• More Woes For Mālama

    WEEK TWO IN THE TRANSAT JACQUES VABRE


    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.

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