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Thread: A New Course For TJV

  1. #11
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    11th Hour's Alaka’i Dismasts



    At 14:02 UTC today, November 10, we were informed by Simon Fisher and Justine Mettraux onboard 11th Hour Racing Team Alaka’i that their mast has come down.
    Both sailors are safe and uninjured and they are working on stabilizing the situation onboard. As updates become available they will be shared here.


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    New foils, a new spinnaker, a new J2 and a re-vamped ballast system are just some of the ways that the team at LinkedOut have optimised their IMOCA flying machine for this Transat Jacques Vabre.

    After an intensive training schedule in the build-up, the team is full of confidence going into the race and the word on the dockside in Le Havre is that the combination on board of Thomas Ruyant and Morgan Lagravière is proving a real strength.

    That’s just as well as they take on the likes of in-form Charlie Dalin and Paul Meilhat on APIVIA and Jérémie Beyou and Christopher Pratt on Charal at the front of the IMOCA fleet on the 5,800-mile racetrack to Martinique.

    Lagravière, 34 who hails from the Indian Ocean island of Réunion, told the Class that he and Ruyant compliment each other well, with the former focusing on strategy while Lagravière zeroes in on sailing performance.

    “For sure I’d love to win,”said Lagravière for whom this will be his fourth start in a race that he finished in third place alongside Eric Peron on Des Voiles et Vous! in 2017. “Thomas and I have exactly the same point of view, the same frame of mind and that’s the reason why we are so strong together.”




    The former skipper of SAFRAN knows that there are many elements that have to be right to win, having had to retire twice from the Transat Jacques Vabre, once with structural problems and once after hitting a rock. “There are many keys to success in this race,”he said. “You have to be fast all the race; you have to be together with your crew all of the race and you must not break your boat – that is the most important thing. I’m not sure what the main point is,” he adds laughing, “but we have to do what we’ve trained to do.”

    During training at Port-la-Forêt with APIVIA, the LinkedOut team has seen Dalin and Meilhat go quicker upwind in medium conditions, but their own boat has shown real pace reaching and the team hope it will be a match for Apivia going downwind VMG.

    With world class 420 and 49er campaigns under his belt, a strong record in the Figaro and a current passion for kite foiling, Lagravière has brought a fresh approach to his first foiling IMOCA campaign, to the extent that the LinkedOut team believe they are real contenders for the podium in Fort de France at the very least.

    Lagravière himself says he and Ruyant have always been competitive in training but there is still more to come. “All the time we have been competitive against the other boats – our boat is really strong and with Thomas it feels like a good partnership. But compared to Apivia and the other top teams, we are still improving – at each training session we have improved together and improved the performance of the boat,” he said.





    Asked who they need to beat to get into the coveted top-three, Lagravière, mentions Apivia and Charal but also Corum L’Epargne (Nicolas Troussel and Sébastien Josse) with its new foil package and Arkéa Paprec (Sébastien Simon and Yann Elies). “Maybe Bureau Vallée (Louis Burton and Davy Beaudart) with the old L’Occitane boat,”he said. “There are many, many boats that can do well in this format.”

    The charming Frenchman who now lives near Lorient is a busy man. Once this Transat Jacques Vabre is over he will be back in France ready to re-join Charles Caudrelier and Franck Cammas as a helmsman on board the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild with the Gitana Team, as that team prepares for another crack at the Jules Verne Trophy in January.

    Ed Gorman

    https://www.imoca.org/en/news/news/c...-jacques-vabre






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    Class Size Reduction In IMOCA Continues

    11th Hour Racing Team’s IMOCA Alaca’i is out of the Transat Jacques Vabre - the Imoca fleet is now down to 20 boats. The Ultimes have flown along whilst the Ocean Fifty continue at pace. The Class 40s are still taking it easy.

    Briton Simon Fisher and Justine Mettraux of Switzelrand alerted race management this afternoon that 11th Hour Racing Team Alaca’i had dismasted just north of Cape Finisterre off the Spanish coast. Both sailors are safe and uninjured.

    This is the same boat that Alex Thomson guided to a second place finish in the 2016 Vendee Globe.

    It’s the second IMOCA 60 to have dismasted after Bureau Vallée, skippered by Louis Burton and Davy Beaudart, was forced to retire on Sunday night.




    Alaka'i had been the link between the leading group of IMOCAs and the chasing pack so there are now six of them in a significant breakaway group. Apivia is out in front followed by LinkedOut 34 miles behind. Then comes Initiatives-Coeur, Charal, 11th Hour Racing Team Mālama and Arkea Paprec. The IMOCAs chose to go around the Traffic Separation Zone away from the Spanish coast tonight – a move chosen by Charlie Dalin and Paul Meilhat, and followed by all the others.

    The leading boats are now enjoying a good 15 knots of wind whilst the following IMOCAs are struggling in the aftermath of that high pressure.



    Ultimes – a return to light airs?

    By contrast the Ultimes earlier in the day chose to travel through the corridor between Cape Finistere and the no-go Traffic Separation Zone. The fleet is very close, “We were side by side in the middle of the night with Sodebo, as we rounded Cape Finisterre, at around 40 knots," explains Franck Cammas, aboard leading boat Maxi Edmond de Rothschild, "It's tight, there's a very good level of speed and tactics, which makes for a fine spectacle.”

    However, there could be trouble ahead. After making a speedy descent down the Iberian coast (over 550 miles in 24 hours, something to be happy about in the Bay of Biscay "which has never been so slow"), there could be a new setback for the trimarans, continues Cammas: "the wind has already begun to weaken, so we're going to have to set the boat in light airs mode as we did at the Bay of Biscay”





    Ocean Fifty – what a bunch

    The seven Ocean Fifty multihulls are bunched together with only 100 miles separating first from 7th. Koesio, skippered by Erwan Le Roux and Xavier Macaire, is still leading.

    One of the favourites at the start, Leyton is in sixth place about 80 miles behind. Co-skipper Sam Goodchild told us this afteroon, "We've lost a few miles so we're going to try and catch up with the others. We have found 15/20 knots of trade winds off the coast of Portugal, with a series of gybes to keep the wind up to the Canaries. Some of the boats got ahead of us and our little mistakes at the start of the race cost us dearly. But we're going to seize the opportunities as soon as we get them."



    No change in the Class 40

    Whilst the other classes have found breeze, the Class 40s are still languishing in the Bay of Biscay. Some of the boats have only progressed fifty miles since yesterday evening (averaging a painful 4 km/h).

    Out in front is La Manche #EvidenceNautique. "We're enjoying being first and we've decided to have an aperitif on board this evening to celebrate," laughs Nicolas Jossier, Alexis Loison's partner. We can't wait to get past Spain and start sailing towards better temperatures".

    Meanwhile, the maverick Polka Dot is continuing all alone on a far more western route. Only time will tell if the gamble has paid off.

    https://www.transatjacquesvabre.org/en/map-tracker

    Leaderboard at 18.00 (CET)

    Ultime
    1. Maxi Edmond de Rothschild (Franck Cammas - Charles Caudrelier)
    2. Sodebo Ultim 3 (Thomas Coville - Thomas Rouxel)
    3. SVR - Lazartigue (François Gabart - Tom Laperche)

    Ocean Fifty
    1. Koesio (Erwan Le Roux - Xavier Macaire)
    2. Solitaires en Peloton - ARSEP (Thibaut Vauchel-Camus - Frédéric Duthil)
    3. Primonial (Sébastien Rogues - Matthieu Souben)

    Imoca
    1. Apivia (Charlie Dalin - Paul Meilhat)
    2. LinkedOut (Thomas Ruyant - Morgan Lagravière)
    3. Initiatives-Coeur (Samantha Davies - Nicolas Lunven)

    Class40
    1. La Manche #EvidenceNautique (Nicolas Jossier - Alexis Loison)
    2. Volvo (Jonas Gerckens - Benoit Hantzperg)
    3. Lamotte Module Création ( Luke Berry - Achille Nebout)


    https://www.transatjacquesvabre.org/...e-wind-returns
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    More Things That Go Bang In The Night





    Sodebo Ultim 3 is being assessed following last night's collision with an unidentified floating object. 11th Hour Racing Team - Alaka'i have officially abandoned the race after yeasterday's dismasting. The rest of the fleet has now split up as the four different classes head south at decent speed.

    Ultime : Sodebo Ultim 3 damaged. The fleet passes island of Madeira

    Last night at 01h00 (French time), Sodebo Ultim 3 hit a UFO, damaging the starboard foil. Thomas Coville and Thomas Rouxel are fine and are safe in the boat. They are currently continuing their race but at a slower pace.

    Their rivals in front are deciding on different options as they approach Madeira. SVR - Lazartigue and Actual Ultim 3 have chosen to pass to the east of the island, while Maxi Edmond de Rothschild and Banque Populaire XI will pass to the west.

    Armel Le Cléac'h and Kevin Escoffier have managed to catch up with the group, "We've made some great manoeuvres and we're happy to be back in the game. Once again, a lot of things are going to happen" Escoffier said.

    The next few hours should be calmer, before picking up speed again as they approach the Canaries, which they should reach by midnight. Escoffier explains, "The trade winds are not established so the descent of the Atlantic will leave room for some play. We're staying on top of it because the wind is unstable, so there's quite a bit of trimming to do."

    The weather is getting warmer for the giant multihulls, which is a good sign of progress.







    Ocean Fifty: A waltz of gybes

    The gap is widening between the two multihull classes, but the 50-footers are fighting back well. They continue to make progress southwards and are now at the latitude of Cape St Vincent. In these conditions of 10-15 knots of wind, downwind, the Ocean Fiftys are fast.

    Since rounding Cape Finisterre, the boats have been battling it out by gybing get an advantage on their rivals. "There's a great fight going on and we're in the game. We compare our performance every hour. There are a lot of options to take, it's great", Benoît Marie (Les P'tits Doudous) explained on the radio this morning.

    IMOCA: arm wrestling along Portugal

    The fleet of 21 is seeing plenty of one-on-one duels but he biggest is at the front. Apivia and LinkedOut have been battling it out from the start. Charlie Dalin and Paul Meilhat are still in first place, but the gap is narrowing. 30 miles to their north, Initiatives-Coeur and Charal are fighting for third place, and 11th Hour Racing Team - Mālama and Arkea Paprec for fifth.

    The pace is changing as they slip south, Morgan Lagravière (LinkedOut) explains, "We are changing our rhythm a little bit as the miles go by. We're spending less time at the chart table now, which is rather nice because we're in the game. It's very positive for the future. There'll be some good battles over the next few hours."

    Meamwhile 11th Hour Racing Team - Alaka'i reached La Coruña last night following the breaking of their mast. Simon Fisher wrote, "Sadly we will be officially retiring from the race. Hopefully we’ll be back for the next edition!"

    Class40: will pass, will not pass

    The 40-foot fleet now stretches over 200 miles. The gaps have been widening since they escaped the windless high pressure zone. The frontrunners have been able to start their descent towards Cape Finisterre, leaving the rest of the pack behind. However the wind remains unstable.

    Contacted this morning at the radio session, the crew of Lamotte - Module Création recounted their misadventure of the morning, "We're in a bit of a mess. The spinnaker went in the water, fortunately we managed to recover it! Everything is fine though. We're working hard and trying to get the boat moving fast."

    Once back at a decent speed the Class 40s will have to make as much distance as possible because another obstacle is heading their way. The high pressure cell is moving to the south-east and, if they're not careful, they could once again get stuck in a light wind zone allowing everyone to bunch up once again.



    Wednesday's video race roundup



    Morning leaderboard at 08.00 GMT



    Ultime
    1. Maxi Edmond de Rothschild (Franck Cammas - Charles Caudrelier)
    2. SVR - Lazartigue (François Gabart - Tom Laperche)
    3. Actual Ultim 3 (Yves Le Blevec - Anthony Marchand)




    Ocean Fifty
    1. Koesio (Erwan Le Roux - Xavier Macaire)
    2. Primonial (Sébastien Rogues - Matthieu Souben)
    3. Solidaires en Peloton - ARSEP (Thibaut Vauchel-Camus - Frédéric Duthil)





    Imoca
    1. Apivia (Charlie Dalin - Paul Meilhat)
    2. LinkedOut (Thomas Ruyant - Morgan Lagravière)
    3. Charal (Jérémie Beyou - Christopher Pratt)




    Class40
    1. La Manche #EvidenceNautique (Nicolas Jossier - Alexis Loison)
    2. Lamotte Module Création (Luke Berry - Achille Nebout)
    3. Edenred (Emmanuel Le Roch - Pierre Quiroga)
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    Diverting To Madeira: Mission... Repair And Rejoin




    While sailing in second position in the Transat Jacques Vabre at the latitude of Morocco, Sodebo Ultim 3 violently collided with an UFO on the night of Wednesday and Thursday, around 1 a.m. Thomas Coville and Thomas Rouxel, who immediately slowed down the boat to make an initial diagnosis, observed that the starboard foil had been damaged.

    In permanent contact with the routing cell and the entire technical team to find a solution, the Sodebo Ultim 3 crew failed to make satisfactory repairs to remain competitive and continue their journey south.

    They then decided to make a technical stopover - authorized on the double deckchair - near Funchal (Madeira), where they planned to arrive the next night (from Thursday to Friday) around 1 a.m., at the same time as five members of Team Sodebo, dispatched to the site.

    Thomas Coville and Thomas Rouxel as well as the entire Team Sodebo have only one goal: to start racing again as quickly as possible and to finish this 15th edition of the Transat Jacques Vabre. What confirms the team manager Jean-Christophe Moussard: “After having logically accused the blow mentally just after the collision, the two Thomases very quickly regained the upper hand with the desire to find solutions to continue the race, we are all in this situation. state of mind. We had exchanges of photos with them to answer their questions, we identified the few parts that we needed to go as quickly as possible in the repair. We are all in warrior mode, we want to go to the end, we do not let go, whether it is us, on the ground, and the two Thomases, who are very proactive and focused. "

    A new race against time has started. The team dispatched to Madeira should arrive in Funchal around 12:30 am with the sole objective of repairing the boat so that it can start racing again as quickly as possible.

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    The Details Of The Dismasting And Aftermath




    A Coruña - November 11, 2021

    A bitterly disappointed Simon Fisher (GBR) and co-skipper Justine Mettraux (SUI) spent last night in a hotel in A Coruña, Spain, and not onboard their 60-foot race yacht, 11th Hour Racing Team Alaka’i, after being dismasted off the coast of A Coruña yesterday, Wednesday, November 10. The team were four days into the Transat Jacques Vabre, a 5,800 nautical mile race from Le Havre, France to Martinique, in the Caribbean.

    At 14:02 UTC Fisher and Mettraux informed their shore team that the 95-foot mast had fallen down in 23 knots of wind [26 mph; 43 kph], and in a choppy sea state, as they raced in 7th place among the 22 IMOCA 60 boats competing in the race. Both sailors were unhurt in the incident and have abandoned the race.

    Speaking from A Coruña, Mettraux said, “Both Simon and I are really disappointed - we just didn’t imagine this would happen to us. We had a good start to the race, and were going well at the time. I am so sad to stop the race like this, especially as we have had such a good year racing together, the miles we have sailed and the experience we have gained. We are also gutted for the whole team who had helped us to prepare so well and got us to the startline last Sunday.”

    The double-handed pairing were sailing downwind in 20-25 knots of breeze, about 7 nautical miles offshore from the Spanish city on day four of the transatlantic race. With one reef in the mainsail, and with the sailors under cover in the cockpit, the boat nose-dived into a large wave and the co-skippers heard a loud bang.




    Fisher picks up the detail: “I heard a loud banging noise and I think it was fairly obvious from where we were sitting inside as to what had happened. We went up on deck and assessed the situation. The mast had gone down over the front of the boat and then as a result of that, the boat drifted over the top of the rig [mast] - we had a long battle ahead to try and get the rig back onboard. That was our first goal, our first aim - to be able to get [the mast] onboard and save as much of the mast, sails and rigging as we could.

    “With it being washed under the boat it was impossible to pull out. We worked hard to get the boat to turn around, get the rig sticking out so that maybe we could pull it onboard more easily. But as we started to work on that and got the boat pointing upwind and the rig out from underneath the boat, the whole rig actually started sinking quite quickly.

    “So we were unable to get the mast back on the boat - it was going to be too much for the two of us to pull it onboard. And at that stage we were starting to risk further damage to the hull and the foils. We had to make the difficult decision to cut everything away, but we saved as much as we could. We've hopefully minimized the damage to the boat and now we're motoring towards A Coruña where we'll be received by our good friend Chuny [Roberto 'Chuny' Bermúdez - a round the world sailor], who is going to help us tie up.”




    11th Hour Racing Team’s shore crew travelled overnight from the team’s French base in Port-La-Forêt, Brittany, and met with the co-skippers this morning.

    “This is obviously a huge disappointment for the sailors, and the wider team, however what is most important is that Simon and Justine are safely ashore,” said Team CEO Mark Towill. “We are undertaking a full assessment of the damage and are finalizing a plan to get the boat safely back to France,” he concluded.

    Damian Foxall, sustainability program manager at 11th Hour Racing Team and a 10-time round-the-world race veteran commented about the loss of equipment overboard. “Simon and Justine are two of the very best offshore sailors and we are fully confident they made the right decision for the boat and themselves at the time. As we have seen twice now in this race [there was a previous dismasting on another team’s IMOCA during the first night], incidents do happen, and in highly pressured situations, the team has to make instinctive decisions taking into account human, economic and environmental implications.




    “Clearly it is best for the environment that nothing is lost overboard. We will be taking the environmental aspects into account as part of our campaign footprint.”

    The Transat Jacques Vabre is a biennial race from France, and for the first time in the 28 year history of the race, will finish in Martinique. 79 teams are taking part, including Fisher and Mettraux’s teammates - Charlie Enright and Pascal Bidégorry who are racing in the newly launched IMOCA - Mālama. As of 1500 UTC on Thursday November 11, they lie in 5th place overall with 4,825 nautical miles [5,553 miles; 8,936 km] to go.

    The fleet is due to arrive at the finish in Fort-de-France, Martinique around 25 November.
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    Nov 15th Update: The Multi's And The Doldrums




    The Ultimes are escaping the Doldrums, the Ocean Fifty will face them next. The monohulls, meanwhile, are enjoying the African breeze and positive vibes.



    Ultime: time for some speed

    Lead boat Maxi Edmond de Rothschild has emerged from the Doldrums having entered them on Saturday night. As you’d expect the chasing pack have cut the lead to 160 miles but Cammas and Caudrelier have now accelerated and will build back a big advantage on the rest who remain mired in the Doldrums. The leaders now have their sights on Trindade and Martim Vaz, the Brazilian islands that are the Ultime’s next waypoint, 1200 miles further south.

    Amongst the chasing three boats are the new-builds Banque Populaire XI and SVR - Lazartigue. Kevin Escoffier has vowed he won’t give up, "There is still a lot of work to be done, we are barely half way through the race. There's still a long, tight reach to the mark, then a downwind reach to get back up, and finally a long downwind leg to Martinique. The road is long, I think the race will be less strategic than on the descent of the Atlantic, more of a speed race if there are no reliability problems with the boats. He is delighted with the performance of Armel Le Cléac'h's trimaran, which was only launched earlier this year, "Managing to sail such boats soon after their launch proves that they are easy boats. And they still have a lot of potential for development.



    Ocean Fifty: Primonial breaks away

    For some time we’ve been reporting on a compact fleet but that all changed today. One boat has broken away in impressive fashion. Sébastien Rogues and Matthieu Souben averaged 3-4 knots per hour faster than their rivals over the last 24 hours – a performance that’s given them a 200 mile lead over Koesio and Solidaires en peloton - Arsep.

    Primonial now has Fernando de Noronha in their sights, which they will have to round before heading for the West Indies. The Brazilian archipelago is 750 miles ahead of them... but to get their they must cross the Doldrums. At the rear of the Ocean Fifty pack are two stragglers sitting 500 miles from the leaders; Arkema 4 and Groupe GCA - 1001 Sourires.









    Imoca: sticking with Africa

    For the moment, the 60-footers are sticking to the African coast. They are approaching Cape Verde and, unlike the multihulls who went before them, they all seem to be choosing a route to the east of the archipelago. No one is attempting the open sea, everyone is playing the regatta card, taking advantage of the better conditions (more wind, more pressure) coming from the thermal breeze created by the Sahara desert. Within the leading group of 6, it is once again Apivia, the most westerly, who is leading the way. Further north is a group of outsiders made up of 7 IMOCA boats - of which two are not foilers. One of them is Kostum-Lantana Paysage, holding her own in 13th place. Co-skipper Marie Tabarly is delighted, "We were not at all set on doing this, that's for sure! We mustn't forget that we launched the boat two months ago, we haven't sailed many miles, so we are really discovering the boat. She's a war machine! I feel like I'm on a magic carpet.



    Class 40 – Positive vibes all round

    Redman negotiated the tricky passage through the Canaries problem free to hold on to the lead from Banque du Leman.

    In 26th position this Monday evening, the Kervarrec father-son partnership aboard Samsic-E. Leclerc, "I have been disinherited yet so it’s all going well" joked Simon on a call to race HQ today. "We are rediscovering ourselves in a vast universe. We share a lot, he teaches me, I teach him, it's great".

    A little further north, the Courtois twins, aboard Saint James-Biscuiterie de l'Abbaye, are still a little awestruck by their illustrious opponents like Kito De Pavant or Sébastien Audigane, "It's great to think we’re giving big names a run for their money. They haven’t shaken us off so we're not doing too badly".

    Positivity as well from the boat almost at the very back Thibaut Lefevere and Thomas Bulcke on Free Dom, "We didn't come to do a Transat Jacques Vabre because it’s easy. It’s tough but we support each other, we remain super positive and have fun. It's not our job, we're not professional sailors, we're amateurs, being here is an incredible opportunity.”

    Briton Brian Thompson aboard 8th placed Tquila was jubilant at getting a phone signal whilst passing the Canary Islands. “Just managed to log in on my phone here in the Canaries… what an amazing race so far…. Alister and I making a great team and enjoying the competition. Highlights for me have been the super close racing down the Normandy and Brittany coasts, the dolphins, stars and moon.”








    The leaderboard at 1800 CET

    Ultime
    1. Maxi Edmond de Rothschild
    2. Banque Populaire XI
    3. SVR - Lazartigue

    Ocean Fifty
    1. Primonial
    2. Koesio
    3. Solidaires en peloton - Arsep

    Imoca
    1. Apivia
    2. LinkedOut
    3. Arkea Paprec

    Class40
    1. Redman
    2. Banque du Léman
    3. Volvo
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    Cat And Mouse Battles In The Doldrums




    After nine days of racing the monohulls are still bunched together in cat and mouse battles in which any mistake will prove costly. Maxi Edmond de Rothschild keeps getting faster at the front of the Ultimes whilst the Ocean Fifty class may well be shuffled as they enter the Doldrums.

    Ultime - enter the southern hemisphere

    The Ultimes have been speeding south since escaping the doldrums yesterday. The technical battle of previous days has turned into a speed race between the four leading boats. However, discounting any possible breakages, catching the leader seems like an almost impossible task. Franck Cammas and Charles Caudrelier on Maxi Edmond de Rothschild are almost 300 miles ahead and have averaged 3-4 knots more over the early morning than the chasing boats.

    François Gabart on his new trimaran SVR - Lazartigue is doing his best to stay in touch with the leaders, "The doldrums were difficult for us. We lost a lot of ground on our competitors.”

    The crews are now heading upwind towards the next waypoint at Fernando de Noronha.







    IMOCA – man to man marking

    After a long descent along the African coast in search of thermal breeze, the leading group has gybed and is starting a long starboard tack toward the entrance to the Doldrums. The conditions are lighter, forcing the pairs to focus on sail, foil trimming and mast setting. LinkedOut, is still holding the lead but only 70 miles separate the top 5 boats. Apivia is only seven miles behind in second place. It’s a game of cat and mouse, who will blink first?





    Ocean Fifty: winning contest on the programme

    The 50-foot fleet is a playful one. The seven crews have been challenging each other in speed duels over recent days but all this will change as they enter the Doldrums.

    Thibault Vauchel-Camus (Solidaires en Peloton - ARSEP) explained on their radio broadcast this morning that they feel short-changed by the conditions recently, "Primonial is leading the way, even though we're following a similar weather and geographical route. That's the beauty of sailing! Anyway we’re only halfway there so there's still plenty more time!”

    Primonial is still in first place, while Koesio and Solidaires en Peloton-ARSEP are closing the gap. Further east, CGA-1001 Sourires and Arkema 4 seem to have opted for a more direct route. If conditions allow them a quick crossing, this could once again shake up the ranking.




    Class40: yet another slowdown in sight

    The leading 40 footers are seeing the miles pass under their bows as they slide along the coast. The gybes continue to punctuate the race of this very tightly bunched fleet. If the weather forecast is correct then the frontrunners will likely slow while the chasing pack continue in good breeze. Benoit Hantzberg explains more from his boat Volvo, "The next few days are going to be lighter. There will be a lot of gybing to do to get to Cape Verde. It will be similar to what we had along Portugal. That's also why we do these races, not necessarily just for the long speed tacks!"








    As the fleet heads south the crews are absorbed by strategy, tactics and what on earth to wear.



    Ultime: next waypoint in their sights

    The Maxi Edmond de Rothschild is seemingly unstoppable. Franck Cammas and Charles Caudrelier are smoking south at 30 knots just 600 miles from Trindade and Martim Vaz, the Brazilian islands they have to round before heading up towards Martinique. Their current ETA to the finish line is about a week. Thomas Rouxel, on board Sodebo Ultim 3, concedes they’ll be tough to catch, "They have the lead, they are more comfortable with all points of sail, they are exceptional sailors, I can’t see what could stop them winning, barring technical damage or a twist of fate in the second Doldrums.

    At the rear of the Ultime fleet, the Sodebo crew who suffered foil damage last week are crossing the Doldrums. They’re close to the leading Ocean Fifty boats and are effectively out of the race but that doesn’t mean to say they’re not pushing the limits where they can. leaders. "We're still racing because we are developing the boat, making it more reliable, making adjustments and working with our routing team.” says co-skipper Thomas Rouxel. “There are a lot of parameters to work on, but we're still aiming for performance. We also want to enjoy it because sailing on these boats is exceptional, even if it's not obvious in the Doldrums.



    Ocean Fifty: down in the Doldrums

    The entire Ocean Fifty fleet is now approaching or in the Doldrums. But the three leading boats are still dominating. Over the last 24 hours, they have covered more miles than Sodebo Ultim 3, which is in the same waters. Primonial continues to lead ahead of Koesio and Solidaires en Peloton-Arsep. As the Ocean Fifty boats are following a shorter route than the Ultimes, they are also expected in Martinique on 23rd November.



    IMOCA – when light means tough

    This Transat Jacques Vabre 2021 is proving tough on the monohulls. For days now they’ve struggled with unfavourable conditions and continue to search for breeze close to the African coast. The leading six today made their break, heading west to Cape Verde. LinkedOut has done best and has a small lead over Charal and Apivia.

    Sitting fourth is Sam Davies on Initiatives-Coeur where there are more than just navigational concerns;

    “Yesterday I still had my hat and fleece on, but tonight it's different, it's warmer. …we were looking for the stuff in our bags and we both agreed we'd packed too many fleeces, hats, gloves etc... my bag is really too big (as a girl I have the right to have a bigger dressing room, right?) Then, I finished changing into my shorts, I go back on deck but Nico continues to rummage in his bag.

    "Sam" he says.

    "Yes"

    "I forgot my t-shirts".

    I suggest a solution: I share my T-shirts.

    Nico will wear size 10 (or 12 if he's lucky) women's clothes for the next 11 days.

    And he'll do the laundry.”



    Class40: Canaries split the fleet in two

    25 boats have now passed the Canaries. This first half of the fleet is spread out over 400 miles. It is still led by the same boats: Redman and Volvo, positioned further west. The other half of the fleet remains north of the Canaries, 20 boats spread out over 300 nautical miles. Terre Exotique is rear guard over 700 miles behind the leader just north of Madeira.



    Leaderboard at 18.00 CET

    Ultime
    1. Maxi Edmond de Rothschild
    2. Banque Populaire XI
    3. SVR - Lazartigue


    Ocean Fifty
    1. Primonial
    2. Koesio
    3. Solidaires en Peloton - ARSEP

    Imoca
    1. LinkedOut
    2. Charal
    3. Apivia

    Class40
    1. Redman
    2. Volvo
    3. Banque du Léman
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  9. #19
    despondent correspondent Photoboy's Avatar
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    The Beat And The Heat Goes On



    The next two days could be crucial in deciding the winners. Lead changes are expected across three of the four classes today as the weather roles the dice.



    Ocean Fifty – searching for a way out

    Lying 4th Leyton have made up nearly 100 nautical miles on the OceanFifty class race leaders Primonial since yesterday. There are around 300 miles to the little Brasilian island of Fernando de Noronha which is the most southerly turning mark on the Transat Jacques Vabre race.

    Sam Goodchild and Aymeric Chapellier are quickest in the OceanFifty class this morning making over 17 knots, but – as ever – the British sailor remains cautious, “Are we out of the Doldrums yet? Well, that is not a question you ask or answer….when you say you are out you’re not! And we saw yesterday afternoon our friends in the west were going SSW at good speeds but last night they were stopped, which is good for us. We are not out the Doldrums and will just carry on going SSW until we get to Fernando. Yesterday was a chance to just catch up on rest, I think we both got some good longer sleep which was good, proving we really needed it. We are just plugging away.”

    Later today, the class should break free and start to pick up speed towards Fernando de Norohna, the final turning mark before Martinique.



    Class40: focus on strategy

    The head of the Class40 fleet is getting closer and closer to Cape Verde and more particularly to the island of Sal, which they must leave to starboard before they can head across the Atlantic. However, the weather conditions remain complicated, "The conditions are light and it's not going to get any better for the next 24 hours. We'll have to cross a zone of light winds before we can hope to find the beginnings of trade winds," explained Valentin Gautier (Banque du Léman) in a note received last night.

    The leading group has been caught up again and "our lead over the fleet will melt away like snow in the sun. We will be trying to make the most of it once again, as the next night promises to be one of the most important of this transatlantic race" said the Edenred pairing last night.

    Ultime: the miles are flying

    This morning, the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild has a 300 mile lead over the second ranked Ultime, Banque Populaire XI.

    Franck Cammas and Charles Caudrelier have averaged much higher speeds than the rest of the fleet as they head towards the virtual course mark located 20 miles to the north of Trindade Island. "It's always nice to have a lead over our pursuers like that, it allows us to manage things better, but we mustn't forget that in a multihull it doesn't represent much time, so it can come back quickly. We mustn't stop, we mustn't have any technical problems and then it’ll be fine." explained Cammas on French radio this morning.

    They’re expected the round the waypoint early this afternoon before starting the ascent towards Martinique at high speed. At the rear of the fleet, Sodebo Ultim 3, who had decided to start racing again despite a weakened foil, is now out of the Doldrums and will be able to follow in the footsteps of her rivals up front and begin her descent.

    IMOCA – the pressure is on

    The high pressure, cat-and-mouse racing will continue into another day. At the front of the pack LinkedOut, Charal and Apivia have broken free, leaving three other boats Initiatives-Coeur, Arkea Paprec and 11th Hour Racing Team - Mālama, 140 miles behind them.

    By the end of the day the leaders should enter the Doldrums, a zone that is becoming increasingly complicated. They will first have to find a favourable entry point to the east and then will have to slalom between the squalls and the lack of wind. A good 36 hours of nail-biting decisions await the skippers.









    The Class 40 fleet is an exciting mix of top professional and amateur sailors, of old and new boats. It is also a class divided in two by 150 miles of Atlantic ocean. We caught up with a boat near the front and one near the back to hear how both have coped with some tough racing.

    In the leading bunch and sitting in 7th place is the professional British pair of Brian Thompson and Alastair Richardson aboard Tquila. Earlier this year the pair broke the transatlantic speed record as part of the crew on Argo – this Transat crossing couldn’t be more different! Ten days into the race they are approaching Cape Verde and contemplating their next move, “If the leaders stay bunched and close to the islands then we might go wide and stay in slightly stronger winds. That’s the dilemma at the moment” explained Richardson this morning.




    Their seventh place is a remarkable achievement considering they have struggled for days with the electronics on board. This has meant no satellite connections or up to date weather data. Alastair used his mobile phone whilst skirting the Canary Islands to call his wife so she could advise on their position using the race tracker on the website.

    Luckily for us they regained connection with the outside world just before our morning call. Thompson was in good spirits, “We seem to be doing miraculously well considering all the trouble we’ve had. It has been fantastic racing”

    The problems also led to a faulty auto pilot which means the pair have had little sleep, “We’ve got an older boat and when we drive it manually we’re about a knot faster so we’ve been sailing the boat most of the time. We’ve only used the auto-pilot when we’re super super tired but that also broke the other day, so it has been a nightmare. At the moment, I’m taking it to bits to try to make it work.” explained Richardson, a former Olympic and America’s Cup sailor.

    At the other end, in the second bunch of 20 boats are Dutchmen Frans Budel and Ysbrand Endt. Their boat Sec Hayai is in 36th place and passed the Canary Island of Palma this morning. Budel is a race rookie but for Endt it’s a second time in the Transat Jacques Vabre, “This has been so different from the first time. The conditions are so completely different than any other time I’ve been here” admits Endt who has taken on much of the navigational responsibilities aboard.


    The conditions are not the only things that have tested the pair, “We almost lost the generator for our electrical system but then we managed to get it off our transom, repair it fully and even modify a bit to make it better” explains Endt with a laugh of satisfaction.

    Neither sailor is thinking about the end of the race, they’re focused on making up ground on their nearest rivals, “We’re only thinking about the next two days and getting past the Canaries as fast as possible to try to win places. Our goal is to get back into to the top thirty.”

    450 miles ahead of the Dutch, the British pair on Tquila are enjoying their sailing again after fixing the electrical problems on board, “The start of the race was wonderful and it’s fantastic racing at the moment. We’ve got an interesting few days coming up weather-wise though because this is the last bit of good wind then it’ll be sub 10 knots in the coming days”










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  10. #20
    despondent correspondent Photoboy's Avatar
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    Blistering Rides For Ultimes, Not So Much For Class 40



    For the pacesetters on the the maxi trimarans, Gitana, Banque Populaire and SVR-Lazartigue, life in the fast lane is good, with 30 plus knots being the norm, and not the exception,
    Franck and Charles on Gitana have passed the last turning mark and are on the home stretch! Now the key is to avoid breaking anything and sailing into any holes!

    The IMOCA top 3 boats, LinkedOut, Apiva and Charal are enjoying speeds in the mid 20's and will continue to distance themselves from the rest of the fleet!

    All of the Ocena 50's have rounded their last turning mark, with the top 3, Primonial, Koesio and Leyton extending their lead from the other 50's

    Now down to just 43 boats, the Class 40 podium positions still look up for grabs for the top 15 boats, with 2,200 nm plus yet to go, anything is possible!







    Class 40 Go west!

    The leaders have finally turned west at the Cape Verde islands. Redman is out in front and has chosen a route through the islands but their lead is now only 45 miles. Strategy is not their only concern though as co-skipper Pablo Santurde del Arco (ESP) explains, "We're going to be short of food for almost a week, but we mustn't let our morale get too low. Given the circumstances, we are pretty happy".

    Croatia Full of Life has made big gains overnight to move into third place. Ivica Kostelic (CRO) and his partner are closely shadowing the leaders but with islands now to port and starboard Class 40 fans will be glued to the tracker to see which of the many possible routes the boats will choose.








    IMOCA – leaders head for finish

    This is now the most extended fleet in the race with 1,000 miles separating the leader from the back. The leading three boats are leaving the Doldrums. There’s little to separate LinkedOut, Apivia and Charal and the winner will likely come from this pack.

    Apivia, co-skippered by Charlie Dalin and Paul Meilhat have been the fastest boat over the last 24 hours. Ahead of them is the fast downwind ride up to Martinique with an ETA of Thursday 25th November for the leading IMOCAS.

    Over 200 miles further back and still staggering through the doldrums is the chasing pack led by Sam Davies (GBR) on Initiatives Coeur with Charlie Enright (USA) on 11th Hour Racing Team Malama in tow.






    Ocean 50:joy and pain

    Whilst one Ocean Fifty celebrates a birthday, another suffers the huge frustrations of a blown spinnaker, just when it’s most needed.

    As the fleet speeds towards Martinique, Solidaires En Peloton-ARSEP has been struck by the sailing equivalent of a pulled hamstring. Thibaut Vauchel Camus and Fred Duthil ripped their large gennaker (an important sail for this final stretch) to the finish line in Martinique. The pair attempted a long and tedious repair of the 25 metre rip saying, "We had to try. We didn't want to regret not trying". Thibaut and Fred are currently 5th out of seven and are expected to arrive around the 24th of November.

    Meanwhile onboard Leyton there was a double celebration. Yesterday saw them move through the fleet and are now in third just 100 miles from the leader and today is British co-skipper Sam Goodchild’s 32nd birthday (photo above). Although he’ll hardly have time to celebrate – the pair did five gybes overnight which has meant limited sleep and they are currently focused on maintaining Leyton’s 23 knots of speed this morning. "It's not easy on many levels, physically and mentally, but we're not going to give up anything for this last stretch.” Goodchild told us this morning.






    Ultime

    Conditions are ideal for the speed-merchants who have covered more than 750 miles in 24 hours and are making lightning speeds of around 30 knots. This trip along Brazil is nothing but pleasure for the Ultime fleet, who "are in one of the most beautiful places in the world to sail, with flat seas and a small beam," according to Thomas Coville (Sodebo Ultim 3) during his morning call.

    Maxi Edmond De Rothschild has a 400 mile lead but still faces 2,000 miles to the finish line.



    Leaderboard at 09.00 CET
    Ultime
    1. Maxi Edmond de Rothschild
    2. Banque Populaire XI
    3. SVR - Lazartigue

    Ocean Fifty
    1. Primonial
    2. Koesio
    3. Leyton

    Imoca
    1. LinkedOut
    2. Apivia
    3. Charal

    Class40
    1. Redman
    2. Project Rescue Ocean
    3. Guidi



    Current ETA in Martinique:
    Ultime : Maxi Edmond de Rothschild 23 November

    Ocean Fifty : Primonial night of 23-24 November

    Imoca : LinkedOut 25th November

    Class40 : Redman 30th November


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