• 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.





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    IMOCA.org 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."



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    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.





    TRACKER

    Leaderboard at 11:00 CET

    Imoca

    1. LinkedOut

    2. Apivia

    3. Charal



    Class40

    1. Redman

    2. Volvo

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