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  • Photoboy
    Podium Complete For Class 40

    The Class 40 victory has gone to Redman, co-skippered by Frenchman Antoine Carpentier and Pablo Santurde Del Arco of Spain. Second place went to Banque Du Léman, third to Seafrigo-Sogestran.

    The pair, who started the race as one of the favourites, crossed the finish line of the Transat Jacques Vabre on Monday morning. They completed the course from Le Havre in northern France to Martinique in 21 days 22 hours 33 minutes and 30 seconds, covering the 4,600 mile theoretical course at an average speed of 8.7 knots. Their actual distance covered was 5,502.96 miles and averaged 10.45 knots.

    The whole fleet struggled in the light airs that marked the race, especially in the early days. The leaders were bunched together with little to separate them but the Redman pair pulled off a great move at the Canary islands that gave them a small lead, which turned out to be enough.

    “We didn't want to take too many risks early on, which cost us on that first night off Cherbourg. But we worked hard to get back into the game. Once we sneaked ahead it was a matter of controlling the race” said Antoine Carpentier.

    Antoine and Pablo maintained and grew their advantage - the result of many hours spent at the helm keeping up with the pace imposed by the Class40s just behind them. Not an easy task given the problems they were having, “We had to steer 80% of the time. On the one hand for performance when the sea was choppy, but also because we didn't have much energy on board and the autopilot is very energy consuming" admits Carpentier.

    Pablo Santurde Del Arco said, “It was difficult, but that's what we came for. Antoine and I have known each other for a long time, but we have always been competitors on the water. We didn't have much food, it was hard on the nerves. We had to start rationing two days before Cape Verde.”

    1 hour 4 minutes and 8 seconds after Redman crossed the line, Banque du Léman took second place.

    Valentin Gautier and Simon Koster of Switzerland covered 5,477.45 miles averaging 10.38 knots.

    The pair returned to the Transat Jacques Vabre with the aim of doing better than their fourth placed finish in 2019. Two years ago, their boat was newly launched and short on testing, this time around Banque du Léman, with its scow-bow proved herself against tough opposition.

    Co-skipper Valentin Gautier admitted their second place almost didn’t happen, “We had a scare last night when a spinnaker halyard broke. Spinnaker in the water with the guys upwind going 15-16 knots, we had to react quickly. We managed to bring everything back and after 15 minutes we had a spinnaker in the air again, it was efficient!"

    Simon Koster admits it was a race to the finish, “It was tense right to the last minute. We spent all night fighting it out. It was a great race! The fleet was very close together. We were surprised, we expected to finish the race with 5-6 boats, but we were 30 boats lined up”.

    Co-skippers Cédric Château and Jérémie Mion completed the course in 5,399.04 miles at 10.22 knots.

    Just a few months ago, Mion was at the Tokyo Olympic Games in the 470. He teamed up with Château, who’s director of the Normandy Sailing Sports Centre in Le Havre, to take on the very different challenge of ocean racing.

    Château paid tribute after the race, “Jérémie is someone who doesn't give up, he's a bad loser but a very good winner. We are super proud of our Transat."

    Like many in the fleet the pair had to overcome technical issues and the run to the finish line was particularly stressful, “We lost some ground on our Swiss friends when we tore the big spinnaker. To gain places, we had to steer quite a lot to make the boat go forward, we had some small energy problems on board” explained Château.

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  • Photoboy
    LinkedOut Takes 1st, Apiva Takes 2nd In IMOCA Class

    LinkedOut has taken victory in the IMOCA class, crossing the line in Martinique after 18 days 1 hour 21 minutes and 10 seconds of racing.

    Co-skippers Thomas Ruyant and Morgan Lagravière claimed their first race victory aboard this latest generation foiler thanks to a superbly sailed race that saw them lead for an extraordinary 72% of the race.

    Although the course was set at a theoretical distance of 5,800 miles the french pair actually covered 6,691.30 miles and averaged 15.44 knots.

    Thomas Ruyant speaking after crossing the line said, "I had a lot of fun on the water with Morgan. It's a great sporting experience, these are rare moments. This victory has been in the making for several months, for several years, thanks to the great team working on this project. A lot of things were done before the start. We were lucky enough to have a boat that was ultra-ready, in which we had confidence, on which we could pull, which we did not spare."

    Morgan Lagravière added, "It's a good moment, winning a race is always a pleasure. These are moments of happiness, you have to be able to enjoy them, to savour them. It is not only the sporting result, it is also the values and the human dimension."

    The IMOCA podium will soon be complete as the battles in the chasing fleet intensify. The damaged Ultime, Sodebo 3 is expected to end her heroic race tonight. The Class 40 leaders continue to be bunched together as the sailors struggle with the soaring heat.

    IMOCA – still plenty of action

    Charlie Dalin has added a second place finish to his victory in the previous edition of the Transat Jacques Vabre. Along with partner Paul Meilhat, Dalin crossed the finish line aboard their boat Apivia 20 hours 12 minutes and 21 seconds behind the winner, LinkedOut. The pair covered 6,642.18 miles at an average speed of 14.64 knots.

    Speaking on the finish line Dalin said, “We set out to try and do a double, but we were missing perhaps two or three ingredients, a touch of success, a touch of speed in certain conditions.”

    Apivia led the fleet in the early stages of the race but from Day 5 the lead changed many times between the leading three boats. “We are very happy with this second place. In the end, the final stretches made it impossible to come back. It was a very intense three-boat race”, conceded Dalin.

    The third placed IMOCA, Charal sailed by Jérémie Beyou and Christopher Pratt is expected to finish later tonight.

    The titanic tussle for fourth and fifth is continuing about 350 miles from the finish. Britain’s Sam Davies and partner Nico Lunven on Initiatives Coeur are just 40 miles behind Arkea Paprec sailed by Sébastien Simon and Yann Elies. The two boats were virtually side by side this morning but Arkea Paprec has been the faster boat over recent hours, not surprising as Davies’ boat is almost ten years older.

    Ultime – almost all home

    Actual Ultim 3 crossed the finish line overnight, the fourth of five Ultimes to have finished so far.

    Yves Le Blévec and Anthony Marchand finished 2 days 8 hours 29 minutes and 59 seconds behind the winners Maxi Edmond de Rothschild. They travelled a true distance 9,332 miles at an average speed of just over 21 knots.

    Meanwhile the final Ultime competing, Sodebo Ultim 3 is approaching Martinique on port tack – it’s favoured tack due to a damaged starboard foil. The huge multihull hit an object north of Madeira and despite stopping for repairs co-skippers Thomas Coville and Thomas Rouxel have had to nurse the boat across the Atlantic. She’s expected later tonight.

    ******************************** Interview

    Ending the year on a high with a determining performance from Charlie Dalin and Paul Meilhat. Finesse and feeling played out heavily in their race, allowing the APIVIA pair to cloture a celebratory second place in Martinique.

    The skippers’ eyes twinkled as they were warmly welcomed to Fort-de-France. Here are a few chosen extracts from the press conference this morning.

    Charlie, did you really say that you weren't setting out to be second?

    Charlie Dalin (CD):"It's true that the objective was to go for the double, but we know how transatlantic races work and we set off with a lot of modesty.

    To win a race, you need all the ingredients to be leading: a reliable and fast boat, an inspired strategy, good weather...

    Fortunately, ocean racing does not have a recipe that works every time! The boats have different performances and aerodynamics depending on the conditions.

    We are happy to finish in this position, after a close fight with LinkedOut and Charal. The race was intense."

    Which of the two boats did you fear the most?

    CD: "LinkedOut is a boat quite similar to APIVIA, with differences in hull and structure but both boats are Verdier designs.

    The sail configurations are different, and it is a fast boat.

    With APIVIA, we discovered performances that we didn't know about downwind VMG, a point of sail where we were usually faster than her. In reaching, we are faster than LinkedOut, there was very little reaching compared to "normal" Jacques Vabre conditions. LinkedOut's foils are more suited to these points of sail. They have found the keys to go very fast in these conditions. All their moves went through, they sailed very well."

    Paul Meilhat (PM): "With Charal it was the opposite, when we were in contact, we had that little bit more speed. It's a boat that's typed for downwind sailing.

    CD: "Charal is a good boat and an accomplished boat. I was surprised that it was not mentioned in the podium predictions before the start.

    You took the lead very quickly. You were in the lead at every major stage of the race, but there was always competition coming from behind. How did you feel about that?

    CD: "We would have liked to keep this place! It was a bit frustrating.

    After the gybe to Madeira, we managed to catch a front, and then everyone got caught up with different wind strengths and directions. We got caught up.

    After that, the three boats got together to the south of the Canaries and then it was up to the front along the forbidden zone

    You always want to be up front in conditions that allow you to make the break, but it doesn't always work!"

    We've talked about great weather conditions, but light airs are part of the race too! Don't we tend to forget that?

    CD: "It's part of racing but it's rare! I've always wanted multi-purpose boats. But these were exceptional conditions. We reefed at the start, then reefed at Cape Finisterre for four hours. And then the mainsail spent its life up, just until the finish!

    Between the Canary Islands and Cape Verde, we have seen three different strategies. How did you make your strategic decision?"

    The southerly wind that arrived was quite unprecedented. The forecasts were different from what the files showed, and it seemed dangerous to go so far east.

    We managed to make up for it at Cape Verde with a good idea from Paul to go and exploit a zone of wind acceleration that didn't appear on the files.

    We have a few transatlantic races under our belt with Paul, but this was the first time we left the Canaries! As Nicolas Lunven used to say, "We're crossing the Atlantic via the tourist route!"

    What do you think of this double passage of the Doldrums?

    PM: "At the beginning we thought it was good ... The passage through the forbidden zone to go along Brazil was quite long, with a lot of gybes. It was a bit of a shame.

    CD: "Not much happened in terms of strategy, apart from gybing for 2000 miles..."

    PM: "The combination of this zone and the fact that we were sailing for more than a week in this intertropical zone was hard. We didn't necessarily realise that with this race close to the Equator, we would be staying in a very hot, unstable zone with squalls.

    It's interesting but the start of the race was difficult…"

    What is your overall impression of the year 2021?

    CD:"It was a pretty good year! The project was launched in 2019 and started with a victory in the Transat Jacques Vabre.

    We didn't go lower than second on the podium and didn't experience any retirements.

    I have a great team around me and I have been very well accompanied by Paul with whom we have sailed a lot."

    Tell us about each other!

    PM: "We've been working together for over six months. What I've learned from Charlie is that his will to win all the time turns into a self-sacrifice to leave nothing to chance. He is very thorough. Even when everything is going well, he goes looking for something to go faster! It's very tiring to sail with Charlie, but you don't take sunbeds to rest (laughs).

    CD: "With Paul, it's always very positive and it's always fine, he's never unsettled when we miss an option, unlike me."


    The winner of the last edition of the race in the Class 40 has sustained keel damage, whilst bad weather off Martinique may delay the finish for the leading IMOCAs.

    Class 40

    Late last night Ian Lipinski’s Crédit Mutuel hit an object that damaged her keel. The winner of the 2019 race and co-skipper Julien Pulvé were unhurt and will continue to Martinique but at reduced speed. This will be a particularly bitter blow for the pair as they were in second place when the accident happened and their brand-new boat had been a favourite from the start.

    Meanwhile the leading bunch have just over 1,000 miles to go to the finish line in Martinique. Redman is still leading the fleet but only by 30 miles. Despite enjoying the trade winds, the skippers are finding the conditions more capricious than the weather forecast suggest.

    IMOCA race building to a climax

    The finish line is just a few hours away for leaders Thomas Ruyant and Morgan Lagravière on LinkedOut. They’re expected mid-afternoon CET but are currently dodging the squalls off Martinique so could be delayed.

    The battle for second and third continues unabated between Apivia and Charal. Charlie Dalin and Paul Meilhat have just 40 miles advantage over Charal. With 300 miles still to go, co-skippers Jérémie Beyou and Christopher Pratt have been much faster than Apivia in the last 24 hours so the finish will be nailbiting.

    Further back, 11th Hour Racing Malama(USA) is doing well to hold 10th place considering the damage they sustained almost a week ago. The boat suffered damage to the non-structural fairing of its keel fin. The alloy keel is a one-design component, the same on every IMOCA, and the composite fairings fore and aft allow water to flow smoothly around the structure. This fairing damage is causing a vibration when sailing at high speed and so to manage it, they are sailing around 70% of full speed.


    Leaderboard at 11:00 CET


    1. LinkedOut

    2. Apivia

    3. Charal


    1. Redman

    2. Volvo

    3. Seafrigo - Sogestran

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  • Photoboy
    Ultime Podium Set, IMOCA's Next In Line

    The Ultime podium is complete. Late last night SVR-Lazartigue took second place ahead of Banque Populaire XI. The leading IMOCAs are due in Martinique on Thursday as the Class 40 make good progress across the Atlantic.

    François Gabart and Tom Laperche crossed the finish line to take second place in the Ultime class aboard SVR-Lazartigue. The French pair were 7 hour 56 minutes and 55 seconds behind the winner Maxi Edmond de Rothschild.

    Gabart and Laperche set out on this double-handed transatlantic race with a brand new boat, their main objective was simply to get to the other side safely, so their second-place finish in 16 days 9 hours 46 minutes and 11 seconds is a huge achievement.

    SVR-Lazartigue, which was built at Gabart’s own manufacturing facility, covered the 7,900 theoretical miles from Le Havre at an average speed of 20.09 knots, but she actually covered 9,333.08 miles at 23.70 knots.

    Speaking on the finish line Gabart said, “It feels like a victory. A few months ago, we didn't even know we would be racing. This morning was crazy, I was crying at the helm, it was so beautiful. There is a great winner up front, but behind us we fought hard. I'm very happy with the boat, it has a huge potential for progress. This may be the last race that Maxi Edmond de Rothschild wins, I hope! They're a step above us today, but it's reasonable to think that we can go after them in the next few races."

    About 55 minutes later came the third placed Ultime, Banque Populaire XI. On board were French ocean racing veterans Armel Le Cléac'h and Kevin Escoffier. The blue and white maxi-trimaran, launched only seven months ago, managed to keep up with the pace set by her rivals throughout the course and finished less than 9 hours behind the winner.

    The pair completed the course in 16 days 10 hours 39 minutes and 20 seconds. They actually covered 9,225.53 miles at an average of 23.38 knots.

    Armel Le Cléac'h said, “We were a little frustrated to have been overtaken by François and Tom for second place. But in the end it was a very positive race. We are very happy with the boat. Our friends on Maxi Edmond de Rothschild were untouchable. We still have a lot to learn about this boat and how to improve it.”


    Meanwhile the IMOCA fleet is spread across the north-east coast of South America. LinkedOut has won her duel with Apivia and now has a 150 mile advantage and is just 350 miles from the finish.

    Defending title holder Charlie Dalin and Paul Meilhat on Apivia will be anxiously looking back over their stern where Charal is sitting only 55 miles behind in third. The battle for that second spot on the podium is far from over.

    It’s neck and neck for fourth. There’s little to separate Britain’s Sam Davies on Initiatives Coeur from Arkea-Paprec sailed by Sébastien Simon and Yann Elies. USA’s 11th Hour Racing Malama is 7th, part of a large bunch of boats sprinting to the finish that includes Italy's Giancarlo Pedote on Prysmian Group.

    Only 75 miles separate the leading ten boats in the Class 40 fleet. Redman holds her lead 23 miles ahead of defending title holder Ian Lipinski on Credit Mutuel.

    Back in 11th are Britons Brian Thompson and Alistair Richardson who’ve struggled with the boat’s electronics throughout the race. This includes their autopilot, forcing them to steer manually most of the time. As a result they report being exhausted but in good spirits, “We are super pleased with how we are going, especially as our boat is an old design and doesn't have the new scow bow, which most of the leading boats have. We've had to ration food and water because we only had enough for 20 days and it's looking like it will take 22 or 23 days. It's very hot below deck and so we're unable to spend any length of time down there. We're pushing hard and hoping to make up some more places before the finish. We're both in good spirits and enjoying the challenge.”

    All seven Ocean Fifty multihulls have now finished the Transat Jacques Vabre. And we have a winner in the esports version of the race.

    Whilst Primonial may have won the trans-Atlantic race, the Diamond Rock Trophy went to Solidaires en peloton-Arsep co-skippered by Thibaut Vauchel-Camus and Frédéric Duthil.

    The trophy is awarded to the fastest boat on the final stretch of the race. As the race-boats approach Martinique they must pass the famous landmark of Diamond Rock that also marks the start of the timed sprint to the finish line. Solidaires en peloton-Arsep completed the sprint in 43 minutes and 32 seconds. They finished the actual transat race in 4th place.

    Results of Diamond Rock Trophy in Ocean Fifty:

    1. Solidaires en peloton - Arsep (Thibaut Vauchel-Camus - Frédéric Duthil): 43'32

    2. Les P'tits Doudous (Armel Tripon - Benoit Marie) : 54'22

    3. Arkema 4 (Quentin Vlamynck - Lalou Roucayrol) : 1h03'46

    eSailing race winner

    After 17 days we have the first class winner in the Virtual Regatta Transat Jacques Vabre race.

    Thanks to a great comeback from the Doldrums PassTaga-BSP crossed the line as the winner in the Ultime class. Gameuro 974-EZ and rija2 were second and third respectively. The majority of the 300,000 esailing skippers are still at sea and will continue to flock across the finish line over the next few days.

    Winner, PassTaga-BSP has followed an incredible rise to fame; 2nd in the Rolex Fastnet Race, winner of a leg of the Solitaire du Figaro, and now a Transat Jacques Vabre race victory. All this in just one year since taking up the game. What’s the secret to success? “A lot of investment, in terms of time and hours of sleep sacrificed and then the almost constant desire to optimise every element that can be optimised. A pinch of success, and that's it!”

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  • Photoboy
    Podium Complete For Ocean 50's

    Primonial has taken line honours and the Ocean Fifty multihull title in the 2021 Transat Jacques Vabre race. French pair Sébastien Rogues and Matthieu Souben crossed the line in Martinique ahead of Koesio in second. Britain’s Sam Goodchild was third aboard Leyton.

    Photo by Jean-Louis Carli / Alea

    Primonial took 15 days 13 hours 27 minutes and 14 seconds to cover the 5,800 theoretical miles from Le Havre to Martinique in the West Indies, averaging a speed of 15.4 knots. They actually covered 6,536.56 real miles at 17.50 knots.

    Sébastien Rogues and Matthieu Souben crossed the finish line in the dark of night, under a full moon and drenched by light rain to claim the Ocean Fifty title - the first of 150 boats still racing to cross the line near Martinique’s legendary Diamond rock.

    Talking amidst the celebrations on board, Matthieu Souben told us, “We’re very emotional right now. We didn't expect it to be easy, we said before the start that there were no favourites. It’s a really great race but it has been hard because it has been long, longer than expected. It has required a lot of commitment, the chess game on the water started early. We gave it our all and are totally exhausted now.”

    Photo by Jean-Louis Carli / Alea

    Koesio second

    2 hours 27 minutes and 58 seconds later Koesio crossed the line in second place. Co-skippers Erwan Le Roux and Xavier Macaire took 15 days 15 hours 55 minutes and 12 seconds to cover the race distance.

    Le Roux said, “To have a good regatta, you need good competitors and I think with the whole class it has been very close. There were no big gaps and the racing was intense. This second place suits us perfectly.”

    Photo by Jean-Marie Liot / Alea

    Leyton third

    The only non-French sailor in the Ocean Fifty class took third place, 3 hours 48 minutes and 29 seconds behind the winner. Britain’s Sam Goodchild and co-skipper Aymeric Chappellier on their boat Leyton took 15 days 17 hours 15 minutes and 43 seconds to cover the course.

    Straight after crossing the line Goodchild told us, “It was our first transatlantic race on this type of boat. These are extraordinary boats that can go very fast, so you have to be careful. We learned a lot about the boat and ourselves.”

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  • Photoboy
    A Near Flawless Run For Cammas & Caudrelier

    A brilliant victory for the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild in Fort-de-France

    Tuesday 23 November 2021 - They waited for the sun to shine over Martinique before lining the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild up with Diamond Rock and taking full advantage of their crushing victory in the Transat Jacques Vabre. At 10 hours 16 minutes et 16 seconds locale (14 hours 16 minutes et 16 seconds UTC), Franck Cammas and Charles Caudrelier crossed the finish line set between the Trois Ilets and Fort-de-France marina. Sailing a masterful race, the skippers of Gitana Team win the star category in the Coffee Route, utterly dominating play in the Ultime fleet to leave their competitors trailing some 100 miles in the wake of the five-arrow flying maxi-trimaran.

    A fine demonstration

    Leading the way out of Le Havre, on 7 November 2021, the skippers of the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild headed the fleet throughout the 16 days 1 hour and 49 minutes of racing, with the exception of the passage across the Bay of Biscay where they relinquished control of the race for a matter of hours. Fully assuming its role as favourite and able to demonstrate the extraordinary potential of the only Verdier design in the fleet, a pioneer of her generation, the Cammas - Caudrelier duo have treated Gitana Team to a second victory in the Transat Jacques Vabre to complement that of 2013. The two sailors now boast seven trophies in all in this event; four for Franck (2001, 2003, 2007 and 2021) and three for Charles (2009, 2013 and 2021).

    Since their arrival within the Gitana Team in 2019, the pairing has jointly won every prize going. In this way, this Transat Jacques Vabre confirms the pertinence of Ariane and Benjamin de Rothschild’s decision to unite these two stellar sailors at the helm of a unique duel skipper model.

    ariel images © Yann Riou / polaRYSE / GITANA S.A

    The perfect course

    In this 15th edition of the Coffee Route, the giants of the Ultime category sailed a course tailored specifically to their needs, namely 7,500 miles, two passages across the equator and a brief sprint along the South Atlantic to the Trindade and Martim Vaz archipelago and back at 20°30 south. The Maxi Edmond de Rothschild actually covered 9262,13 miles at an average speed of 24,1 knots.
    Though Franck Cammas and Charles Caudrelier posted an impressive performance out on water, back on shore they were able to rely on a top-flight routing cell. In Lorient, Erwan Israël and Stan Honey, together with Chris Bedford on the other side of the Atlantic, traced the ideal route for them. The Franco-American duo worked fantastically well for the whole of the race, the two skippers in perfect harmony with their routers and generous in their praise of the options proposed throughout.

    Franck Cammas, Charles Caudrelier and all the Gitana team dedicate this victory to Baron Benjamin de Rothschild, who passed away early this year and present it to his wife Ariane de Rothschild and their four daughters. Heir to the Gitana lineage and founder of the Gitana Team 20 years ago, Benjamin de Rothschild was a visionary owner without whom none of this would have been possible

    © J.Champolion / polaRYSE / GITANA S.A

    The numbers that add up to victory

    Start on 7 November at 12:27 UTC
    Finish on 23 November at 14hrs, 16min and 16sec UTC
    Course time: 16 days, 1hour, 49 minutes, 16 second
    Number of miles covered: 7500
    Average speed along the route: 20,41 knots
    Passages of the equator: 3 (1 on the outward leg, 2 on the return leg after passing São Pedro)
    Maximum lead recorded over the competition: 443.7 miles over Banque Populaire XI during the climb between Trindade and São Pedro.
    24-hour record: 803 miles covered at an average speed of 33.5 knots.

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  • Photoboy
    The Primonial Urge To Finish


    22 November 2021
    Last sunrise aboard Ocean Fifty Primonial! This last night was strategic since our sailors were able to seize an opportunity to scavenge several tens of miles on their pursuer Koesio. Now with a comfortable lead, the two skippers are heading for Martinique and heading towards the Rocher du Diamant.

    The crossing of the finish line is gradually becoming clearer and the Primonial rocket is expected at Fort de France in the middle of the evening around 10 p.m

    Sébastien: "It was our last sunrise at sea on this Transat Jacques Vabre this morning. It's our last day of racing! We're going to spend Barbados mid afternoon. It's going to be careful navigation, there's going to b traffic, sargasses... We will have to take good care of the boat. We will enjoy these last hours at sea before we meet again! "

    Matthieu: "Couette wakes up this morning on board Primonial. It's been ten days now that we've been fighting head on, with ups and downs, especially the Black Pot that gave us the thread to rewind. We managed to stay on top, not looking back, it's not an easy exercise. Last night we had the opportunity to do a little bit of a mushroom... Heading out this morning a little early. Next, we don't know her but we're going to live it together! "

    The first boats are expected to arrive in Martinique overnight. The three fastest classes are slipping slowly through an area of light winds whilst the Class 40s are loving the trade winds.

    Ultimes – where did that come from?

    As the Ultimes were heading to Martinique on a single tack and dreaming of the finish line, they became mired in a patch light wind that seemed to come from nowhere.

    Aboard the leading boat Maxi Edmond de Rothschild, they're taking it easy, "There isn't much breeze 5-6 knots, which doesn't correspond to the weather files and it's been going on for a long time. We have to be patient, there's not much we can do" stated Franck Cammas this morning during the radio session. These huge boats need over 15 knots to fly, anything below that and they drag significantly in the water struggling to get up any sort of proper speed.

    The finish line in Martinique still feels a long way off but Franck Cammas and Charles Caudrelier are expected to cross it between 23.00 and 03.00 tonight. "We've been really looking forward to arriving for a few days now. But this lack of wind has calmed us down a bit. We want to go faster and enjoy the Martinique atmosphere.”

    Class 40 – a party atmosphere

    The majority of the Class 40 fleet are now enjoying the trade winds and heading straight for the finish. The fleet is tightly grouped which means the crews have been catching up on the VHF. Pierre Casenave-Péré, on board Legallais writes, "It was good to get news from our friends on other boats. Everything is going well for them too, apparently, even if they have too much salt and not enough sugar to eat. It's a bit the opposite with us.”

    Redman continues to lead the fleet, shadowed closely by Volvo. 35 miles behind the leader is the winner of the last edition of the race, Ian Lipinski on Credit Mutuel. Croatia Full of Life has slipped to 13th place – read our feature with her skipper Ivica Kostelic here.

    IMOCA – it’s the gybes talking

    The gap is widening between the three leading boats and their pursuers. In their sights are the end of the gybing and the start of the fast, straight stretch home - if conditions allow.

    Groupe Apicil passed Fernando de Noronha this morning, followed by seven other IMOCAs, including two foilers, who should reach the finish in the next 24 hours. Charlie Enright on 11th Hour Racing Team – MĀLAMA (USA) describes passing the waypoint, "Fernando looks like Jurassic Park. Absolutely beautiful. Any semblance of civilisation is a welcome sight when we haven't seen land for a while." One solitary boat, Nexans-Art & Fenêtres, has chosen to head further north of the South American coast, a move intended to reduce the number of gybes.

    Ocean Fifty – the leading trio pull away

    The seven Ocean Fifty boats have divided into three groups. Primonial, Koesio and Leyton form the leading trio and all are within 60 miles of each other. They have been battling for places for four consecutive days now.

    With a little over 24 hours to race to the Martinique finish line, Sam Goodchild (GBR) and Aymeric Chappellier aboard Leyton have been pushing hard to escape the and get into the tradewinds for the final sprint to the finish line. Their duel with Koesio, who’s second, continues. They have a little over 350 miles to the finish line and Goodchild can’t wait, “We’re looking forward to getting back on to land and getting a shower, other than that we’re in good shape.”

    Leaderboards at 08.00 CET
    1. Maxi Edmond de Rothschild
    2. Banque Populaire XI
    3. SVR - Lazartigue

    Ocean Fifty
    1. Primonial
    2. Koesio
    3. Leyton

    1. LinkedOut
    2. Apivia
    3. Charal

    1. Redman
    2. Volvo
    3. Crédit Mutuel

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  • Photoboy
    More Woes For Mālama


    Fifteen days into the Transat Jacques Vabre and it was a cruel start to the morning for the embattled duo of Charlie Enright and Pascal Bidégorry, as they rounded the turning mark at Fernando de Noronha. Having revealed yesterday that they have damage to the trailing edge of the keel fin, which was causing severe vibrations throughout the boat, the crew are having to limit their speed as they head towards the finish in Martinique, some 2,000 nautical miles to the north west. At around 0900 UTC this morning, their rivals in the IMOCA class, Corum L’Épargne, passed them sailing three knots faster, and pushing Mālama into seventh place.

    The alloy keel is a one-design component, the same on every IMOCA, and the composite fairings fore and aft allow water to flow smoothly around the structure.

    In his message to the race organizers last night, Enright explained how they found the damage onboard the boat. “We’ve been dealing with a lot of breakages throughout the course of this race, such is the nature of a new boat on an action packed and competitive track like this one.

    “None of these ‘little incidents’ compares to what we went through yesterday. While reaching along in what I will refer to as a typical doldrums squall, we hit 28 knots of boat speed with the J2 and a full main. Shortly thereafter, the boat essentially tripped over itself and we were no longer able to achieve speed.

    “Assuming we’d caught something, we proceeded to try and ‘broach’ it off the keel. When that didn’t work, we backed down … and then backed down again. I took a look in the endoscope and saw what I thought was a line.

    “In a last ditch effort to figure out what was going on, we tacked the boat, hove-to with the keel to leeward and I went over the side to inspect.

    “It wasn’t a rope at all, it was the intake tube that lives in the aft keel fairing…and the aft keel fairing itself was gone.”

    Mālama is now under a limited sail plan which will reduce the speed of the boat to around 70% to reduce the onboard vibrations. It will be a tough uphill battle for Bidégorry and Enright, mentally and physically; they will need to dig deep as they nurse Mālama safely, but slowly, to the finish.


    DAY 16 – NOVEMBER 22, 2021 – 15:30 CET
    Update by Amory Ross

    There is not a whole lot that has changed in the last 24 hours. By now Charlie and Pascal can probably hear the footsteps of the closest boats in the rearview, but they have done a good job working with what they have to make up some fast miles towards Martinique. Overnight, Mālama was sailing equal speeds to the competition but a fraction lower for a better overall VMG, or velocity-towards-Martinique. It’s clear they haven’t lost the fight, gybing a handful of times to stay flush with the coastal exclusion zone rather than lazily stray too far north.

    In the context of racing a compromised boat, these conditions are perfect for minimizing high loads but being able to push a little harder. They are however at the mercy of the wind gods for the foreseeable future, and these 10-15 knot downwind conditions – which are ‘easy’ on the boat – will soon give way to a reach in the coming days. Reaching is a more loaded point of sail, which puts more stress on things like the rig, foils, and keel, so their ability to push like they currently are will be diminished and they may again see the surrounding boats begin to accelerate.

    They are doing their part to control what they can control! The rest will just have to play out for them.

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    A Mass Sprint To Martinique

    The Leaders in all four classes are on a direct route to the finish. The Ocean Fifty multihulls lead the race with just 720 miles to the finish line but the doldrums await them for a second time as the Ultimes and IMOCAs close in.


    Class 40 – all to race for

    If you look at the Class 40 fleet on the tracker it looks like they’ve re-started the race with most bunched south of the Cape Verde islands and heading west. They’re picking up the north-easterly trade winds and have lined up on starboard tack, bows turned towards the finish.

    Redman have a ten-mile advantage on second-placed Volvo, both boats that have consistently led over the past weeks. However, just behind them the passage through the islands has shuffled the pack with some new boats coming to the fore. Franco-Italian boat Guidi is now third with Croatian Ivica Kostelic on Craotia Full of Life moving into fourth. With only 100 miles separating the top 20 the next week of racing promises to be exciting.

    IMOCA – gybes talking

    11th Hour Racing Team Malama (USA) will shortly round the waypoint at Fernando De Noronha, side by side with Corum L’Epargne the pair are the link between the boats that can still win and those whose chance seems gone. Meanwhile the three leaders are gybing their way up the north east coast of South America led by LinkedOut, Apivia and Charal – 100 miles separates first from third.

    Ultimes – drag race to the finish

    The Ultimes continue to be full steam ahead which is just as well because the weather is hot and steamy now they’re off French Guiana, “It's mainly the heat that is bothering us but as we're going quite fast, it's pretty windy" says Tom Laperche from SVR-Lazartigue. Alongside partner François Gabart, Laperche is working hard to close the gap on leaders Maxi Edmond de Rothschild and second placed Banque Populaire XI. They are also having to keep a close eye on the Ocean Fifty, "We're looking forward to getting there, there's a chance the Ocean Fifty will get there before us but we're working hard and we'll try to get there on Tuesday night. The boat is really top notch, 820 miles in less than 24 hours, she has great potential! In the coming months SVR - Lazartigue will be even faster”

    Ocean Fifty – anything could happen

    Now into lighter winds and flatter seas – 10 to 12 knots – the change of regime after days and nights in the muscular tradewinds is a welcome one for the Ocean Fifty fleet. Sam Goodchild and Aymeric Chappellier on Leyton sit third with just 750 miles to the finish line in Martinique. The Anglo-French pair caught up more than ten miles on the leaders Primonial and there might be more compression as the fleet slows through the Doldrums again. With just 60 miles separating them from the leader, Goodchild and Chappellier poised to take any opportunity that comes their way.


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    Blistering Rides For Ultimes, Not So Much For Class 40

    For the pacesetters on the the maxi trimarans, Gitana, Banque Populaire and SVR-Lazartigue, life in the fast lane is good, with 30 plus knots being the norm, and not the exception,
    Franck and Charles on Gitana have passed the last turning mark and are on the home stretch! Now the key is to avoid breaking anything and sailing into any holes!

    The IMOCA top 3 boats, LinkedOut, Apiva and Charal are enjoying speeds in the mid 20's and will continue to distance themselves from the rest of the fleet!

    All of the Ocena 50's have rounded their last turning mark, with the top 3, Primonial, Koesio and Leyton extending their lead from the other 50's

    Now down to just 43 boats, the Class 40 podium positions still look up for grabs for the top 15 boats, with 2,200 nm plus yet to go, anything is possible!

    Class 40 Go west!

    The leaders have finally turned west at the Cape Verde islands. Redman is out in front and has chosen a route through the islands but their lead is now only 45 miles. Strategy is not their only concern though as co-skipper Pablo Santurde del Arco (ESP) explains, "We're going to be short of food for almost a week, but we mustn't let our morale get too low. Given the circumstances, we are pretty happy".

    Croatia Full of Life has made big gains overnight to move into third place. Ivica Kostelic (CRO) and his partner are closely shadowing the leaders but with islands now to port and starboard Class 40 fans will be glued to the tracker to see which of the many possible routes the boats will choose.

    IMOCA – leaders head for finish

    This is now the most extended fleet in the race with 1,000 miles separating the leader from the back. The leading three boats are leaving the Doldrums. There’s little to separate LinkedOut, Apivia and Charal and the winner will likely come from this pack.

    Apivia, co-skippered by Charlie Dalin and Paul Meilhat have been the fastest boat over the last 24 hours. Ahead of them is the fast downwind ride up to Martinique with an ETA of Thursday 25th November for the leading IMOCAS.

    Over 200 miles further back and still staggering through the doldrums is the chasing pack led by Sam Davies (GBR) on Initiatives Coeur with Charlie Enright (USA) on 11th Hour Racing Team Malama in tow.

    Ocean 50:joy and pain

    Whilst one Ocean Fifty celebrates a birthday, another suffers the huge frustrations of a blown spinnaker, just when it’s most needed.

    As the fleet speeds towards Martinique, Solidaires En Peloton-ARSEP has been struck by the sailing equivalent of a pulled hamstring. Thibaut Vauchel Camus and Fred Duthil ripped their large gennaker (an important sail for this final stretch) to the finish line in Martinique. The pair attempted a long and tedious repair of the 25 metre rip saying, "We had to try. We didn't want to regret not trying". Thibaut and Fred are currently 5th out of seven and are expected to arrive around the 24th of November.

    Meanwhile onboard Leyton there was a double celebration. Yesterday saw them move through the fleet and are now in third just 100 miles from the leader and today is British co-skipper Sam Goodchild’s 32nd birthday (photo above). Although he’ll hardly have time to celebrate – the pair did five gybes overnight which has meant limited sleep and they are currently focused on maintaining Leyton’s 23 knots of speed this morning. "It's not easy on many levels, physically and mentally, but we're not going to give up anything for this last stretch.” Goodchild told us this morning.


    Conditions are ideal for the speed-merchants who have covered more than 750 miles in 24 hours and are making lightning speeds of around 30 knots. This trip along Brazil is nothing but pleasure for the Ultime fleet, who "are in one of the most beautiful places in the world to sail, with flat seas and a small beam," according to Thomas Coville (Sodebo Ultim 3) during his morning call.

    Maxi Edmond De Rothschild has a 400 mile lead but still faces 2,000 miles to the finish line.

    Leaderboard at 09.00 CET
    1. Maxi Edmond de Rothschild
    2. Banque Populaire XI
    3. SVR - Lazartigue

    Ocean Fifty
    1. Primonial
    2. Koesio
    3. Leyton

    1. LinkedOut
    2. Apivia
    3. Charal

    1. Redman
    2. Project Rescue Ocean
    3. Guidi

    Current ETA in Martinique:
    Ultime : Maxi Edmond de Rothschild 23 November

    Ocean Fifty : Primonial night of 23-24 November

    Imoca : LinkedOut 25th November

    Class40 : Redman 30th November

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  • Photoboy
    The Beat And The Heat Goes On

    The next two days could be crucial in deciding the winners. Lead changes are expected across three of the four classes today as the weather roles the dice.

    Ocean Fifty – searching for a way out

    Lying 4th Leyton have made up nearly 100 nautical miles on the OceanFifty class race leaders Primonial since yesterday. There are around 300 miles to the little Brasilian island of Fernando de Noronha which is the most southerly turning mark on the Transat Jacques Vabre race.

    Sam Goodchild and Aymeric Chapellier are quickest in the OceanFifty class this morning making over 17 knots, but – as ever – the British sailor remains cautious, “Are we out of the Doldrums yet? Well, that is not a question you ask or answer….when you say you are out you’re not! And we saw yesterday afternoon our friends in the west were going SSW at good speeds but last night they were stopped, which is good for us. We are not out the Doldrums and will just carry on going SSW until we get to Fernando. Yesterday was a chance to just catch up on rest, I think we both got some good longer sleep which was good, proving we really needed it. We are just plugging away.”

    Later today, the class should break free and start to pick up speed towards Fernando de Norohna, the final turning mark before Martinique.

    Class40: focus on strategy

    The head of the Class40 fleet is getting closer and closer to Cape Verde and more particularly to the island of Sal, which they must leave to starboard before they can head across the Atlantic. However, the weather conditions remain complicated, "The conditions are light and it's not going to get any better for the next 24 hours. We'll have to cross a zone of light winds before we can hope to find the beginnings of trade winds," explained Valentin Gautier (Banque du Léman) in a note received last night.

    The leading group has been caught up again and "our lead over the fleet will melt away like snow in the sun. We will be trying to make the most of it once again, as the next night promises to be one of the most important of this transatlantic race" said the Edenred pairing last night.

    Ultime: the miles are flying

    This morning, the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild has a 300 mile lead over the second ranked Ultime, Banque Populaire XI.

    Franck Cammas and Charles Caudrelier have averaged much higher speeds than the rest of the fleet as they head towards the virtual course mark located 20 miles to the north of Trindade Island. "It's always nice to have a lead over our pursuers like that, it allows us to manage things better, but we mustn't forget that in a multihull it doesn't represent much time, so it can come back quickly. We mustn't stop, we mustn't have any technical problems and then it’ll be fine." explained Cammas on French radio this morning.

    They’re expected the round the waypoint early this afternoon before starting the ascent towards Martinique at high speed. At the rear of the fleet, Sodebo Ultim 3, who had decided to start racing again despite a weakened foil, is now out of the Doldrums and will be able to follow in the footsteps of her rivals up front and begin her descent.

    IMOCA – the pressure is on

    The high pressure, cat-and-mouse racing will continue into another day. At the front of the pack LinkedOut, Charal and Apivia have broken free, leaving three other boats Initiatives-Coeur, Arkea Paprec and 11th Hour Racing Team - Mālama, 140 miles behind them.

    By the end of the day the leaders should enter the Doldrums, a zone that is becoming increasingly complicated. They will first have to find a favourable entry point to the east and then will have to slalom between the squalls and the lack of wind. A good 36 hours of nail-biting decisions await the skippers.

    The Class 40 fleet is an exciting mix of top professional and amateur sailors, of old and new boats. It is also a class divided in two by 150 miles of Atlantic ocean. We caught up with a boat near the front and one near the back to hear how both have coped with some tough racing.

    In the leading bunch and sitting in 7th place is the professional British pair of Brian Thompson and Alastair Richardson aboard Tquila. Earlier this year the pair broke the transatlantic speed record as part of the crew on Argo – this Transat crossing couldn’t be more different! Ten days into the race they are approaching Cape Verde and contemplating their next move, “If the leaders stay bunched and close to the islands then we might go wide and stay in slightly stronger winds. That’s the dilemma at the moment” explained Richardson this morning.

    Their seventh place is a remarkable achievement considering they have struggled for days with the electronics on board. This has meant no satellite connections or up to date weather data. Alastair used his mobile phone whilst skirting the Canary Islands to call his wife so she could advise on their position using the race tracker on the website.

    Luckily for us they regained connection with the outside world just before our morning call. Thompson was in good spirits, “We seem to be doing miraculously well considering all the trouble we’ve had. It has been fantastic racing”

    The problems also led to a faulty auto pilot which means the pair have had little sleep, “We’ve got an older boat and when we drive it manually we’re about a knot faster so we’ve been sailing the boat most of the time. We’ve only used the auto-pilot when we’re super super tired but that also broke the other day, so it has been a nightmare. At the moment, I’m taking it to bits to try to make it work.” explained Richardson, a former Olympic and America’s Cup sailor.

    At the other end, in the second bunch of 20 boats are Dutchmen Frans Budel and Ysbrand Endt. Their boat Sec Hayai is in 36th place and passed the Canary Island of Palma this morning. Budel is a race rookie but for Endt it’s a second time in the Transat Jacques Vabre, “This has been so different from the first time. The conditions are so completely different than any other time I’ve been here” admits Endt who has taken on much of the navigational responsibilities aboard.

    The conditions are not the only things that have tested the pair, “We almost lost the generator for our electrical system but then we managed to get it off our transom, repair it fully and even modify a bit to make it better” explains Endt with a laugh of satisfaction.

    Neither sailor is thinking about the end of the race, they’re focused on making up ground on their nearest rivals, “We’re only thinking about the next two days and getting past the Canaries as fast as possible to try to win places. Our goal is to get back into to the top thirty.”

    450 miles ahead of the Dutch, the British pair on Tquila are enjoying their sailing again after fixing the electrical problems on board, “The start of the race was wonderful and it’s fantastic racing at the moment. We’ve got an interesting few days coming up weather-wise though because this is the last bit of good wind then it’ll be sub 10 knots in the coming days”

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    Cat And Mouse Battles In The Doldrums

    After nine days of racing the monohulls are still bunched together in cat and mouse battles in which any mistake will prove costly. Maxi Edmond de Rothschild keeps getting faster at the front of the Ultimes whilst the Ocean Fifty class may well be shuffled as they enter the Doldrums.

    Ultime - enter the southern hemisphere

    The Ultimes have been speeding south since escaping the doldrums yesterday. The technical battle of previous days has turned into a speed race between the four leading boats. However, discounting any possible breakages, catching the leader seems like an almost impossible task. Franck Cammas and Charles Caudrelier on Maxi Edmond de Rothschild are almost 300 miles ahead and have averaged 3-4 knots more over the early morning than the chasing boats.

    François Gabart on his new trimaran SVR - Lazartigue is doing his best to stay in touch with the leaders, "The doldrums were difficult for us. We lost a lot of ground on our competitors.”

    The crews are now heading upwind towards the next waypoint at Fernando de Noronha.

    IMOCA – man to man marking

    After a long descent along the African coast in search of thermal breeze, the leading group has gybed and is starting a long starboard tack toward the entrance to the Doldrums. The conditions are lighter, forcing the pairs to focus on sail, foil trimming and mast setting. LinkedOut, is still holding the lead but only 70 miles separate the top 5 boats. Apivia is only seven miles behind in second place. It’s a game of cat and mouse, who will blink first?

    Ocean Fifty: winning contest on the programme

    The 50-foot fleet is a playful one. The seven crews have been challenging each other in speed duels over recent days but all this will change as they enter the Doldrums.

    Thibault Vauchel-Camus (Solidaires en Peloton - ARSEP) explained on their radio broadcast this morning that they feel short-changed by the conditions recently, "Primonial is leading the way, even though we're following a similar weather and geographical route. That's the beauty of sailing! Anyway we’re only halfway there so there's still plenty more time!”

    Primonial is still in first place, while Koesio and Solidaires en Peloton-ARSEP are closing the gap. Further east, CGA-1001 Sourires and Arkema 4 seem to have opted for a more direct route. If conditions allow them a quick crossing, this could once again shake up the ranking.

    Class40: yet another slowdown in sight

    The leading 40 footers are seeing the miles pass under their bows as they slide along the coast. The gybes continue to punctuate the race of this very tightly bunched fleet. If the weather forecast is correct then the frontrunners will likely slow while the chasing pack continue in good breeze. Benoit Hantzberg explains more from his boat Volvo, "The next few days are going to be lighter. There will be a lot of gybing to do to get to Cape Verde. It will be similar to what we had along Portugal. That's also why we do these races, not necessarily just for the long speed tacks!"

    As the fleet heads south the crews are absorbed by strategy, tactics and what on earth to wear.

    Ultime: next waypoint in their sights

    The Maxi Edmond de Rothschild is seemingly unstoppable. Franck Cammas and Charles Caudrelier are smoking south at 30 knots just 600 miles from Trindade and Martim Vaz, the Brazilian islands they have to round before heading up towards Martinique. Their current ETA to the finish line is about a week. Thomas Rouxel, on board Sodebo Ultim 3, concedes they’ll be tough to catch, "They have the lead, they are more comfortable with all points of sail, they are exceptional sailors, I can’t see what could stop them winning, barring technical damage or a twist of fate in the second Doldrums.

    At the rear of the Ultime fleet, the Sodebo crew who suffered foil damage last week are crossing the Doldrums. They’re close to the leading Ocean Fifty boats and are effectively out of the race but that doesn’t mean to say they’re not pushing the limits where they can. leaders. "We're still racing because we are developing the boat, making it more reliable, making adjustments and working with our routing team.” says co-skipper Thomas Rouxel. “There are a lot of parameters to work on, but we're still aiming for performance. We also want to enjoy it because sailing on these boats is exceptional, even if it's not obvious in the Doldrums.

    Ocean Fifty: down in the Doldrums

    The entire Ocean Fifty fleet is now approaching or in the Doldrums. But the three leading boats are still dominating. Over the last 24 hours, they have covered more miles than Sodebo Ultim 3, which is in the same waters. Primonial continues to lead ahead of Koesio and Solidaires en Peloton-Arsep. As the Ocean Fifty boats are following a shorter route than the Ultimes, they are also expected in Martinique on 23rd November.

    IMOCA – when light means tough

    This Transat Jacques Vabre 2021 is proving tough on the monohulls. For days now they’ve struggled with unfavourable conditions and continue to search for breeze close to the African coast. The leading six today made their break, heading west to Cape Verde. LinkedOut has done best and has a small lead over Charal and Apivia.

    Sitting fourth is Sam Davies on Initiatives-Coeur where there are more than just navigational concerns;

    “Yesterday I still had my hat and fleece on, but tonight it's different, it's warmer. …we were looking for the stuff in our bags and we both agreed we'd packed too many fleeces, hats, gloves etc... my bag is really too big (as a girl I have the right to have a bigger dressing room, right?) Then, I finished changing into my shorts, I go back on deck but Nico continues to rummage in his bag.

    "Sam" he says.


    "I forgot my t-shirts".

    I suggest a solution: I share my T-shirts.

    Nico will wear size 10 (or 12 if he's lucky) women's clothes for the next 11 days.

    And he'll do the laundry.”

    Class40: Canaries split the fleet in two

    25 boats have now passed the Canaries. This first half of the fleet is spread out over 400 miles. It is still led by the same boats: Redman and Volvo, positioned further west. The other half of the fleet remains north of the Canaries, 20 boats spread out over 300 nautical miles. Terre Exotique is rear guard over 700 miles behind the leader just north of Madeira.

    Leaderboard at 18.00 CET

    1. Maxi Edmond de Rothschild
    2. Banque Populaire XI
    3. SVR - Lazartigue

    Ocean Fifty
    1. Primonial
    2. Koesio
    3. Solidaires en Peloton - ARSEP

    1. LinkedOut
    2. Charal
    3. Apivia

    1. Redman
    2. Volvo
    3. Banque du Léman

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    Nov 15th Update: The Multi's And The Doldrums

    The Ultimes are escaping the Doldrums, the Ocean Fifty will face them next. The monohulls, meanwhile, are enjoying the African breeze and positive vibes.

    Ultime: time for some speed

    Lead boat Maxi Edmond de Rothschild has emerged from the Doldrums having entered them on Saturday night. As you’d expect the chasing pack have cut the lead to 160 miles but Cammas and Caudrelier have now accelerated and will build back a big advantage on the rest who remain mired in the Doldrums. The leaders now have their sights on Trindade and Martim Vaz, the Brazilian islands that are the Ultime’s next waypoint, 1200 miles further south.

    Amongst the chasing three boats are the new-builds Banque Populaire XI and SVR - Lazartigue. Kevin Escoffier has vowed he won’t give up, "There is still a lot of work to be done, we are barely half way through the race. There's still a long, tight reach to the mark, then a downwind reach to get back up, and finally a long downwind leg to Martinique. The road is long, I think the race will be less strategic than on the descent of the Atlantic, more of a speed race if there are no reliability problems with the boats. He is delighted with the performance of Armel Le Cléac'h's trimaran, which was only launched earlier this year, "Managing to sail such boats soon after their launch proves that they are easy boats. And they still have a lot of potential for development.

    Ocean Fifty: Primonial breaks away

    For some time we’ve been reporting on a compact fleet but that all changed today. One boat has broken away in impressive fashion. Sébastien Rogues and Matthieu Souben averaged 3-4 knots per hour faster than their rivals over the last 24 hours – a performance that’s given them a 200 mile lead over Koesio and Solidaires en peloton - Arsep.

    Primonial now has Fernando de Noronha in their sights, which they will have to round before heading for the West Indies. The Brazilian archipelago is 750 miles ahead of them... but to get their they must cross the Doldrums. At the rear of the Ocean Fifty pack are two stragglers sitting 500 miles from the leaders; Arkema 4 and Groupe GCA - 1001 Sourires.

    Imoca: sticking with Africa

    For the moment, the 60-footers are sticking to the African coast. They are approaching Cape Verde and, unlike the multihulls who went before them, they all seem to be choosing a route to the east of the archipelago. No one is attempting the open sea, everyone is playing the regatta card, taking advantage of the better conditions (more wind, more pressure) coming from the thermal breeze created by the Sahara desert. Within the leading group of 6, it is once again Apivia, the most westerly, who is leading the way. Further north is a group of outsiders made up of 7 IMOCA boats - of which two are not foilers. One of them is Kostum-Lantana Paysage, holding her own in 13th place. Co-skipper Marie Tabarly is delighted, "We were not at all set on doing this, that's for sure! We mustn't forget that we launched the boat two months ago, we haven't sailed many miles, so we are really discovering the boat. She's a war machine! I feel like I'm on a magic carpet.

    Class 40 – Positive vibes all round

    Redman negotiated the tricky passage through the Canaries problem free to hold on to the lead from Banque du Leman.

    In 26th position this Monday evening, the Kervarrec father-son partnership aboard Samsic-E. Leclerc, "I have been disinherited yet so it’s all going well" joked Simon on a call to race HQ today. "We are rediscovering ourselves in a vast universe. We share a lot, he teaches me, I teach him, it's great".

    A little further north, the Courtois twins, aboard Saint James-Biscuiterie de l'Abbaye, are still a little awestruck by their illustrious opponents like Kito De Pavant or Sébastien Audigane, "It's great to think we’re giving big names a run for their money. They haven’t shaken us off so we're not doing too badly".

    Positivity as well from the boat almost at the very back Thibaut Lefevere and Thomas Bulcke on Free Dom, "We didn't come to do a Transat Jacques Vabre because it’s easy. It’s tough but we support each other, we remain super positive and have fun. It's not our job, we're not professional sailors, we're amateurs, being here is an incredible opportunity.”

    Briton Brian Thompson aboard 8th placed Tquila was jubilant at getting a phone signal whilst passing the Canary Islands. “Just managed to log in on my phone here in the Canaries… what an amazing race so far…. Alister and I making a great team and enjoying the competition. Highlights for me have been the super close racing down the Normandy and Brittany coasts, the dolphins, stars and moon.”

    The leaderboard at 1800 CET

    1. Maxi Edmond de Rothschild
    2. Banque Populaire XI
    3. SVR - Lazartigue

    Ocean Fifty
    1. Primonial
    2. Koesio
    3. Solidaires en peloton - Arsep

    1. Apivia
    2. LinkedOut
    3. Arkea Paprec

    1. Redman
    2. Banque du Léman
    3. Volvo

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  • Photoboy
    The Details Of The Dismasting And Aftermath

    A Coruña - November 11, 2021

    A bitterly disappointed Simon Fisher (GBR) and co-skipper Justine Mettraux (SUI) spent last night in a hotel in A Coruña, Spain, and not onboard their 60-foot race yacht, 11th Hour Racing Team Alaka’i, after being dismasted off the coast of A Coruña yesterday, Wednesday, November 10. The team were four days into the Transat Jacques Vabre, a 5,800 nautical mile race from Le Havre, France to Martinique, in the Caribbean.

    At 14:02 UTC Fisher and Mettraux informed their shore team that the 95-foot mast had fallen down in 23 knots of wind [26 mph; 43 kph], and in a choppy sea state, as they raced in 7th place among the 22 IMOCA 60 boats competing in the race. Both sailors were unhurt in the incident and have abandoned the race.

    Speaking from A Coruña, Mettraux said, “Both Simon and I are really disappointed - we just didn’t imagine this would happen to us. We had a good start to the race, and were going well at the time. I am so sad to stop the race like this, especially as we have had such a good year racing together, the miles we have sailed and the experience we have gained. We are also gutted for the whole team who had helped us to prepare so well and got us to the startline last Sunday.”

    The double-handed pairing were sailing downwind in 20-25 knots of breeze, about 7 nautical miles offshore from the Spanish city on day four of the transatlantic race. With one reef in the mainsail, and with the sailors under cover in the cockpit, the boat nose-dived into a large wave and the co-skippers heard a loud bang.

    Fisher picks up the detail: “I heard a loud banging noise and I think it was fairly obvious from where we were sitting inside as to what had happened. We went up on deck and assessed the situation. The mast had gone down over the front of the boat and then as a result of that, the boat drifted over the top of the rig [mast] - we had a long battle ahead to try and get the rig back onboard. That was our first goal, our first aim - to be able to get [the mast] onboard and save as much of the mast, sails and rigging as we could.

    “With it being washed under the boat it was impossible to pull out. We worked hard to get the boat to turn around, get the rig sticking out so that maybe we could pull it onboard more easily. But as we started to work on that and got the boat pointing upwind and the rig out from underneath the boat, the whole rig actually started sinking quite quickly.

    “So we were unable to get the mast back on the boat - it was going to be too much for the two of us to pull it onboard. And at that stage we were starting to risk further damage to the hull and the foils. We had to make the difficult decision to cut everything away, but we saved as much as we could. We've hopefully minimized the damage to the boat and now we're motoring towards A Coruña where we'll be received by our good friend Chuny [Roberto 'Chuny' Bermúdez - a round the world sailor], who is going to help us tie up.”

    11th Hour Racing Team’s shore crew travelled overnight from the team’s French base in Port-La-Forêt, Brittany, and met with the co-skippers this morning.

    “This is obviously a huge disappointment for the sailors, and the wider team, however what is most important is that Simon and Justine are safely ashore,” said Team CEO Mark Towill. “We are undertaking a full assessment of the damage and are finalizing a plan to get the boat safely back to France,” he concluded.

    Damian Foxall, sustainability program manager at 11th Hour Racing Team and a 10-time round-the-world race veteran commented about the loss of equipment overboard. “Simon and Justine are two of the very best offshore sailors and we are fully confident they made the right decision for the boat and themselves at the time. As we have seen twice now in this race [there was a previous dismasting on another team’s IMOCA during the first night], incidents do happen, and in highly pressured situations, the team has to make instinctive decisions taking into account human, economic and environmental implications.

    “Clearly it is best for the environment that nothing is lost overboard. We will be taking the environmental aspects into account as part of our campaign footprint.”

    The Transat Jacques Vabre is a biennial race from France, and for the first time in the 28 year history of the race, will finish in Martinique. 79 teams are taking part, including Fisher and Mettraux’s teammates - Charlie Enright and Pascal Bidégorry who are racing in the newly launched IMOCA - Mālama. As of 1500 UTC on Thursday November 11, they lie in 5th place overall with 4,825 nautical miles [5,553 miles; 8,936 km] to go.

    The fleet is due to arrive at the finish in Fort-de-France, Martinique around 25 November.

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    Diverting To Madeira: Mission... Repair And Rejoin

    While sailing in second position in the Transat Jacques Vabre at the latitude of Morocco, Sodebo Ultim 3 violently collided with an UFO on the night of Wednesday and Thursday, around 1 a.m. Thomas Coville and Thomas Rouxel, who immediately slowed down the boat to make an initial diagnosis, observed that the starboard foil had been damaged.

    In permanent contact with the routing cell and the entire technical team to find a solution, the Sodebo Ultim 3 crew failed to make satisfactory repairs to remain competitive and continue their journey south.

    They then decided to make a technical stopover - authorized on the double deckchair - near Funchal (Madeira), where they planned to arrive the next night (from Thursday to Friday) around 1 a.m., at the same time as five members of Team Sodebo, dispatched to the site.

    Thomas Coville and Thomas Rouxel as well as the entire Team Sodebo have only one goal: to start racing again as quickly as possible and to finish this 15th edition of the Transat Jacques Vabre. What confirms the team manager Jean-Christophe Moussard: “After having logically accused the blow mentally just after the collision, the two Thomases very quickly regained the upper hand with the desire to find solutions to continue the race, we are all in this situation. state of mind. We had exchanges of photos with them to answer their questions, we identified the few parts that we needed to go as quickly as possible in the repair. We are all in warrior mode, we want to go to the end, we do not let go, whether it is us, on the ground, and the two Thomases, who are very proactive and focused. "

    A new race against time has started. The team dispatched to Madeira should arrive in Funchal around 12:30 am with the sole objective of repairing the boat so that it can start racing again as quickly as possible.

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    More Things That Go Bang In The Night

    Sodebo Ultim 3 is being assessed following last night's collision with an unidentified floating object. 11th Hour Racing Team - Alaka'i have officially abandoned the race after yeasterday's dismasting. The rest of the fleet has now split up as the four different classes head south at decent speed.

    Ultime : Sodebo Ultim 3 damaged. The fleet passes island of Madeira

    Last night at 01h00 (French time), Sodebo Ultim 3 hit a UFO, damaging the starboard foil. Thomas Coville and Thomas Rouxel are fine and are safe in the boat. They are currently continuing their race but at a slower pace.

    Their rivals in front are deciding on different options as they approach Madeira. SVR - Lazartigue and Actual Ultim 3 have chosen to pass to the east of the island, while Maxi Edmond de Rothschild and Banque Populaire XI will pass to the west.

    Armel Le Cléac'h and Kevin Escoffier have managed to catch up with the group, "We've made some great manoeuvres and we're happy to be back in the game. Once again, a lot of things are going to happen" Escoffier said.

    The next few hours should be calmer, before picking up speed again as they approach the Canaries, which they should reach by midnight. Escoffier explains, "The trade winds are not established so the descent of the Atlantic will leave room for some play. We're staying on top of it because the wind is unstable, so there's quite a bit of trimming to do."

    The weather is getting warmer for the giant multihulls, which is a good sign of progress.

    Ocean Fifty: A waltz of gybes

    The gap is widening between the two multihull classes, but the 50-footers are fighting back well. They continue to make progress southwards and are now at the latitude of Cape St Vincent. In these conditions of 10-15 knots of wind, downwind, the Ocean Fiftys are fast.

    Since rounding Cape Finisterre, the boats have been battling it out by gybing get an advantage on their rivals. "There's a great fight going on and we're in the game. We compare our performance every hour. There are a lot of options to take, it's great", Benoît Marie (Les P'tits Doudous) explained on the radio this morning.

    IMOCA: arm wrestling along Portugal

    The fleet of 21 is seeing plenty of one-on-one duels but he biggest is at the front. Apivia and LinkedOut have been battling it out from the start. Charlie Dalin and Paul Meilhat are still in first place, but the gap is narrowing. 30 miles to their north, Initiatives-Coeur and Charal are fighting for third place, and 11th Hour Racing Team - Mālama and Arkea Paprec for fifth.

    The pace is changing as they slip south, Morgan Lagravière (LinkedOut) explains, "We are changing our rhythm a little bit as the miles go by. We're spending less time at the chart table now, which is rather nice because we're in the game. It's very positive for the future. There'll be some good battles over the next few hours."

    Meamwhile 11th Hour Racing Team - Alaka'i reached La Coruña last night following the breaking of their mast. Simon Fisher wrote, "Sadly we will be officially retiring from the race. Hopefully we’ll be back for the next edition!"

    Class40: will pass, will not pass

    The 40-foot fleet now stretches over 200 miles. The gaps have been widening since they escaped the windless high pressure zone. The frontrunners have been able to start their descent towards Cape Finisterre, leaving the rest of the pack behind. However the wind remains unstable.

    Contacted this morning at the radio session, the crew of Lamotte - Module Création recounted their misadventure of the morning, "We're in a bit of a mess. The spinnaker went in the water, fortunately we managed to recover it! Everything is fine though. We're working hard and trying to get the boat moving fast."

    Once back at a decent speed the Class 40s will have to make as much distance as possible because another obstacle is heading their way. The high pressure cell is moving to the south-east and, if they're not careful, they could once again get stuck in a light wind zone allowing everyone to bunch up once again.

    Wednesday's video race roundup

    Morning leaderboard at 08.00 GMT

    1. Maxi Edmond de Rothschild (Franck Cammas - Charles Caudrelier)
    2. SVR - Lazartigue (François Gabart - Tom Laperche)
    3. Actual Ultim 3 (Yves Le Blevec - Anthony Marchand)

    Ocean Fifty
    1. Koesio (Erwan Le Roux - Xavier Macaire)
    2. Primonial (Sébastien Rogues - Matthieu Souben)
    3. Solidaires en Peloton - ARSEP (Thibaut Vauchel-Camus - Frédéric Duthil)

    1. Apivia (Charlie Dalin - Paul Meilhat)
    2. LinkedOut (Thomas Ruyant - Morgan Lagravière)
    3. Charal (Jérémie Beyou - Christopher Pratt)

    1. La Manche #EvidenceNautique (Nicolas Jossier - Alexis Loison)
    2. Lamotte Module Création (Luke Berry - Achille Nebout)
    3. Edenred (Emmanuel Le Roch - Pierre Quiroga)

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