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2017 Transat Jacques Vabre

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  • Buzz Light Beer
    That can't be fast.

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  • Photoboy
    Capsized Multi 50 Dreken Group Rescued

    After capsizing in their 50ft trimaran, Drekan Groupe, in the North Atlantic just before 21:00 UTC last night (Wednesday), whilst competing in the Transat Jacques Vabre 2017 race, French sailors, Eric Defert and Christopher Pratt were rescued this morning by crew from the Dutch cargo ship, Beautriton. Both sailors are safe and sound.

    Drekan Groupe was racing downwind east of the Azores in 25 knot north-easterlies - with violent squalls of 35 knots - and a cross sea. The boat was not under autopilot. Defert and Pratt just had time to get into the cockpit before the boat turned over completely. They donned their survival suit and triggered their Cospas Sarsat emergency beacon.

    The MRCC Punta Delgada received the distress call at 08:58 UTC and warned the race management. Pratt was able to call Sylvie Viant (race director) on the Iridium emergency phone to let her know that neither he nor Defert were injured.

    The boat being 380 miles from the island of Terceira (Azores), meant that no helicopter had sufficient range for a resuce. Therefore the MRCC decided to divert the nearest cargo ship, the MRV Beautriton, flying the Dutch flag, which was 30 miles away from the overturned trimaran. A Portuguese Navy patrol boat was also requested to assist in the search operation.

    At 01:34, the Bautriton announced to the MRCC that it located Drekan Groupe and was able to talk on the VHF with the crew. Given the weather conditions, they mutually agreed to wait until daybreak to proceed with the rescue and to remain in standby near the capsized boat. Finally, at 09:38 this morning (Thursday) the Beautriton put a lifeboat in the water and recovered the two sailors safe and sound. The cargo ship is heading to Georgetown in the United States.

    At the request of the MRCC and in accordance with the International Maritime Regulations, Defert turned off the Sarsat beacon before leaving the boat (its function is for solely locating and rescuing sailors). So, now there is no longer any location information of the Drekan Group wreck. It is not yet known if a means of recovery will be put in place by estimating its drift.

    This is obviously a hard blow for the skipper, Defert, who had a hard time making ends meet the project, calling on local help before leaving Le Havre.

    Rescue in progress for Drekan Groupe
    MRCC Punta Delgada (Azores) and MRCC Lisbon have been coordinating the rescue operations since Drekan Groupe capsized 300 miles east of the island of San Miguel in the Azores archipelago last night.

    At midnight, a Dutch cargo ship, BEAUTRITON was diverted to the position the 50ft trimaran had given. As soon as they arrived on the scene, the captain of the cargo ship made contact with the two skippers, and agreed to wait until daybreak before attempting an evacuation, given the heavy weather conditions (4m waves and 25 knots of north- easterly wind).

    At 06:56 UTC, Eric Defert Voile, skipper of Drekan Groupe, contacted the race office to say that the cargo ship would try to put a life raft in the water to pick he and Christopher Pratt up, at daybreak. The two skippers had put on their survival suits and declared themselves fit and well.

    The MRCC also told the race office that a Portuguese Navy patrol boat had left the Azores in order to arrive at area this afternoon

    Last edited by Photoboy; 11-09-2017, 10:05 AM.

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  • Prince of Whales
    Nice coverage of this event pb!

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  • Photoboy
    Sharp Extends Lead as Merron Heads Home

    Anticyclone 1039 hPa at 45 north and 27 west, slowly shifting east.
    Stormy depression 1012 hPa at the Canary Islands, stationary. ITCZ at the 6 north.
    Forecasts for the day of Wednesday, November 8, 2017:

    Ultime Class: Heading southwest to south
    Good descent south, the sea is settling down a bit, the north-westerly swell is diminishing.
    Northerly wind blowing at 20/25 knots will accompany them all day.

    Multi 50, IMOCA: the gybing game.
    During the descent south, it will be necessary to refine their trajectory.
    The goal is to keep the pressure without going to look too much for it around the Canaries, where a stormy depression is active.
    The sea is complicated: crossed, and the road is strewn with stormy squalls.

    Class 40
    Downwind with a north to northeast diet, a difficult cross sea around Cape Finisterre.
    Trend for the day of Thursday, November 9, 2017
    The trade winds are softening for the race leader, behind that, north-west of the Canaries there are strong winds from the north-east, gusting up to 40 knots. Caution will be required in this unstable area.

    British sailor, Miranda Merron and her French co-skipper - in sailing as in life - Halvard Mabire were heading for land this evening (Tuesday) to assess a damaged port rudder after their Class40 boat, Campagne de France, broached in heavy conditions in the Bay of Biscay.

    Both sailors are apparently uninjured and will draw on all of their enormous experience to return to this 13th edition of the Transat Jacques Vabre. Shortly after 12:00 UTC, Campagne de France, maintaining a strong challenge in 5th place in class, suffered a brutal broach, causing the bracket holding the port rudder, to break.

    Sharp extends lead as Merron heads home
    The Anglo-Spanish duo, Phil Sharp and Pablo Santurde (Imerys Clean Energy) extended their lead at the front of the 40ft monohull fleet, as Halvard Mabire and Miranda Merron (Campagne de France) were limping back to Cherbourg, their home port, nursing a broken port rudder. They are expected back at midday tomorrow (Thursday).

    Such has been the pace, complication and fatigue after 72 hours at sea since the start from Le Havre on Sunday, that Sharp admitted that he fell asleep at the helm today (Wednesday) -"that's when I realised it might be a good idea to change with Pablo," Sharp said. "I think we're getting 3-4 hours in 24 hours."

    "It's been difficult because it's been really unstable, so it's hard to keep the boat flat the whole time. I woke up a couple of times in the night with the boat over and my bunk nearly vertical. It's quite alarming. The second time I came back to find the sleeping bag had unfortunately gone in a big pool of water in the boat - that was not good.

    Sharp took back the lead last night then stretched 20 miles ahead of his nearest French rival - Aïna Enfance & Avenir - with five French boats all within 40 miles behind. Despite the fatigue and hot-bunking one wet sleeping bag between them, he and Santurde were able appreciate the result of their efforts.

    "The conditions we had yesterday were insane, pushing the boat like that pretty much the whole day at speeds on the limit was quite an experience. We've been pushing really hard and when we realised we'd taken a big advantage it was hugely positive for us and we've been really spurred on to try keep extending."

    The bad news is that the antenna on their main satellite system failed this morning so they have not been able to download weather files. With no outside assistance allowed, that will be complicated as both the Class40 and the back of the larger Imoca 60ft monohull fleet will have to cope with squalls, gusting up to 30 knots and big seas in the open seas off Portugal as they head to the Azores.

    For the two Ultime-class trimarans at the front, it looks like being a much easier giant slalom on port tack all the way to the Doldrums. The Multi 50 and the leading Imocas have a few more bumps in the road, with a cross sea and they need to be accurate with the route and avoid the effects of the active depression around the Canaries.

    Whilst you are sleeping, spare a thought for Lionel Lemonchois and Bernard Stamm, Prince de Bretagne, the smaller Ultime, who will make their pit-stop to fix the broken mainsail halyard tonight in the shelter of the island of Santa Maria in the Canaries. "We should get there between midnight and one o'clock in the morning (French time)," Swiss co-skipper Stamm said. "We have to get up the mast and put everything right in less than two hours. We will see if we can get everything down or not."

    Speaking about the damage sustained crossing the cold front that battered the fleet yesterday and that has knocked them out of the running and maybe out of the race, Merron said both she and Mabire are uninjured but feeling low.

    "Other than being absolutely gutted, we're fine," Britain's Merron said. "We'd positioned ourselves in relation to the rest of the fleet where we wanted to be (and were lying in fifth place), we had good downwind conditions, we had the fractional spinnaker and two reefs in the main and the boat was flying. Then the boat wiped out, it took us a while to get it upright, whereas normally its straight away, then we realised the port rudder (bracket) had broken and then the boat obviously wiped out again pretty much immediately.

    "We don't know whether we wiped out because of the rudder or if the wipeout caused the boat to break. Then, we couldn't get the boat upright because the rudder was swinging around wildly. Then the spinnaker blew up. So, it took a while to sort that out, because it was in several pieces and didn't want to come down. We got that down eventually and managed to detach the rudder before it made a mess of the back of the boat.

    The damage has forced Merron and Mabire, partners on land as well at sea, back to France rather than heading to Spain, which would have required a starboard tack.

    "We can only sail on port tack, as we've only got the starboard rudder at the moment," Merron said. "We looked at our options and decided to go Cherbourg because the conditions were favourable for getting there on port tack and at least we'll be in a home port and we can have a look to see whether we can repair it quickly and leave again."

    They said:

    Samantha Davies, co-skipper, Initiatives-Cœur (Imoca)

    "It's Rock'n'roll here, downwind in an unstable wind, with friends not far away (Multi 50 and IMOCA). At the moment, we've making almost 30 knots and we have all the canvas out, so we're being vigilant and changing watch often so as not to be tired outside. But we're slamming less so we can sleep a little better and the trackball is staying in the same place. We're still in dry suits, but it's a little less humid. Well, we just switched over, Tanguy is outside, I'm going to sleep a little ... good night!


    P.S. our thoughts are with Miranda and Halvard; I hope they manage to find shelter without too much difficulty."

    Bernard Stamm, co-skipper, Maxi 80 Prince de Bretagne (Ultime)

    "A little message, to say that we're advancing as well as we can with our two reefs in the mainsail and the solent. The gennaker is staying in his bag because the halyard is occupied by the mainsail. And hey, we should not be with them, but we we've in sight of Saint-Michel Virbac. It was nice to see them anyway and Jean-Pierre (Dick) called us for a little bit of chat."

    Date : 08/11/17 - 16h06

    1 - Imerys Clean Energy
    2 - Aïna Enfance & Avenir
    3 - TeamWork40

    1 - FenêtréA - Mix Buffet
    2 - Arkema
    3 - Réauté Chocolat

    1 - St Michel - Virbac
    3 - SMA

    1 - Maxi Edmond de Rothschild
    2 - Sodebo Ultim'
    3 - Prince de Bretagne

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  • Photoboy
    Transat Leaders Near The Azores


    07 November 2017 - 12h27

    After a day of climbing to the west, the leaders of the Transat Jacques Vabre tacked last night. In powerful conditions, the Ultime, Multi 50 and Imoca are back a direct route at sustained speeds in stable north-westerlies. Behind them, the Class40 have left the tip of Brittany and crossed the front this morning. Some boats are nursing damage, some are laying low - two have made stopovers at Camaret-sur-Mer. But overall, the fleet is preserved.

    Maxi Edmond de Rothschild powered through the front and pointed its bows towards Salvador de Bahia at around 20:00 UTC last night. “We crossed the front in two hours, that's the advantage of the multihull,” Sébastien Josse told the race radio this morning. He and his team-mate, Thomas Rouxel, still have a grip on the race. Averaging more than 30 knots on more smoothly rolling sea, they have increased their lead to 50 miles over Sodebo Ultim’. Maxi80 Prince de Bretagne was making half the speed, which was explained when the duo Lionel Lemonchois and Bernard Stamm informed their technical team this morning that had broken their mainsail halyard while crossing the front, last night. They are already over 250 miles behind. One of the pair will have to climb the mast to make the repair and for that they will have to wait until the sea-state is calmer.

    Multi 50
    Arkema continues to set the pace even if Lalou Roucayrol admitted to having been "forced to slow down just before crossing the front where we actually flew several times.” The question of the day is whether or not Réauté Chocolat, who dodged the worst of the cold front by diving to the South at the cost of multiple manoeuvres, will be able to minimize its losses? Skippers Armel Tripon and Vincent Barnaud have slipped from second to fourth, and were sailing at a speed two times lower than Arkema. We will know by the afternoon. Ciela Village (Thierry Bouchard and Oliver Krauss) and FenêtreA-Mix Buffet (Erwan Le Roux and Vincent Riou) are less than 30 miles from the leader on the same angle.

    Positioned furthest north of the Imocas, Jean Pierre Dick and Yann Eliès on St-Michel Virbac caught the wind rotation to the northwest first. In strong, reaching conditions, the favourites have extended their lead to over 20 miles over the continually impressive foil-less SMA (Meilhat-Gahinet), who seem to be holding off the more modern foiling boats behind them. The battle of the Azores is just beginning and St-Michel Virbac, making 18.5 knots is neck-and-neck with the leading Multi 50, Arkema, with the two fleets intertwined.

    Anglo-Spanish duo, Phil Sharp and Pablo Santurde (Imerys Clean Energy) have moved into third behind the newly-launched leading boats Carac (Louis Duc, Alexis Loison) and Aïna Enfance et Avenir (Aymeric Chappellier, Arthur Le Vaillant). The winds were not quite as strong as expected in the cold front – around 30 rather than 40 knots. But before the front the 40ft monohulls, the smallest boats in the race spent their time shaving the rocks, even passing through the Passage du Four and the rocks of Molène island last night to get out of the Channel. In the wake of the leaders, Eärendil stopped in Camaret to repair their staysail, and the Brazilian team, Mussulo 40 Team Angola Cables, are heading to the same port to solve their electronic problems. Esprit Scout and Gustave Roussy seemed to be following the same path but were perhaps trying to negotiate the front from a different angle.

    In this dawn, the Brazilian Leonardo Chicourel and the angolan José Guilherme Caldas were forced to stop the boat boat 40 team Angola in camaret, Northwest of France, to solve electronic problems in the class40

    Damage to France (Association Association)
    Hallvard Mabire joined shortly after 15 hours today Sylvie Viant, running director of the transat Jacques Vabre. He informed her of a serious damage that occurred shortly after 13 hours, French time, on the French campaign.
    Hallvard Mabire and Miranda meron sailing team should in the next few hours decide on their destination.

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  • Photoboy
    started a topic 2017 Transat Jacques Vabre

    2017 Transat Jacques Vabre

    A pumped up Phil Sharp and Pablo Santurde (Imerys Clean Energy) – the Anglo-Spanish pair – were first across the line in the Class40 as the 13th edition of the Transat Jacques Vabre 2017 started at 13:35 (French time) from its home in Le Havre, in Normandy, France today (Sunday). Beautiful light but lively weather greeted the fleet of 37 boats and 74 crew.

    With 15-18 knots of north-westerly winds, a choppy shallow sea and plenty of current against them, they negotiated 15 miles of coast to round the first marks at Antifer and Étretat. It will be a highly technical and tactical starting phase, with lots of sail changes and no sleep tonight.

    The Ultime should be passing Ushant around midnight, followed by the Multi 50 in the middle of the night. The Imoca and Class40 are likely to suffer most in a softening wind against the strong currents at the tip of Cotentin, and the gaps with the multihulls will already start to widen.

    It may be a marathon not a sprint, but Sharp, the leader of the Class40 championship, was raring to go as the boats had their tremendous send-off from the pontoon. “(I’m feeling) anticipation and hunger to get out there,” the 36-year-old Sharp said. “I feel the pressure of it (being one of the favourites). I’m hoping for 17 days, I’m aiming high.”
    All four classes are looking at record times for this bi-annual double-handed transatlantic “Route du Café” race of 4,350 miles to Salvador de Bahia, in Brazil.

    With every kilo counting, Britain’s Sam Davies said they had taken two days of food off Initiatives-Cœur. Some benefitted from this: “We got our ham,” were virtually Sharp’s final words as he pushed off. “Alex Pella (the Spanish sailor on the Multi 50 Arkema) had an excess of jamon so he gave us some. We decided we would take the same amount of food but just eat more every day, the worst thing you can do is run out of food.”

    That international camaraderie of the fleet was extended by Davies, who wished good luck to the many offshore racers and record breakers in the Atlantic this weekend, which includes a larger number of former Transat Jacques Vabre competitors.

    “First to all the fleet in the Transat Jacques Vabre good luck and I hope to see you all in Salvador,” Davies said. “But we’re not the only ones out in the Atlantic: to the Dongfeng race team on the Volvo Ocean race you too are about to set off on a massive leg to Cape Town, thanks for your encouragement, and the same back to you, to Charles (Caudrelier), a winner of the of the Transat Jacques Vabre in 2009), Carolijn (Brouwer) and yes Carolijn, Foxy is going to be onboard Initiatives-Cœur don’t worry! Good luck to the whole fleet and especially all the girls from Team SCA.

    “A massive good luck and bon vent to Yves Le Blevec (a winner of the Transat Jacques Vabre in 2011) on Actual Ultim, a boat that I know well, from having done the Bridge with you this year. And François Gabart (a winner of the Transat Jacques Vabre in 2015), who is also setting off on Macif on a record this weekend - sail safe and sail fast. And we mustn’t forget the mini-Transat because you guys have been out there for one week already. What a great weekend for sailing.”

    First across the start line
    Ultime: Sodebo Ultim’
    Multi 50: FenêtréA - Mix Buffet
    Imoca: St Michel – Virbac
    Class40: Imerys Clean Energy

    They said:

    Seb Josse, skipper, Maxi Edmond de Rothschild (Ultime)
    “It promises to be a fast crossing, but ETAs are not our priority. We’ll encounter conditions we’ve never had with this boat. Our goal is to get to Bahia, as best we can, and especially lay low for the first two days. You feel the stress of the start as soon as you are passing through the lock; there’s only one metre on each side of the boat, you have to be really focused and you have a knot in your stomach. So, the whole team will do everything to try to avoid all the hazards.”

    Alex Pella, skipper, co-skiper, Arkema (Multi 50)
    “We’ve had a fantastic week in Le Havre, sunny days and the now we have dark skies, perfect for the start. We’re looking at 12 days (to finish) maybe, it looks like being a fast race. We had 14 days of food and we’re leaving 2 days of it on the dock. The first two days could be intense. First thing, there’s the emotions, the stress, we’re sailing close to the other boats, lot of traffic on the Channel, we have a lot of current against us in the beginning, it’s windy, everything, no? Then we need to cross an area with no wind after the point of Brittany and after that the front. But that’s what we came for (laughing).”

    Erwan Le Roux, skipper of FenêtréA - Mix Buffet (Multi50)
    “Three victories in the Transat Jacques Vabre changes nothing, we always have this little knot in our stomachs that grows when we leave the pontoon and disappears little by little when we sail, because that's what we know how to do. Everything is good, but a grain of sand can stall a machine. You have to stay focused and then think about sleeping, and resting before the front. This is the key to thinking clearly and staying alert.”

    Phil Sharp, skipper, Imerys Clean Energy (Class40)
    “The second night is going to be very windy, the front is going to be brutal and so are the waves. We’re going to be going straight into some really nasty swell and then after we tack we’ve just got a monumental amount of wind that is going to come down from the north. We really need to anticipate when we get that change and be ready for it.”