre

                              In the IMOCA divison, 23 nm seperate front runner Macif and PRB leading the 5 boat convoy reaching along at 13 knots, give or take with 1164 and 1183 nm's to go!

                              Much further back with 2,328 nm miles and the doldrum yet to go, the Class 40 Leader, GDF Suez holds a 26 nm lead over Mare, with a whole herd of 40's marching down, the tale end of the fleet and race being 11th Hour Racing, some 1,181 in the rear with a whopping 3,509 to go!

                              Official report:

                              A notable compression of the fleet is under way in the Transat Jacques Vabre’s Class 40 fleet and now nine boats at the top are expected to squeeze up as they get into the Doldrums. Leaders Sébastien Rogues and Fabien Delahaye are not expected to have it easy as they get into the difficult, changeable conditions. Mare, sailed by Jorg Riechers and Pierre Brasseur, are only about three hours behind while the Spanish duo Alex Pella and Pablo Santurde on Tales Santander 2014 are only another 10 hours or so behind them. They have been very quick since the Canary Islands, as have the Austrians Christof Petter and Andreas Hannakamp on Vaquita who are now up in fourth. But largely it should still be a first in-first out situation, emerging into the SE’ly trade winds.

                              And off the Brazilian coast Actual (Le Blévec and de Pavant) have made a strategic move in second place to try and compensate for a lost spinnaker, moving towards the shore and presently sailing some five or so miles off the beaches, trying to find a little more wind pressure. For the moment it does not seem to be reaping them much of a dividend, but there has been a gybe by the leaders FenêtréA Cardinal (Le Roux - Elies), 50 miles ahead, just to keep a cover on their pursuers. Their winds are more in the NE now and so the leaders have just chosen to keep their only real rivals ain check.

                              And there is some risk for them. On the approach to Cabo Frio, at the entrance to the Bay of Rio there is a depression lurking, a stormy frontal system which will get to the two leading multihulls on Thursday afternoon. These systems are just at the very early stages of their generation and so are very difficult to understand and predict, so will the two Multi 50s follow the same strategy?

                              Meantime in Madeira it had taken seven days for the upturned Arkema-Region Aquitaine to reach the port of Canical in the east of Madeira after being towed by the Portuguese tug WEST at an average of something around three knots. They arrived during the night of Tuesday November 19th after their tow of 260 miles.

                              And then on Wednesday afternoon Arkema-Region Aquitaine was turned back upright by using a big crane, after which skipper Lalou Roucayrol reported that the Multi 50 is in good condition structurally:

                              “We have got to land nine days after we capsized and will never forget this experience, including the tow! It was long and it was complicated to tow the boat this far and so we are very lucky to now find that structurally it is intact. I think that we made the right decision to come to Madeira and not to go to Lisbon as it was downwind as opposed to upwind. And the week on the tug will always be a memory. In the end we had 14 on board a tug made for a crew of six, Russians, Dutch, Filipino, it was a nice melting pot and we passed the time as we could. Now really the second phase begins and we are in a brand new marina here with all that we need to clean up the boat and then we will make a decision how and when to repatriate the boat to France.”

                              Just over 500 miles behind them the first IMOCA Open 60s follow almost the same route as the trimarans all the way since the Doldrums. For the leaders there is an air of groundhog day, “same conditions as yesterday and the day before and tomorrow’ was Safran’s Marc Guillemot’s description. Racing the long straight line requires concentration and application to gain any small miles. Francois Gabart and Michel Desjoyeaux still hold their lead on MACIF at around 20 miles on PRB (Riou and Le Cam)

                              The first first five IMOCA monohulls will face the stormy frontal system on Friday night at Cabo Frio and it will give them quite a testing time off Rio.

                              They said:

                              Marc Guillemot, skipper of Safran :
                              "We have the same conditions as yesterday , as the day before yesterday and no doubt we will have the same tomorrow. There is nothing much exciting, there is not really a strategy. But nonetheless we continue to try and pick up a few miles here and there. This is not the kind of sailing which is extreme, but it is miles that must be done. The Brazilian coast is not easy. There is debris in the water left by fisherman, nets, big dead fish and so we are always on the lookout. In these conditions we steer a lot, much more than on pilot. We have someone on deck all the time to trim and steer. Conditions will be calmer for the approach to Cabo Frio and then onwards to Itajai. The ETA for us is November 26th at 1115hrs exactly".

                              Vincent Riou, skipper of PRB :
                              "There is really not much in the way of strategy at this moment, all along the Brazilian coast the seas are a bit chaotic and so the pilot does some of the work and it helps keep the boat going as fast as possible, us just trimming for maximum speed. The pilot works well and we trim to it. We are far enough offshore so that we dont meet or see that many people. And the seas are nearly 4000 metres deep here so there are not many fishermen about. That is a little advantage of being a bit further offshore, not having to watch out for traffic as much.

                              Tomorrow morning the wind will ease and lift us a bit but it wont really change that much. But within the next 48 hours there will be a small front to negotiate. But the final phase does look difficult.

                              We get the impression of not seeing the sun because the boat is always under water but we cant complain because we are mostly going pretty fast. We plan to arrive on Sunday morning".

                              Pierre Brasseur, co -skipper of Mare :
                              "We are getting closer to the Doldrums and it feels just like that as the skies are getting darker, it is squally, its humid and i trains. Tales is stuck to us but we are getting back at GDF SUEZ and so we are compressing a bit. We have been on the helm for 24 hours solid since Cape Verde and that is tiring but it is paying off for us. From the start in this race we know that you need to preserve the boat and the sails".

                              Halvard Mabire, skipper of Campagne de France:
                              "We blew our spinnaker and we are missing it. Without it we are a bit compromised. It is not really for repairing but we will see when the conditions improve a bit. We have had reasonable conditions, between 24 and 27 knots and the boat goes well in this. The spinnaker tear is a bit unexplained".

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                              Last edited by Photoboy; 11-20-2013, 09:31 PM.
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