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Thread: The Transat bakerly Begins

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    The Transat bakerly Begins



    History of the Transat


    The 25 boats in The Transat bakerly 2016 fleet set sail today on one of the great races in solo sailing, the 3,050-nautical mile passage across the north Atlantic from Plymouth to New York.

    Spectators both on shore and on the water turned out to watch as the mainly French fleet gathered under grey skies on Plymouth Sound to answer the starter’s gun fired from the decks of the Royal Navy frigate HMS Kent at 14.30hrs.

    Ahead of the solo skippers and their boats lies one of the most daunting challenges in professional sport – the north Atlantic, complete with bitterly cold storm force headwinds, an ever-present adverse swell, freezing fog and even the danger of ice.





    The forecast for this year’s race – the first time this classic has been staged since 2008 – is for a reasonably quiet start but for 45-knot headwinds and big seas for the leading yachts by Wednesday, as they head into the Western Approaches.

    The fleet is divided into four classes, each of which will produce an official winner of The Transat bakerly. The fastest boats are the giant trimarans of the Ultime class, three of which are battling it out for line honours, with the first expected to reach the finish at New York in around eight days.

    Behind them comes the five-strong fleet of smaller Multi50 trimarans which could fly across the “pond” in 12 days, alongside the six IMOCA 60s - the state-of-the-art monohulls used in the Vendee Globe solo round-the-world race that starts later this year.

    The slowest boats will be the smaller monohulls of the 10-strong Class40 fleet which should take around 15 days to complete the course but in which we should see some of the tightest racing.





    Alongside the fleet is a one-off entry by the French racing legend Loick Peyron who is sailing Eric Tabarly’s 44ft wooden ketch Pen Duick II in the same trim as she was when Tabarly raced her to victory in The Transat (then called the OSTAR) in 1964. Peyron is expecting to take around 27 days to reach the finish at New York.

    Among the first to show in 10-12 knot southwesterly breeze, as the fleet headed out to sea, was the Multi50 Fenetrea-Cardinal skippered by Frenchman Erwan Le Roux who ripped across the startline flying-a-hull ahead of two Ultimes, the bright green Sodebo skippered by former Volvo Ocean Race winner Thomas Coville, and the blue-hulled Macif, skippered by Francois Gabart.

    Several skippers were caught out by the lighter-than-forecast conditions at the start and were hastily shaking out reefs as those with full mainsails took advantage. Among the quickest away was Armel Le Cleac’h on the IMOCA 60 Banque Populaire who flew out of the blocks and established an early lead.







    The IMOCA 60 class will see a fascinating battle over the next two weeks between the three entries with foils – Banque Populaire VIII, Edmond de Rothschild (Sebastien Josse) and St Michel-Virbac (Jean-Pierre Dick), and those with more conventional underwater profiles – PRB (Vincent Riou), SMA (Paul Meilhat) and 44 (Richard Tolkien). The foilers may well be quicker but will they be tough enough to last this toughest of courses?

    Earlier there were pre-start nerves on a damp and overcast Monday morning as the skippers enjoyed a final big English breakfast and prepared to depart from Plymouth’s Sutton Harbour Marina and Plymouth Yacht Haven. Sebastien Josse was in a realistic mood about what lies ahead.

    “I am in the mindset of someone who is about to experience very demanding times physically and mentally,” he said. “The Transat bakerly is not much fun but I am very happy to be here. I know I am going to be cold and it’s going to be tough, but I know why I am doing it. I want to do well and I am just thinking through all the things I must not forget and the mistakes to avoid.”



    His fellow Frenchman Armel Tripon on the Class40 entry Black Pepper also talked of the jitters as he prepared to take on the north Atlantic. “Although I slept well I feel I have a little ball of nerves in my stomach but it will disappear once I am on the water,” he said.

    Like all the skippers, Tripon was eyeing the forecast and trying to assess his routing choices, whether to head north or south once clear of the southern Irish coast. “It is not obvious – there is a strategic choice to make at the outset,” said Tripon.

    Herve Favre, Event Director commented: “This race is one of the classics in solo sailing and after it was not staged four years ago we at OC Sport decided it was time to re-launch it. I am delighted to see this hugely competitive fleet of sailors on state-of the art racing machinery now taking on The Transat bakerly 2016 and we wish them all the best for the undoubted challenge that lie ahead.”

    So fasten your seatbelts, this promises to be a wild ride across one of the most notorious stretches of water on the planet – the 2016 Transat bakerly is underway.

    http://www.thetransat.com/
    Last edited by Photoboy; 05-02-2016 at 03:29 PM.
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    VandB Collides With Container Ship




    3.05.2016

    First drama in The Transat bakerly 2016

    A French yachtsman competing in The Transat bakerly solo transatlantic race from Plymouth to New York, was forced to abandone the race today after his boat crashed into a container ship.

    Maxime Sorel on board the yacht VandB was among the leaders in the 10-strong Class40 fleet, as the boats raced downwind in the northern Bay of Biscay about 90 nautical miles west of Lorient, when he reported a collision.

    It is thought the boat suffered damage to its bowsprit, forcing Sorel to head to the French port La Trinite sur Mer in Brittany. Sorel is safe and uninjured and the boat’s mast is stable but he is very disappointed to have to retire

    The collision, which happened in broad daylight and good visibility this morning, in an area of busy commercial shipping off the French Brittany coast, is the first drama in The Transat bakerly which set sail from Plymouth on Monday afternoon.

    Sorel said he was keeping watch as VandB sailed under spinnaker but he did not see the cargo ship. “I was not sailing particularly fast and I tried to avoid it but it was too late,” said the French skipper as he limped toward the French coast.

    He said he had two options when he realised a collision was inevitable. Either hit the ship lengthways which risked bringing VandB’s mast down or hit the ship at an angle, helping to confine the damage to the bowsprit. “I’m stressed seeing all these freighters around me,” he added. “I have this image in my head and when I see one, I get stressed about it.”

    Sorel is hoping to reach port tomorrow morning. Prior to his accident, his was one of 25 yachts in four classes racing across the Atlantic from Plymouth to New York. The fastest boats – the three giant trimarans of the Ultime class – are expected to finish in six days time.

    Just a few hours before the incident Sorel had been in good spirits as he talked about his progress in the satellite phone. He said he had seen 35 knots of wind overnight but conditions were moderating. He joked that he was following the same course as he had taken in the Route du Rhum in 2014 – a predominantly downwind race – as he surfed before a fresh northerly wind.

    “The sea has calmed down a bit compared with the beginning of night,” he said. “All is well on board at this time but I have a couple of hours ahead when conditions will not be easy but then it should settle again. I haven’t eaten too much but I have been drinking lots and managed to get some rest.”

    Later he reflected on the cruel hand that fate played not long after that call. “I’m disappointed,” he said. “You called me this morning to tell me that I was leading the Class40s and now you call to talk to me about why I am giving up. It’s disappointing to have to retire like this. The boat is heading to La Trinite to see what repairs need to be done and there is work to do, so the race is over for me.”

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  3. #3
    That's one way to start a race with a bang.

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    Tracker


    03.05.2016

    The Transat bakerly is already featuring some classic battles.

    A French yachtsman competing in The Transat bakerly solo transatlantic race from Plymouth to New York, was forced to abandon the race today after his boat crashed into a container ship.

    Maxime Sorel on board the yacht VandB was among the leaders in the 10-strong Class40 fleet, as the boats raced downwind in the northern Bay of Biscay about 90 nautical miles west of Lorient, when he reported a collision.

    The boat suffered damage to its bowsprit, forcing Sorel to head to the French port La Trinite sur Mer in Brittany. Sorel is safe and uninjured and the boat’s mast is stable but he is very disappointed to have to retire

    The collision happened in broad daylight and good visibility this morning, in an area of busy commercial shipping off the Brittany coast.

    Sorel said he was keeping watch as VandB sailed under spinnaker but he did not see the cargo ship. “I was not sailing particularly fast and I tried to avoid it but it was too late,” said the French skipper as he limped toward the coast.

    He said he had two options when he realised a collision was inevitable. Either hit the ship lengthways which risked bringing VandB’s mast down or hit the ship at an angle, helping to confine the damage to the bowsprit. “I’m stressed seeing all these freighters around me,” he added. “I have this image in my head and when I see one, I get stressed about it.”

    Sorel is hoping to reach port tomorrow morning. Reflecting on the cruel hand that fate played, he commented: “I’m disappointed. You (the organisers) called me this morning to tell me that I was leading the Class40s and now you call to talk to me about why I am giving up. It’s disappointing to have to retire like this.”

    Elsewhere in the Class40 fleet, the sole British entry in the class, Phil Sharp on board Imerys, has been referred to the Race Committee Jury after apparently sailing through an area of water restricted to commercial shipping at Ushant. The Traffic Separation Scheme (TSS) off that busy corner of France is strictly out of bounds to the yachts in the race rules.

    Sharp has been sailing a superb race in the early stages, regularly holding the lead but he may face a penalty for the infringement. Contacted on the sat phone he said he had not realised the TSS was out of bounds.

    “I was aware of the TSS and I kept well out of the shipping lane but I wasn’t aware that it was a restricted zone – I wasn’t aware that there was a boundary,” he said. Sharp also revealed that he nearly lost his spinnaker when it detached from the rig as he was down below and ended up in the water behind the boat.

    “I looked up one time and the spinnaker was just not there,” he said. “I went on deck to find the whole thing in the water. But it’s fine and not damaged. I managed to get it back and re-hoist it after a couple of minor repairs.”

    The Transat bakerly is already featuring some classic battles. At the front of the fleet the two leading Ultimes, Macif (Francois Gabart) and Sodebo (Thomas Coville) are a little more than a mile apart, heading down the Portuguese coast while, behind them in the southern Biscay, a battle royal is developing in the IMOCA 60 class.

    The leader by a whisker is the hugely experienced Vincent Riou on board PRB who is just managing to stay ahead of the two leading foiling boats – Seb Josse’s Edmond de Rothschild in second place and Armel le Cleac’h’s Banque Populaire in third.

    “Everything is fine, but we had to do a lot of manoeuvres during the night - it was a bit complicated, but as expected and I’m pretty happy with my position,” reported Riou earlier in the day. “The conditions are favourable for the foiling IMOCAs and will continue to be for a few days.

    “I’m currently sailing under spinnaker in around 12 knots of wind. I’m trying to move quickly, but there is quite a lot of swell and there are still some sail changes to make. I’m staying vigilant, always looking out for the next transition. The weather is pretty nice compared to yesterday’s start and I was able to get some rest this morning. I am in good shape,” Riou added.

    - See more at: http://www.thetransat.com/news/view/....96yj1oR7.dpuf
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  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Photoboy View Post
    The Traffic Separation Scheme (TSS) off that busy corner of France is strictly out of bounds to the yachts in the race rules.
    Sharp has been sailing a superb race in the early stages, regularly holding the lead but he may face a penalty for the infringement. Contacted on the sat phone he said he had not realised the TSS was out of bounds.
    “I was aware of the TSS and I kept well out of the shipping lane but I wasn’t aware that it was a restricted zone – I wasn’t aware that there was a boundary,” he said.
    Wait a minute ... You know what a TSS is, but you don't know it has a boundary ... or you didn't read the SI ... or you thought you just had to stay out of the way of ships ... or ??? BS meter twitching.

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    Josse en route to Vigo in Galicia, Spain

    On Wednesday May 4th, shortly after midnight and while sailing off Cape Finisterre in 25-30 knots of northeasterly wind, Sébastien Josse sustained serious damage to the batons on his mainsail, when he broached his IMOCA60 Edmond de Rothschild during a gybe.

    The damage poses no immediate threat but is irreparable at sea, and after consultation with his technical team, Josse has made the difficult decision to retire from The Transat bakerly. He is now en route to Vigo in Galicia, Spain, where he will be joined by members of the Gitana team.

    At the time of the incident, Josse was in a battle near the front of the IMOCA fleet with Vincent Riou on board PRB and Armel le Cleac’h’s Banque Populaire.

    More information to follow shortly.

    - See more at: http://www.thetransat.com/news/view/....673ce5Dz.dpuf
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    The Transat Takes It Toll




    The Transat bakerly is living up to its reputation as one of the toughest challenges in professional sport

    The Transat bakerly is living up to its reputation as one of the toughest challenges in professional sport, with three of the 24 competitors retiring within the last 24 hours and some fierce battles elsewhere in the fleet.

    Shortly after midnight, on May 4th, Edmond de Rothschild skipper Sébastien Josse, was among the leaders in the 6-strong IMOCA fleet, as the boats raced around the north-west tip of Spain off Cape Finisterre, when the Frenchman reported damage to his mainsail.

    In 25-30 knots of breeze, the foiling IMOCA broached during a gybe, resulting in irreparable damage to the sails batten. Josse was forced to head approximately 80 nautical miles to the Spanish port of Vigo in Galicia, where he will be joined by members of the Gitana Team.

    At the time of the incident, Josse was locked in a magnificent battle at the front of the IMOCA fleet with Vincent Riou on board PRB and Armel le Cleac’h’s Banque Populaire, with just 3nm between him and leader Riou.

    “Everything happened very quickly, in maybe 10 seconds. I broke the batons in the mainsail, which hold the top of the sail, in a violent gybe. Despite all precautions, it is unfortunate but these things can happen”, explained Josse. “The damage is not spectacular but it is impossible to imagine I could continue the race. It is really disappointing - I was in the game, in contact with Armel and Vincent. The boat was very well prepared. That’s all the more frustrating as I think the hardest part of this first race was behind us.”



    Just five hours earlier, at 19.00hrs and 60 miles off Cape Finisterre, Erwan Le Roux, the skipper of Multi 50 FenêtréA Cardinal, sustained substantial damage to the port float on his Multi50 trimaran.

    Erwan was leading The Transat bakerly Multi50 fleet when the incident occurred, sailing downwind in a northeasterly 25-27 knots. He managed to secure his boat before alerting his shore crew.

    “I had two reefs in the mainsail at the time and at first it was a big shock. I did not see what happened because I was under the cockpit cover”, explained Le Roux. “I had to intervene immediately to avoid a capsize. I went to roll the gennaker and that’s when I realised that about half of the float was missing”

    “It is super, super hard for me and also frustrating,” added the triple winner of the Transat Jacques Vabre, who is currently heading upwind on port tack, and is expected to reach port near La Coruña within 24 hours.
    Elsewhere in the Multi50 fleet, Pierre Antoine aboard Olmix is the only skipper to choose the northerly route, giving him the class lead at this stage, the rest favouring a southern course in the early stages before they begin heading west. Lalou Roucayrol on board Arkema leads that group, 3nm ahead of Gilles Lamire on French Tech Rennes St Malo.

    Forty hours into the race the three-strong Ultime class are powering their way southwards past Lisbon, Portugal, with the overall lead being disputed by Thomas Coville on Sodebo and Francois Gabart on Macif, with Coville 12 miles ahead at 04.00am and flying along at over 30 knots of boatspeed.

    “It is going well – and very quick. There is around 30 knots of wind and big seas which is causing the boat to fly off the waves,” explained Gabart. “Overnight it has been really dark – there were only three stars in the sky. We monitor the tracking to see where Thomas is. There are not many miles in it and when we go at 30 knots, it means 40 minutes is nothing.”

    Further north and making their way through the Bay of Biscay, there are some classic battles within the the 9-strong Class40 fleet, with the overall lead being disputed by Britain’s Phil Sharp on Imerys – who may face a penalty after apparently sailing through a restricted area - and France’s Thibaut Vauchel-Camus on Solidaires en Peloton-Arsep, with less than a mile between the two.

    Fellow Class40 skipper Maxime Sorel on Vandb was forced to retire yesterday morning, after sustaining damage to his bowsprit following a collision with a container ship in the northern Bay of Biscay, and he headed to the French port La Trinite sur Mer in Brittany.
    - See more at: http://www.thetransat.com/news/view/....5J7rwMdV.dpuf
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    Inner Class Battles Rage On



    Tracker


    04.05.2016

    The battle rages on, two fighting for the top in each class

    Two of the fastest racing machines in sailing are currently lighting up the top of the leaderboard in The Transat bakerly as they rampage across the Atlantic just a few miles apart.

    After two full days of racing in the 3,050-mile classic from Plymouth to New York, the leading pair of Ultimes, Macif skippered by Francois Gabart and Sodebo skippered by Thomas Coville, are thrashing along at average speeds of over 30 knots.

    The two giant trimarans are being pushed to the limit and have already covered more than 1,100 nautical miles since the start on Monday afternoon. But most of that distance has been eaten up by miles to the south, leaving the “miles-to-go” figure to the Big Apple still up around 2,500.

    This afternoon the two giants were about 30 miles apart about 550 miles west, south-west of the southern tip of Portugal, with Sodebo marginally ahead in terms of distance to the finish by virtue of its more northerly position. Current routing models suggests these two could finish in five days time and will sail a course downwind to the south of the Azores.

    About 400 miles north of them, the leading boats in the IMOCA 60 monohull fleet and the Multi50 trimarans are now heading out into the Atlantic after turning to starboard off Cape Finisterre. For these skippers conditions are manageable at present, but in all their minds is an appointment with strong headwinds and big seas that will hit them on Friday morning.

    A complex area of low pressure is heading their way and there are predictions of winds gusting in excess of 40 knots in what promises to be a truly authentic Transat ordeal. Jean-Pierre Dick, who is lying in third place in the IMOCA fleet on board St Michel-Virbac, reckons tackling this depression will be critical to the outcome of the race.

    “On the weather files, I see a snarling depression arriving in two days,” said Dick succinctly. “We’ll have to make a crucial choice to bypass these very strong winds (40 knots in the forecast or more). This will be very physical and strategic: the key point of the race.”

    A little further east, Paul Meilhat on SMA in fourth place, and 135 miles behind the IMOCA leader Vincent Riou on PRB, was assessing the same weather feature. Meilhat had a bad start to the race but is happy with his performance to date, having done little in the build-up because his boat was being re-fitted.

    “Since the wind came in, it’s been going well,” he said. “I have not had a lot of sailing with my boat before the race, so it suits me well. We got up to 30-35 knots at Cape Finisterre with great seas amid all the shipping. Now it’s a case of how to negotiate this Azorean depression: I look at what others are doing, but overall, I do not intend to confront 50 knots.”

    Like the Ultimes, the Multi50 race features a duel for the lead following the abandonment by Erwan Le Roux with float damage on FenêtréA Cardinal on Tuesday evening. In his place the remaining four boats are being led by Lalou Roucayrol on Arkema and Gilles Lamirè on French tech Rennes St Malo who are reaching along at 20 knots about 25 miles apart, 300 miles due west of Porto.

    While they will face the same headwinds as the IMOCAs, more than 400 miles north of them, the third-placed entry in the class, Pierre Antoine on board Olmix is hoping to surf on favourable winds on the northern edge of the same system.

    Olmix is the oldest Multi50 in the fleet and is currently the most northerly boat taking part in the race, but her skipper is happy with his choice.

    “For now, I only have 15-20 knots from the south-west, but it will build,” he said on the satellite phone earlier today. “It’s a little wetter and colder than in the south, but it is an interesting option to be in the north. The boat is going well and the skipper too. It’s nice to see that everyone does not follow the same road… We will see how it turns out in the Azores.”

    In the Class40 monohulls, meanwhile, the race to the west has begun with all the skippers turning hard-right mid-way across the Bay of Biscay. With nine of the 10 starters still racing after the retirement of Maxime Sorel aboard VandB following a collision with a container ship, the lead is being disputed by Britain’s Phil Sharp on Imerys and Thibaut Vauchel-Camus on Solidaires en Peloton-Arsep who is loving the fast sailing conditions.

    “Life on board is very good,” the French skipper reported. “It’s a little bit cold and wet, but it’s good. I just gybed west and the boat is going well. Everything onboard is ok, I’ve had no breakages, I feel good and I’m eating well – it’s all ok.”

    “We’ve had about 20 to 22 knots today, we’ve been sailing very fast downwind with one reef. I really like these conditions.”

    The pair are only three miles apart in terms of distance to the finish and are heading into lighter winds before conditions ramp up later on Friday.

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  9. #9
    Loick is definitely sailing his own race!

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    Coville just Shy Of 24 Record




    05.05.2016

    Thomas Coville came within less than 10 miles of setting a new solo 24-hour distance world record

    Thomas Coville, the hugely experienced skipper of the giant trimaran Sodebo, came within less than 10 miles of setting a new solo 24-hour distance record today as he raced on day three of The Transat bakerly.

    The Frenchman had no concern for the record – which currently stands at 682 nautical miles - but was intent only on pushing his multihull as fast as he dared in his duel with his main rival in the Ultime class, Francois Gabart on board Macif.

    However in the 24 hours to 03.00 BST today, Coville travelled 673 miles, just nine miles short of the mark set by his fellow French skipper Armel le Cleac’h on board the trimaran Banque Populaire VII in 2014.

    Sodebo and Macif are currently about 550 miles due south of Horta in the Azores and sailing a classic tradewind route across the Atlantic on their way from Plymouth to New York. For much of the race the two skippers have been in sight of each other but are now about 40 miles apart on a north-south axis, with Coville just ahead.

    “To be honest I was not concentrating on the record at all,” said Coville after being notified of his near-miss with the record-books, as his boat continued its remarkable westward progress. “I was really concentrating on running as well as possible and pushing hard to stay with Francois.

    “It’s funny that this happened during a race and it’s nice to hear – it means that we have been pushing hard and it’s good,” he added. “I am not really surprised by the speed I have been going – I am used to that. What I am very happy about, and amazed by, is the competition against Francois.

    “We are close. Francois is faster in medium wind and light wind because his boat is new and lighter, but in stronger wind and reaching I think Sodebo is a fantastic boat. It’s amazing to be crossing the Atlantic in a race like this and be so close to each other. Yesterday was one of my best days ever racing multihulls – for sure.”

    Looking at the routing ahead, when the two skippers will have to climb to the west-northwest, as they close on New York for the finish, Coville said he will be off the wind for much of the time but warned that New York is where Atlantic depressions form and things could change. “It depends what kind of low is being formed when we arrive,” he said.

    In the meantime Sodebo is in perfect shape. “I’ve been cleaning a few things – like my wet underwear – and today has been about recovery, so I have been eating and sleeping for a few hours which is fantastic,” said Coville.

    Several hundred miles north of the Ultime battle, the three other fleets in The Transat bakerly – the IMOCA 60s, Class40s and Multi50s - are preparing for the onslaught of an Atlantic depression which is set to hit them tomorrow night and then dominate their first weekend at sea.

    The now nine-strong Class40 race is still being led by Thibaut Vauchel-Camus on Solidaires en Peloton-Arsep, while the four remaining Multi50s are being led by Lalou Roucayrol on Arkema.

    The remarkable feature of the IMOCA race has been the performance of Vincent Riou on PRB. The former Vendée Globe solo round-the-world race winner has managed to either lead or hold second place despite racing a conventional boat against two foilers.

    At present Riou is around 10 miles astern of the class leader, the aforementioned Armel Le Cleac’h on the foiling Banque Populaire VIII, and six miles ahead of Jean-Pierre Dick on the foiling St Michel-Virbac. Riou’s performance offers a fascinating insight into how the foiling IMOCAs and non-foilers will compare in this year’s Vendée Globe solo round-the-world race.


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