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Thread: 2019 Transat Jacques Vabre Official Thread

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    2019 Transat Jacques Vabre Official Thread

    Were Playing Catch Up Here Due To Northern California PG&E PSPS BS
    Sorry For the delay






    27 October 2019 - 15h11
    At 13:15 (French time) the Transat Jacques Vabre Normandie Le Havre starting horn was sounded and the 118 skippers in their 59 multi-coloured boats weaved across the start line in front of Cape de la Hève, beating into 12-14 knots of north-easterly wind.

    First ranking at 16:00 (French time)

    The bi-annual double-handed 4,350-mile race, the longest and toughest transat in the sailing calendar, will take them to Salvador de Bahia in Brazil.

    Both IMOCA and Class40 fleets were tightly bunched, but line honours appeared to go to Bureau Vallée II(IMOCA) and Aïna Enfance and Avenir, the Class40 favourite.

    The Route de Café is a marathon not a sprint, but the start along the coast is never simple, especially when the blood is up and adrenaline flowing in front the crowds lining the pontoons, channel, beaches and coast. Not to mention the live TV audience. And, of course, the a choppy shallow sea with plenty of current against them as they race the 16 miles of coast to round the Region Normandie buoy off Étretat. The fastest among them should take a little under three hours before they turn to head west towards Cotentin under spinnaker.











    There should be an intense downwind race in the Channel overnight when the wind will continue to strengthen. Through that time and the morning, as they all exit the Channel, it will be decision time as to whether to go east, west or further west. That could provide an early test of the different trajectories the latest generation foiling IMOCA may take, although Alex Thomson on Hugo Boss has said his priority is finishing not winning, especially after being helicoptered to safety when his boat capsized four years ago. Britain’s Samantha Davies, in an older boat but with hugely upgraded foils on Initiatives-Cœur, is keeping an open mind.

    “Once we’re west of Ushant then we’ve got to make a decision,” she said. “I don’t want to make a decision yet because it’s not clear enough and sometimes if you decide in your head you influence yourself when you’re making further decisions.

    “We’re pretty open at the moment, (laughs) we’re going to have all the sails out on the deck to work out which one we’re going to use. We are at one with Initiatives-Cœurand super happy to be finally at sea and heading for Brazil.”








    The small Class40 have the same dilemma.

    “Do we go west fully, for me there is still an option, but it’s a bit of a tricky one,” Luke Berry (Lamotte – Module Creation) said. “We’re still waiting for the info from our weather routers - you’re allowed a weather router before you start - so, we’ll make our decision sometime tonight. It’s not a (Class40) group decision, there are some that are going to go their own way and we’re not here to follow the others, but we’re not going to do lone cowboy either. It’s going to be more of downwind race out of the Channel, but it’s do we go up into the Celtic sea or not?

    Britain’s Sam Goodchild, one of Berry’s main rivals, on Leyton, says that the risks and rewards are not clear.

    “We don’t think we have to make our decision until tomorrow morning,” he said. “We’ve got all the ideas in our head, we don’t know what the risks and the gains are yet, it’s not as straightforward as if you go west, you break or you win, and if you go south you’re safe.”

    There were emotional scenes on the pontoon before departure as the said goodbye to their friends, family and partners, except perhaps for Miranda Merron and Halvard Mabire, who are partners on both land and sea.

    Jean-Baptiste Gastinne, Mayor of Le Havre, president of the urban community of Le Havre Seine Métropole

    “There were a lot of emotions this morning seeing these boats go, and watching families kissing the skippers goodbye. The Bassin Paul Vatine is empty now after these ten days of festivities. The salt and spice of the Route du Café is that it is a race, an adventure, a sporting challenge and a mix of technologies. This year we can see the rapid change in sailing with these new boats with exceptional foils. The Transat Jacques Vabre Normandy Le Havre is a great event with this mix of man and machine that skippers that the skippers share in pairs.”











    Juan Amat, President of JDE France

    “I saw a start full of emotions. There are a mixture of feelings seeing the skippers say goodbye to their families from excitement to sadness at leaving loved ones. With all these new boats, it feels like watching a Formula 1 of the seas. All this week, the public were able to be close to the race, see the boats in their every detail and meet the skippers, which is very rare in high-level sport. I will be following the race closely, there is Virtual Regatta and we’re also having a competition internally, and I’ve also made my own little forecast, but I’m keeping that a secret.”

    Jean-Baptiste Gastinne, Mayor of Le Havre, president of the urban community of Le Havre Seine Métropole

    “There were a lot of emotions this morning seeing these boats go, and watching families kissing the skippers goodbye. The Bassin Paul Vatine is empty now after these ten days of festivities. The salt and spice of the Route du Café is that it is a race, an adventure, a sporting challenge and a mix of technologies. This year we can see the rapid change in sailing with these new boats with exceptional foils. The Transat Jacques Vabre Normandy Le Havre is a great event with this mix of man and machine that skippers that the skippers share in pairs.”


    https://www.transatjacquesvabre.org/...s-vabre-begins
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    October 29 Position Updates

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    British leader dismasts




    https://www.transatjacquesvabre.org/...eader-dismasts


    Luke Berry and Tanguy Le Turquais out of the race

    Charal pushed hard by Samantha Davies as Hugo Boss heads west

    Pit stops and running repairs on day 2

    Map and ranking

    Hopes of a British victory in the Transat Jacques Vabre Normandie Le Havre were dealt a cruel blow before sunrise on Monday morning when overnight leaders Luke Berry and his French co-skipper Tanguy Le Turquais suffered a dismast to their 40ft monohull, Lamotte – Module Creation.

    Both skippers are safe and shepherded their boat to Roscoff, on the north coast of Brittany, where they arrived at 16:00 (French time).

    The incident came just 18 hours after the start yesterday at 13:15 (French time) from Le Havre in what appeared not to be boat-breaking conditions.

    “Around 07:00 (French time), before sunrise, we were downwind in an easterly wind under medium spinnaker with two reefs, we were not overloaded, and we were in manageable conditions,” the 33-year-old Berry said. “We pitched a few times before the last one…I was in the bunk, Tanguy (Le Turquais, co-skipper, 30) was at the helm. We don’t understand it, the conditions weren’t terrible. We recovered everything, we left nothing in the sea, the top of the mast went, then it broke in half. We managed to get everything back in the boat. We’re on our way to Roscoff. We ‘re really disappointed for everyone (involved in the project) especially since we were in the lead at that time.”

    Like most of the 118 skippers, Berry had an emotional send off from the pontoons, saying goodbye to his wife Camille and their two and a half-year-old son, Charlie and six-month-old daughter, Lou. If racing is one test of sailing, good seamanship in a crisis is another and Berry and Le Turquais showed their mettle and craft by keeping their project alive and getting the whole boat to safety.

    British hopes in the Class40 now rest solely on the shoulders of Sam Goodchild and his French co-skipper, Fabien Delahaye, on Leyton, who were leading at the 15:00 (UTC) ranking.

    Charal leads the IMOCA

    In the IMOCA60, Charal (Jérémie Beyou / Christopher Pratt – both France), the pre-race favourites, have been flexing their foils in muscly reaching conditions, flying from the tip of Brittany across the Bay of Biscay at up to 28 knots. Fast, but just a stretch for these new beasts.

    Britain’s Samantha Davies with French co-skipper, Paul Meilhat on older but upgraded Initiatives-Cœur. was in second, less than seven miles behind,

    Charlie Enright (USA) and Pacal Bidegorry (France) on 11thHour Racing are fourth. Britain’s Hugo Boss(Alex Thomson / Neal McDonald) were 14th, but have headed much further west.

    It was a strategy forecast at the start and may yet divide the fleet. The wind shifted south in the afternoon and the speeds dropped.

    There are two low-pressure systems to the west of the fleet that are trying to negotiate. The leading boats will cross the first depression tonight. Ahead of them is the decision of whether to head further south towards the second depression currently over the Azores or dive south to get into the trade winds sooner.

    The damage list

    No matter the conditions, the start to this biannual double-handed race, the longest and toughest transatlantic in the sailing calendar, is always a test of man and machine. As all the skippers say, training is one thing, but there is no substitute for a race. Several boats have had problems.

    IMOCA60 class:

    Advens for Cybersecurity (Thomas Ruyant and Antoine Koch), one of the five latest generation foiling IMOCA, had to make a short pit-stop in Cherbourg before midnight last night. Under race rules they have to stay there four hours.

    French skippers Maxime Sorel and Guillaume Le Brec arrived in Brest at 13:00 UTC after noticing a significant technical problem with the port outrigger* shroud on V and B – Mayenne

    German skipper, Isabelle Joschke and French co-skipper Morgan Lagravière on MACSFhave diverted back to Brest to fix damage to their keel.

    Ari Huusela, who is hoping to become the first Finn and Scandinavian skipper to finish the race, with his Irish co-skipper, Michael Ferguson, discovered a small hole in his mainsail on Ariel II. They have diverted south to take it down and repair in less wind. It was not the way Huusela, a pilot for Finnair, wanted to celebrate his 57thbirthday, although the surprise birthday cake from his wife, that Ferguson unpacked, went some way to making up for it.

    Class40:

    William Mathelin Moreaux has injured his shoulder and he and co-skipper Marc Guillemot on Beijafloreare diverting to the nearest port.

    Hiroshi Kitada and co-skipper Takeshi Hara, on KIHO reported that they had “exploded” their vital mediumweight spinnaker, in 30-knot south-easterlies and that it is unfixable.
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    Updates From The Fleet


    JAPANESE CLASS40 KIHO ABANDONS THE RACE

    This afternoon (Tuesday) the Japanese duo of Hiroshi Kitada and Takeshi Hara, on the Class40 KIHO, informed the race office that they had abandoned the Transat Jacques Vabre Normandie Le Havre. The only Japanese boat in the fleet, KIHO was already diverting to Lorient to assess spinnaker damage

    ******************************************



    BRITAIN'S LUKE BERRY OFFICIALLY ABANDONS


    Luke Berry (Britain) – Lamotte – Module Creation (Class40)

    In a message to the race office at 09:59 (French time), Britain's Luke Berry, skipper of the Class40 Lamotte – Module Creation (Class40), officially abandoned the 2019 Transat Jacques Vabre Normandie Le Havre. Berry and French his co-skipper, Tanguy Le Turquais, dismasted on Monday morning, but recovered everything from the sea and arrived in Roscoff at 16:00.


    **********************************






    V AND B – MAYENNE, BACK IN THE RACE!


    After a 5-hour technical stop in Brest, French skippers Maxime Sorel and Guillaume Le Brec have rejoined the race. The boat preparateurs worked like swiftly and replaced the damaged port outrigger shroud. V and B - Mayenne to get it ready again for the Transat Jacques Vabre Normandie Le Havre. The duo will re-enter with a new mission; to try and claw back places as as they head to the finish in Salvador de Bahia. The wind has swung south and is less powerful than since the start of the Route du Café. They are now beginning to cross the Bay of Biscay. “My team was great,” Sorel said. “We are leaving again in good condition. I would like to thank Team Actual Leader, Highfield, Team Sodebo, Blewstub and Jean-Philippe Joly, who helped us in Brest. I wish good luck to the Brest Atlantiques crews. Thanks also to my partners for their unfailing support. We leave Brest at 100%.”

    ***************************************



    CLASS40 SOS MÉDITERRANÉE ABANDONS


    After suffering several setbacks during the first night of racing; including the loss of the big spinnaker, a defective medium spinnaker, and computer problems meaning they could not read weather data, the French crew of the Class40 SOS Méditerranée, Pascal Fravalo and Guillaume Goumy, believe that crossing the Atlantic in these circumstances would not be wise or safe and have therefore made the decision to abandon.

    Currently the boat is heading towards Lorient.


    ****************************************



    WILLIAM MATHELIN MOREAUX INJURED, BEIJAFLORE DIVERTING

    William Mathelin Moreaux and Marc Guillemot contacted their shore team at 14:15 on Monday to warn them that Moreaux had injured his shoulder on board the Class40, Beijaflore.

    The boat is currently sailing to the nearest port, to assess the injury.
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    Heading South: Pascal & Charlie Make A Key Call



    Heading South: Pascal & Charlie Make A Key Call
    October 29, 2019 (Le Havre, France) – All weekend long heading up to the start of the 2019 Transat Jacques Vabre, co-skippers of 11th Hour Racing Team Charlie Enright and Pascal Bidégorry talked about the “big decision” looming as the pair exited the English Channel.

    Pascal called it a “black and white” decision that would fundamentally change the race they were going to be sailing: either head west and go far into the Atlantic before pointing south towards Brazil, or turn south along the French coast sailing through the Bay of Biscay and past Cape Finisterre along Spain’s northwest corner.

    It was going to be a tough decision at face value any way you cut it, but the choice was made even more complicated the past 24 hours by connectivity issues that have prevented Charlie and Pascal from downloading the latest weather forecasts.

    “We have a problem with our (satellite) connection, so we don’t have much weather info but that's life,” said Pascal speaking via phone to the Transat Jacques Vabre media center in Paris. “Charlie and I are working well together. We made some changes on the boat before the race and I think it's much better upwind. These difficult choices of which road to take are not a surprise, but it’s more complicated without much weather info.”





    That complicated “black and white” decision was made early Tuesday morning local time as 11th Hour Racing tacked south towards Spain committing to a more easterly route. The team’s position among the fleet heading south put 11th Hour Racing in third in the overall IMOCA standings by afternoon Tuesday. Meanwhile at least a half dozen of the 29-strong IMOCA fleet were taking the route west into the Atlantic, creating a split in the fleet that will be exciting to watch as it plays out.

    “I’m not surprised that the fleet has taken two options. We are currently sailing upwind in 15 to 17 knots with a manageable sea state (2 to 3 meters swell),” said Pascal at 12 noon UTC Tuesday. “We have been sailing with Apivia for some time now. We have seen a few boats when rounding Ouessant; since then we overpassed Banque Populaire, we saw Apicil, PRB. Everything is well onboard with Charlie, we haven't got any problem with the boat, and as soon as I will solve the problem with the connection, life will be much easier.”

    Pascal and Charlie will now be facing northerly winds for a good part of the next two days of sailing but will have shorter sailing then those that headed west.

    The boats heading west, including the new generation HUGO BOSS, Maitre Coq, and Bureau Vallée, will not make much initial progress towards the final destination of Salvador -- that is until they chart their southerly course and catch some favorable trade winds and sailing angles. The move could end up paying huge dividends in 3-4 days time.

    “It's quite a complicated situation at the moment with the weather data,” said Mark Towill, 11th Hour Racing Team’s co-leader who was in Le Havre and will be en route to Brazil next week. “Since the start, the low pressure has changed and it appears that the easterly route is trending towards a more preferable route then it first was. It’s a struggle with the connectivity on board without the latest weather. We are working hard as a team to help resolve that as quickly as possible. In the meantime, they are sailing well, pushing hard, and up with the front pack which is great to see.”

    After approaching Spain’s Galician coast and tacking before an exclusion zone, Charlie and Pascal will be keeping leaders Charal and second-place Apivia in their sights.

    The current estimate for the IMOCA arrivals into Salvador is around November 10-12 with the equator crossing happening early next week.
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    Video From Alex and Hugo





    “Hi everybody. Well I finally get a chance to make a video. It’s been pretty tiring out here for the first days, lots of little niggles and stuff. Not quite right. But still, very happy with how we’re doing. We had a storming VMG, or reach, out of the Channel. It was pretty amazing. Startingly fast, very happy with that. And then at Ushant we had some sail damage. One of our reaching sails, the tack loops of it ripped off the sail for some reason so that was a bit of a pain and hence we lost a load of miles and basically it stopped us from following the south route hence our push the west, which may still work out. It’s certainly not a forgone conclusion that it’s going to be wrong. The boats to the south are going to have to cross a ridge, quite a light ridge of high pressure, so very light winds. For us, we’ll be crossing the similar reach around about Saturday and it should be easier for us and it should be a very good angle, wind angle - a fast run down to the equator. Neal and I are both very tired. Not much sleep but we’re not in bad shape. We’re about to get stuck into this sail repair. And, well, happy days – we’re still in the race so pretty happy.”.
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    West Or South, New Leaders Emerge With Fleet Split


    TRACKER

    It has been more than 24 hours since the IMOCA fleet split, with two-thirds of the skippers heading south along the Iberian Peninsula, while the rest are heading west to the Azores archipelago. While the Multi50 and Class40, the race this morning is much more readable, it’s much harder to know which way up to look at the IMOCA leaderboard. Is Alex Thomson on Hugo Boss in a better position than Samantha Davies on Initiatives-Cœur?




    IMOCA: PRB the new leader

    The western group may have split in two themselves with a group of five IMOCA around 44°N committing themselves further west, while a group of five behind them have tacked south. The 08:00 UTC ranking put the front five of this western group, which included the British duo on Hugo Boss in 19th place in the 29-boat fleet, 125-140 miles behind. Will their bet pay off?

    The rest of the fleet passed the border of Galicia and Portugal in the night and are now pointing at Lisbon.

    In both the west and the south there has been some readjustment, with the four older generation boats, upgraded with foils, Bureau Vallée II, Maître CoQ IV, Malizia II Yacht Club de Monaco and Prysmian Group exchanging positions ahead of the northernmost boat, Hugo Boss. But they have compressed as Bureau Vallée II, Maître CoQ IV and Hugo Boss all tacked south in the night.

    These five must grit their teeth and not just because the sea is becoming more formidable around the new low-pressure system. Their average speed and angle of approach to the finish are much lower than those in the south. Over the last 24 hours, the leaders sailed 3 knots faster toward the finish than the western group.




    Leading since Ushant, Charal, has been overtaken by PRB, knitted a masterstroke on the tip of Galicia, tacking just a mile away from the coast as they threaded the TSS (Traffic Separation Scheme) at Cape Finisterre. Britain’s Samantha Davies (Initiatives-Cœur) third overnight, has slipped back to fifth, but only 11 miles separate the front five. America’s Charlie Enright (11th Hour Racing) is only seven miles behind in sixth.

    Weaving by Muros as if about to join an afternoon regatta, Kevin Escoffier and Nicolas Lunven, came out adroitly under the TSS and reeled in Charal and Apivia after coming back from the open sea. “We were doing some sightseeing in these very pretty parts of Galicia this morning,” Nicolas Lunven said this morning. “The night was still tiring with a small front with 25 knots and some manœuvres. We’re starting to feel the sleep deficit since the start and we really hope the next 36 hours will offer calmer sailing conditions.”

    https://www.transatjacquesvabre.org/en/map-and-ranking


    Class40: Aïna and Leyton winning war of attrition

    The race in Class40 looks like a war of attrition. The fleet of 23 boats (Beijaflore became the fourth boat to abandon this morning) is much more homogenous, with only Crédit Mutuel, which opted to go a little further west and which for the moment does not look very successful. At the front, Aïna Enfance et Avenir have maintained their four-mile lead over Leyton. Each one is progressing upwind at under 8 knots as cautiously as one descends steps covered in ice. And you have to hold on as Pierre Leboucher explained this morning: “The sea is much harder when you go south because you get it on the bow. It hits hard and permanently wet. We sleep in our oilies on the soaked beanbag, but we see that the sky is clearing up.” Some recently launched boats, such as the newest and only Manuard mach 4, Banque du Léman,are suffering from the pace imposed by the fastest duos and have slipped back to tenth, over 60 miles behind. And they are not out of the woods yet. There will be 48 hours of weaving through the fronts of this huge low-pressure system.




    Multi50: An uncompromising Solidaires!

    Solidaires en Peloton ARSEPis making no mistake on the route south, on which it has shown the way for the last 48 hours. Every hour, Thibault Vauchel-Camus and Frédéric Duthil are widening the gap on their two pursuers. But don’t believe that life is calm on the road upwind for trimarans. “We had up to 30 knots and we were leapfrogging about in the pitch black without any chance of helming,” Thibault said this morning. “Now, it’s starting to calm down happily and the day will be devoted to tidying up. We must really rest today because when we’re on the edge of the ridge of high-pressure, we will have to be on the lookout to attack, like dogs on the hill.”

    The trimarans are pointing at Cape Saint-Vincent and they will make a last tack today at the edge of the high pressures system that is coming from around Gibraltar. The wind will be weaker and less stable, but the sea should be flatter, with a promise of trade winds in about 36 hours for the fastest boats in the fleet.

    **********************************





    The dice have been thrown on the Atlantic and the bets laid. But the bids will continue to rise until the end of the weekend. It is only after a week of racing that we will know the real ranking between those who invested in the west and those who went south. The deciding factor may be the ridge of high pressure that the southerners have to pass to join the trade wind.

    To catch the trade winds, the southerners will have to cross an area of ​​high pressure around the archipelago of Madeira. Trying to pass it to the west does not seem realistic because it is evolving precisely in that direction. Hence, there is a great risk of being trapped in the middle of it. To the east of it, there is a corridor of uncertainty, with an upwind stretch first in weak wind before to the other side of the ridge and find the winds that will carry them to the coast of Morocco, where the trade wind is already blowing.

    150 miles behind the leader of this Route du Café, the deal is much the same as for the first IMOCA, even if their if their angle going into the ridge could make crossing it more complicated. In the meantime, their situation seems much more enviable than that of the IMOCA who are heading west. Although, Alex Thomson on Hugo Boss said it was not so much a choice to go west as forced on them by a problem with one of their reaching sails.

    In a helpful wind and a calm sea, the southerners are going fast, taking advantage of a good angle of descent. To the west, the small group of mavericks, including Bureau Vallée II, Maitre CoQ,Hugo Bossand Malizia II Yacht Club de Monacoare about to endure a much tougher test. Overnight from Thursday to Friday, they will be able to finally dive south but only after they have been well shaken and stirred by the passage of a new low. The weather files show 35 to 40 knots and a very confused sea state for ten hours awaiting them before being able to accelerate with less risk of breakage.

    It is quite possible that Hugo Boss, Bureau Vallée, Maitre CoQand their pursuers will still be behind in the rankings on Friday, November 1. But one thing seems certain, the western group will then approach the trade wind with a much more favorable angle. The southern skippers, who will emerge out of the ridge level with the Canaries, will have to make multiple gybes to find the right entry point in the Doldrums.

    The Class40, who have not yet crossed the latitude of Cape Finisterre, do not have much more choice than to keep angling forward in a group. While pushed a little to the west, variations in the wind make it possible for them to maintain a more direct course on starboard tack. Their route should take them to the east of the Azores late in the weekend.
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    Broken Mains, Dislocated Shoulders




    SKIPPER'S LOG: ARI HUUSELA (FINLAND), SKIPPER, ARIEL 2 (IMOCA)


    "3rd morning and the mainsail is gone. Last night’s strong upwind tore the laminated film from large area and the wind is now blowing through the sail. We are still having 2 reefs but when conditions turn lighter the intention is to shake them out.

    We have no options for fixing the sail anymore. However we are strongly determined to continue our way to Brazil. Speed has been amazingly ok. Still couple of days before we reach trade winds which should be ok. Doldrums are going to be the biggest challenge but having the fore sails and some of the main, that as well should be managable.

    Othervice all ok onboard. Quite high waves and once in a while some sun through the gray clouds. Spirits are high for both of us."

    ********************************
    CLASS40 BEIJAFLORE ABANDONS THE RACE




    On Monday, the Class40, Beijaflore, informed its technical team and race management of an injury to the skipper, William Mathelin-Moreaux. On the advice of the doctor of the race, the duo diverted to Lorient where they arrived yesterday afternoon. Mathelin-Moreaux was immediately assessed by the team of Jean-Yves Chauve, the official doctor of the Transat Jacques Vabre Normandie Le Havre, who confirmed that the skipper had a serious dislocation of the shoulder. Marc Guillemot (his co-skipper) and Mathelin-Moreaux have therefore been forced to retire from the Route du Café, in which they had started among the favourites.

    Four Class40 have retired from the race since the start on Sunday, leaving 23 boats in the class fleet
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    Tea Time Chat With The Boss's Alex Thomson




    (Q. How has the sail repair gone?)

    Still going, mate, still going.

    (Is it a long term project before you need it?)

    About 30 hours we reckon.

    (What are you facing at the moment?)

    We’ve got about 20-23 knots from south-south-west.

    (You said yesterday you were happy, how’s it looking this morning? Does it look different to you?)

    Yes, the routing doesn’t look very good now; it looks terrible actually, but with regard to what we’re trying to do, things are going very well really, couldn’t be happier.

    (Is that to test the boat so you understand it in different conditions?)

    Yes, it’s our first proper offshore, really, and it gives us a chance to understand how the boat responds, understand how to make the boat go; so we’re gettting a good test, we’re very happy.

    (It’s been a tough start, have you managed to catch up on any sleep or it just action stations still?)

    It’s not too bad really. The first 24 were pretty harsh, maybe 36, but, you know, that’s normal. But we’re pretty well rested, in good shape, just any spare time is being taken up banging needles through what feels like concrete.

    (Any clue from the damage what happened to the sail?)

    No, not really, we’d have to speak to the sailmakers, but it shouldn’t’ve happened that’s for sure.

    (How are things with Neal?)

    Yes, he’s good. He’s having a kip at the moment. We’re both in good shape, we’ve both learning lots and enjoyingi it. It’s a bit of a shame that this western option doesn’t look very nice anymore, but c’est la vie. I’m glad we’ve got our own little group to play with. We’re on good form and enjoying ourselves.

    (Has it become about battling with that group in the west, or do think there could be a shift that will bring you back to the leaders?)

    Yesterday, it didn’t look too bad to be able to get through the ridge, but now it doesn’t look quite so positive, but it’s not our focus, our focus is to get to the finsish and to try and learn as much as we can. Everything is still working on board pretty much, so we are in fine fettle.

    (How you going to divide up watching the rugby, Alex?)

    (Laughs) I’ve got goosebumps just thinking about it. I guess I might go on the BBC sport website, there aren’t many other options on here. I’m looking forward to that, and I watched the final of the last one that we won in 2003, in Salvador, so it brings good memories. (England won the 2003 rugby world cup)

    (How will split up watching it with Neal?)

    I don’t know, probably one of us will be banging in needles, the only problem is we’re broken quite a few, so we’ve only got three needles left.
    " I just found out my nest egg has salmonella"



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  10. #10
    That beast is going to take some time to tame!

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