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Thread: 2019 Transat Jacques Vabre Official Thread

  1. #11
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    Halloween Horror For Western IMOCA Boats



    As he beats his way down the North Atlantic in an increasingly unfavourable position, Britain’s Alex Thomson looked forward to England playing in the Rugby World Cup final on Saturday morning with the good omen that he watched the last one in Salvador at the end of the Transat Jacque Vabre 16 years ago.



    Map and ranking




    “I’ve got goosebumps just thinking about it,” Thomson on his 60ft monohull, Hugo Boss, said. “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 back good memories.”

    It was no Halloween horror show but Day 5 of the 14th edition of the Transat Jacques Vabre Normandie Le Havre may prove to have been a decisive upwind blow to the chances to the six – including two the latest generation foilers - who went west.




    Given the worsening position for the IMOCA 60s that chose the western option, Thomson would probably settle for the excellent second place he took in 2003 with Frenchman, Roland Jourdain, as his co-skipper (England’s 2003 World Cup semi-final against France was a little more divisive).

    There may also be pressure to share a half with his British co-skipper for this race, Neal McDonald, also Hugo Boss’s performance manager. And both will at least be stitching as they watch the updates, trying to mend a torn reaching sail that they will need “in about 30 hours we reckon.”

    “I don’t know (how they will divide it), 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.”

    The sail was damaged while passing Ushant and Thomson is not sure what caused it. “No, not really, we’d have to speak to the sailmakers, but it shouldn’t’ve happened that’s for sure,” said.

    But the effect has been clearer; “any spare time is being taken up banging needles through what feels like concrete.” And he says it forced them to take the western option rather than head south, where the current leaders were making their way through a ridge of high pressure off the coast of Morocco, that has been more benign than expected.

    “Yes, the routing doesn’t look very good now; it looks terrible actually,” he said. “but with regard to what we’re trying to do, things are going very well really, couldn’t be happier. It’s a bit of a shame that this western option doesn’t look very nice anymore, but c’est la vie.”

    Overnight from Wednesday to Thursday the odds lengthened dramatically on the bet in the west. Not only is the ridge of high pressure around the archipelago of Madeira looking much easier to negotiate for the southerners, but after emerging from a torrid low-pressure system, the westerners look like facing their own ridge.

    It looks like we can much more comfortably say that the leaderboard is the right way up this morning.

    Southerners get ready for take-off



    Britain’s Samantha Davies (Initiatives-Cœur) has jumped two places to third, with PRB dropping back after having to complete a 1h30min penalty for inadvertently breaking an engine seal. But perhaps ominously, the two of French latest generation foilers have opened up a small gap of 30 miles in just eight hours. In the morning just 15 miles separated the front five.



    Apivia took the lead from PRB and hot pre-race favourite, Charal,are just five miles behind and on almost an identical track toward Madeira are, with nearly 20 knots, two knots faster. The pursuers are still stuck at 10 knots in the ridge.

    As Charlie Dalin (Apivia), who took the lead from PRB overnight, reminded us this morning: “The order of entry into a ridge is less important than the order of exit. That's where the real gains are made.” The trade winds await them.







    The westerners are mostly beginning to tack south this morning and face 25-30 knots south south-westerlies on a route east of the Azores.

    The original five or Britain’s Alex Thomson and Neal McDonald (Hugo Boss), Boris Herrmann (Germany) and Will Harris (Britain) on Malizia II Yacht Club de Monaco; and three French boats, Bureau Vallée II, Maître CoQ IV, and Prysmian Group, have (almost) been joined by Advens for Cybersecurity (Thomas Ruyant and Antoine Koch).




    Class40: From chess to sprinting

    The split in the Class40 is almost invisible by IMOCA standards, but it still could be significant for the fleet.

    Kito de Pavant, racing in his 10th Transat Jacques Vabre, with co-skipper Achille Nebout, had taken the lead by the morning after tacking south while the overnight leaders.

    “The good news of the morning is that we are leading the Transat Jacques Vabre,” de Pavant said. Not by much! But yesterday we were 15 miles behind, so we worked well. We are now off to Portugal en route to Madeira.”

    But Aïna Enfance and Avenir (Aymeric Chappellier / Pierre Leboucher), and Britain’s Sam Goodchild and Fabien Delahaye headed further west and are hoping the earlier hook into the low-pressure system brings greater dividends.

    On paper they were 9 and 16 miles behind at the 15:00 UTC ranking.They are about 150 miles north-west of the Made in Midiand are in stronger, 20-knot south-westerlies. “We could not go further south, we had a wind hole, but those who were there (already south), they didn’t not stop,” Leboucher (Aïna) said. “We will see in 2-3 days. “We’re expecting the wind from this famous depression to arrive soon.”

    But they in turn are watching, Crédit Mutuel, a Lombard-design launched this year, and one of the favourites is 50 miles further north-west.

    “Our shift north? We still don’t know if it will be beneficial, but we think it's not that bad,” Ian Lipinski (Crédit Mutuel) said. “We looked at IMOCA, we thought that the options were more pronounced for them. There are far more spectacular gaps (between them) than for us. We are in a changing mode now: it was a game of chess and now it will about pure speed for a few days,”


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  2. #12
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    The Southerners Escape



    Entering day six, the leading duos in the Transat Jacques Vabre Normandie Le Havre are now a third of the way through this 4,350-mile biennial double-handed race from Le Havre, France to Salvador de Bahia. On Friday afternoon they were gybing in their approach to the Canary Islands. The race is hotting up (figuratively and literally). Oilskins will be swapped for T-shirts and the skippers will be choosing when they have their outdoor showers.



    IMOCA

    The fascinating split in the IMOCA fleet is beginning to play out and the weather files continue to suggest it is going to be a tough weekend for the six westerners as they watch the southerners escape on the trade winds. The leaders in the south look to definitely be the leaders now given the evolution of the depression (metaphorical and literal) in the west.

    If there is less surprise at the identity of the two leading 60ft monohulls - Charal and Apiviaare both latest generation foilers - the speed of Britain’s Sam Davies and her French co-skipper, Paul Meilhat (Initiatives-Cœur) continues to impress. Likewise, that of the 29-year-old Frenchwoman, Clarisse Crémer and Armel Le Cléac’h (Banque Populaire IX), who is just over five miles ahead in the third place. Initiatives-Cœur. Both boats are two generations and almost ten years older than those ahead of them, but the upgraded foils have given them a new lease of life. The huge new foils on Initiatives-Cœur particularly are being carefully watched by others planning upgrades, some of who are saying you now have to talk about generations of foils not just generation of boat build. Charlie Enright (USA) / Pascal Bidegorry (FRA) are in sixth. “All good aboard. Hard running. We like. Thanks. Charlie,” was Enright’s short and sweet message to the race office this morning.

    It was a public holiday in France yesterday – Toussaint (All Saints’ Day) – but there is no rest for the skippers. Charal have worked hard to earn their 20-mile lead, gybing twice in the morning to find a better angle in the approach to the Canaries and taking 20 miles from Apivia in just two hours – did they have a problem with their gybe in the late morning?

    The difference for the leading two was they seemed barely slowed by the ridge of high pressure. “We had more wind than expected during the day,” Charlie Dalin (Apivia) said on Friday morning. “We never really had a ridge, we went through the high pressure in a single gybe.” Their pursuers were not so lucky. But they will have been counting their fortune compared to the westerners (Hugo Boss, Malizia II Yacht Club de Monaco, Bureau Vallée II, Maître CoQ IV, Prysmian Group, and Advens for Cybersecurity).






    TRACKER

    The westerners, leaving the Azores to their west and around 650 miles east of the coast of Portugal, have a better angle at the moment and are on a more direct course to the finish, but they had to sail hundreds of extra miles to get it.

    Charal was faster at the 15:00 UTC ranking – 18 knots, but they are making only 10 knots in relation to the route to the finish. Britain’s Alex Thomson and Neal McDonald on Hugo Bosswere making just over 16 knots and 14.4 to the finish.

    The problem for them is that the Azores anticyclone is reforming with the Bermuda high and the transitional zone they need to cross is thickening fast. Do the weather gods have anything final to say on the strategic split?







    Class40: Five boats, 16 miles

    The Class40s are almost a quarter of the way through the race and making 10 knots reaching in 20-knot westerlies parallel with Lisbon. Aïna Enfance and Avenir (Aymeric Chappellier / Pierre Leboucher) have retaken the lead, but just 16 miles separate the first five boats in the fleet. Britain’s Sam Goodchild and French co-skipper on Leytonare fourth, very close to Aïna’s track but less than quarter of a mile ahead of Crédit Mutuel, who are further west. The fleet should be able to open up their sails downwind from tonight and during the weekend, before being slowed down on Sunday. Their spread from east to west will mean different opportunities and obstacles and see the leaderboard shaken up


    Classe 40



    Damage

    At 04:45, Charles-Louis Mourruau and Estelle Greck (Entraide Marine-Adsom, Class40) informed the race office that they had dismasted.
    At 04:45, Charles-Louis Mourruau and Estelle Greck (Entraide Marine-Adsom, Class40) informed the race office that they had dismasted. The two co-skippers were below during their change of watch when the mast landed on the deck, following the fracture of the forestay u-bolt. They were sailing upwind in 20 to 25 knots off the Portuguese coast. Mourruau and Greck were able to recover the mast and suffered no physical damage.

    The duo had made a great start to the race, keeping pace with the latest generation boats on their older Pogo series. They were in 7th place when they dismasted, less than 40 miles from the Class40 leader. They are currently positioned 280 miles from Lisbon or Porto.

    Ari Huusela and Michael Ferguson (Ariel II, IMOCA) continue to soldier on with their increasingly threadbare mainsail.




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  3. #13
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    Hugo Boss Retires From TJV After Keel Damage




    Alex Thomson Racing update: Transat Jacques Vabre

    Ross Daniel, Technical Director at Alex Thomson Racing, said:

    “Last night Alex and Neal were both able to get some rest onboard HUGO BOSS. In the early hours of this morning the skippers resumed their attempts to stabilise the keel.

    “Despite their very best efforts, it became clear that keeping the keel attached would put the boat at great risk. With the keel attached only by the hydraulic ram, and in an unstable position, there was a serious risk of significant damage to the hull.

    “We did everything that we could to preserve the keel but collectively we determined that it was far too dangerous to keep it in place.

    “Therefore, with guidance from our team shore-side, Alex and Neal set about cutting the hydraulic ram to free the keel from the boat. After many hours, they were successful in their efforts and the keel is now no longer attached to the boat.

    “Alex and Neal have filled the ballast tanks onboard and fully extended the foils in order to keep the boat as stable as possible. They are currently in light winds and a slight sea state, and we are comfortable that there is no immediate risk to the boat or the skippers.

    “The next step is for us to put together the best possible strategy to bring the boat slowly and safely to port. We are currently exploring various options and will provide an update in due course”.

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

    British sailor Alex Thomson and co-skipper Neal McDonald forced to retire from Transat Jacques Vabre after hitting object in the water

    Skippers are continuing to work to stabilise the boat in order to sail safely, without assistance to the nearest port



    Britain’s Alex Thomson and his co-skipper Neal McDonald have been forced to retire from the Transat Jacques Vabre Normandie Le Havre, the team’s debut race onboard the new HUGO BOSS boat.

    At 09:37 GMT yesterday (Sunday) morning, while sailing at approximately 25 knots, Thomson and McDonald, onboard the HUGO BOSS IMOCA 60 boat, hit a submerged unidentified object in the water. Both skippers escaped without major injuries however the boat sustained damage to its keel, marking the end of the race for the British sailing team.

    A statement issued by Alex Thomson Racing at 11:50am Sunday GMT read:

    This morning (Sunday 3rd November 2019) at around 9:37am UK time, while Alex Thomson and Neal McDonald were sailing at around 25 knots onboard HUGO BOSS, they hit something in the water. At this stage, it is not clear what they hit.

    Following the incident, Alex and Neal stopped the boat and carried out an inspection to assess the damage sustained. It became apparent that the keel is now only attached by the hydraulic ram.

    Due to the damage sustained to the boat, the decision has been made that Alex and Neal will not continue on in the race. The Alex Thomson Racing team is now working to assist the skippers to bring the boat to the nearest port.

    Both Alex and Neal are currently safe inside the boat and did not sustain any major injuries.

    Speaking from onboard the boat after the incident, Thomson said:

    “This morning, Neal and I were both awake, going about 25 knots, when we hit something in the water. I was stood inside the cockpit just behind the pedestal. Neal was just behind the cockpit door.

    “We’re not sure what we hit but it was something big under the water, which must have been submerged to have hit our keel and physically stop the boat at 25 knots. The keel sustained a lot of damage and it was left attached only by the hydraulic ram.

    “Neal and I are both physically OK. No major injuries, just some bruises. We were very lucky.

    “If you were to get into your car, close your eyes, and drive at 40 miles an hour into a brick wall…that’s what it felt like!”

    Since the incident occurred, the skippers – with guidance from their technical team shore-side – have been working around the clock to stabilise the keel in order to allow them to sail safely, without assistance, to the nearest port.

    Ross Daniel, Technical Director, said:

    “After many hours of trying to stabilise the keel, Alex and Neal are understandably very tired and so we have made the decision that they should take some rest. Together, we will re-assess the situation in the morning. Both skippers are safe on board, the boat is stable, and they are in no immediate danger.

    “Once the keel is stabilised, our best option looks to be to sail slowly and safely to the Canary Islands however we will make that decision tomorrow. Right now, Alex and Neal are in no immediate danger, and we are under no time constraints because the boat is currently in light winds and a slight sea state, and this is likely to continue due to the high pressures over the Azores. The boat is currently sailing in a north westerly direction, which it will continue to do throughout the night”.

    The incident occurred on what was day seven of the Transat Jacques Vabre Normandie Le Havre, the world’s longest and toughest double-handed transatlantic race which takes skippers, in their pairs, on a 4,350 mile journey from Le Havre, France to Salvador, Brazil. When the HUGO BOSS boat hit the unknown object, Thomson and McDonald were over a third of the way into the race, and were situated around 380 miles north west of the Canary Islands.


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  4. #14
    Man, for all the luck Alex has with sponsors and promotions, he sure doesn't get much luck offshore!

  5. #15
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    Multi 50 Primonial Rejoins Race





    Multi 50 Primonial Rejoins Race

    Yesterday (Sunday) at 12:00 UTC, Sébastien and Matthieu have taken the wise decision to make a stop in Mindelo (Cabo Verde) opting for the safety because of energy problem on their trimaran.

    It set in train a really life-affirming story because of all the people who were ready to help, calling friends of friends of friends to prepare their arrival in the port and shorten their turnaround time.

    The MULTI50 Primonial, docked in the port at 21:30 UTC, welcomed by a great local team. It took 2 mechanics and 1 electrician to fix the breakdown in record time. The boat was ready to cast off and chase after its competitors just 5h30 after his arrival.






    Our two sailors are setting sail galvanized by all the efforts and encouragements around their adventure.

    Thanks to our partners and supporters for relaying the information and having made it possible for so many people to help our crew.

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    11th Hour Racing Reeling In The Leaders





    11th Hour Racing hunting the top two

    Who can beat Crédit Mutuel?

    Race time: 8 days 4 hours

    TRACKER


    Hugo Boss said today (Monday) that after exhausting all the options, they had decided to cut the keel off their 60ft monohull after damage forced them to withdraw from the 14 edition of the Transat Jacque Vabre Normandie Le Havre on Sunday.

    “Last night Alex and Neal were both able to get some rest on board Hugo Boss,” Ross Daniel, Technical Director at Alex Thomson Racing, said.“In the early hours of this morning the skippers resumed their attempts to stabilise the keel

    “Despite their very best efforts, it became clear that keeping the keel attached would put the boat at great risk. With the keel attached only by the hydraulic ram, and in an unstable position, there was a serious risk of significant damage to the hull.

    “We did everything that we could to preserve the keel but collectively we determined that it was far too dangerous to keep it in place.

    “Therefore, with guidance from our team shore-side, Alex and Neal set about cutting the hydraulic ram to free the keel from the boat. After many hours, they were successful in their efforts and the keel is now no longer attached to the boat.”

    Hugo Bosshad completed just over a third of the 4,350-mile course of this biennial double-handed race to Salvador de Bahia, Brazil - the longest and toughest in the sailing calendar – when they informed the race office that they collided with an unknown object.

    The newly-launched and much admired Hugo Bossis in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, and now about 460 miles southwest from Madeira and 400 miles northwest of the Canary Islands.

    “Alex and Neal have filled the ballast tanks on board and fully extended the foils in order to keep the boat as stable as possible,” Daniel said.“They are currently in light winds and a slight sea state, and we are comfortable that there is no immediate risk to the boat or the skippers.

    “The next step is for us to put together the best possible strategy to bring the boat slowly and safely to port. We are currently exploring various options and will provide an update in due course”.

    The race: Leaders in charge

    For the first day since the start of the race none of the three classes competing have experienced a change of leader. The Class40 are joining the others fleets in the trade winds, they are not a terrain with many overtaking options, they are more about positioning and looking for the best corridor through the Doldrums, which the leading Multi50 will reach at the end of the evening.








    IMOCA: 11th Hour Racing on the charge

    At the 15:00 UTC ranking, the fastest boat in the leading group was Charlie Enright (USA) / Pascal Bidegorry (FRA) on the 2015 foiler, 11th Hour Racing. Charal may be the most optimised of the new foilers, but they are feeling the heat from behind as they seek the best angle into the Doldrums.

    Overnight 11th Hour Racing had moved up two places from fifth to third and at the 15:00 UTC they were just a mile behind the new foiler, Apivia. 11th Hour Racing covered 416 miles in the last 24 hours, 48 more than Apivia and 28 more than Charal, which is 71 miles ahead.







    Angles and wind shadows are a feature of this course, where milestones can become millstones if skippers get the passage past (or through) Madeira, the Canary Island and Cape Verde wrong.

    In what are proving to be particularly unstable trade winds,11th Hour Racing benefitted from being further west, but they are undoubtedly fast and Enright, on debut, is looking for more than the third step of the podium.

    Britain’s Samantha Davies has climbed back two places into sixth on Initiatives-Coeur, 162 miles behind the leader. She began her overnight message to the race office in confessional mode: “Eight days ago, on the first night of the TJV, in 30+ knots of wind, our big gennaker (or A3 in sailing terms) blew out,” she wrote. The good news is they may not need it again and the Doldrums offers a real chance of podium place.







    Class40: Who can beat Crédit Mutuel

    After entering the trade winds overnight, the four boats at the front of the fleet have lengthened their stride and taken significant advantage over the rest of the fleet. It is advantage which grew significantly during the day as the newer boats sped away under spinnaker. After a tough first week, they should now accelerate all the way to the Cape Verde islands. For all the efforts of Britain’s Sam Goodchild and his French co-skipper Fabien Delahaye on Leytonin second, the newly-launched Crédit Mutuel (Ian Lipinski and Adrien Hardy), clearly has the edge at the moment, and has shown it in a variety of different conditions over the past few days.

    At the 15:00 UTC ranking, Crédit Mutuel had extended the lead over Leyton to 30 miles, after covering 20 more miles (290) in the last 24 hours. Aïna Enfance and Avenir was a further seven miles behind in third.




    "We have 15 -18 knots and an easy sea,” Lipinski said this morning “This is the third idyllic night since the start. We haven’t touched the helm since Ushant (after the first night).

    “The passage through the ridge went well, without any particular complication, and we’re as happy looking at our track on Adrena, as a skier looking back at his track after descending a slope.”

    A little like in the IMOCA, small Class40 groups have formed and they are having their own races-within-the race. We will have to wait until the entire fleet has passed the Canaries to establish a reliable hierarchy within the fleet of 22 duos still en route to Salvador de Bahia.

    Eärendil left Madeira this morning at the same time as Equipe Voile Parkinson was approaching the island to also make repairs.



    ETA Doldrums:

    - Groupe GCA Mille et un sourires tonight.

    - Charal: Early in the overnight from Tuesday to Wednesday.
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  7. #17
    Alex should have stayed with the old boat, it appears.

  8. #18
    Go Team 11th Hour!

  9. #19
    Not sure about the canting keel boats.

    Rather have a slower ride that will get you there.

  10. #20
    You can hear groans from Jason Carrington's yard already!

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