• 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
    This article was originally published in forum thread: A New Course For TJV started by Photoboy View original post