Please select your home edition
Edition
Guy Nowell - Blue 728

Transat Jacques Vabre - Competition Stiffens towards the finals

by Oman Sail on 17 Nov 2013
The Oman Air MOD70 in action today, Skippered by Sidney Gavignet (FRA) with team mates Thomas LeBreton (FRA), Fahad Al Hasni (OMA), Neal McDonald (GBR),Damian Foxall (IRL), Philip Rivett (AUS), Ahmed Al Hassani (OMA) and Giles Favennec (FRA) Lloyd Images/Oman Sail© http://www.omansail.com
With just 700nms to go to the finish of the 5,450nm Transat Jacques Vabre, Oman Air-Musandam – the Sultanate of Oman’s flagship MOD70 campaign – has made significant inroads on Edmond de Roths child’s lead, sitting just 39nms behind on Sunday morning.

The Franco-Irish duo of skipper Sidney Gavignet and co skipper Damian Foxall has been taking it in turns to steer, not wanting to leave anything to chance in the closing stages of the Transat Jacques Vabre. 'Our hands are worn to tatters,' said Sidney this morning. 'But it will be worth it if we can make up these last few miles and cross the line ahead of Gitana!'

Averaging 25knots of boat speed in the past 24 hours, the duo is approaching the Bay of Rio and another weather system. Jean-Francois Cuzon the Oman Air-Musandam router has warned that the conditions over the next two days are very complicated.


Having completed a gybe and a sail change, Sidney picked up the Satellite phone to update us on the latest news from the boat:

'Damian is on the helm right now – we just swapped the jib with the gennaker and that took almost an hour! You have to prepare the sail, staggering around with the motion of the boat in the waves and then you have to slow down and engage the autopilot so that you can both deal with the sails and do it quicker, then you have to tidy up and put up the staysail – it’s quite a process!

'So that is how I spent my off watch time, but it doesn’t matter as I managed to get some good rest earlier on. We are getting close to the finish and are in good shape on board. For the first part of the race we were operating very much as a duo, but now we’re able to operate single-handedly more and more which helps a lot with getting enough rest in order to be sharp and fresh to keep the speed up during the next watch.


'We are helming a lot and our hands are suffering for it, not quite bleeding yet, but not far off – we’ve been on this tack almost exclusively since Cape Finisterre. Right now we are doing 21 knots of boat speed downwind.

'There are still some challenges to come before Itajaii; we have to get through a small front with very little wind behind it, there will be a little from the north and a little from the south. It will be pretty tricky for both boats.

'In the meantime, I am going to get dry and sleep for 20minutes before heading back up on deck and attacking for three hours! Over and Out.'

The duo on board Oman Air-Musandam has the pedal to the floor and the 11th edition of the Transat Jacques Vabre promises a match race to the end.

The current ETA is conflicting, but the earliest the MOD70s are expected in Itajaii, Brasil, is Monday afternoon. More from Damian and Sidney then.

Related Articles

Sailing in the Olympics beyond 2016 - A double Olympic medalist's view
Bruce Kendall takes a look at what he believes Sailing needs to do to survive beyond the 2016 Olympics. Gold and Bronze medalist and multiple world boardsailing/windsurfer champion, Bruce Kendall takes a look at what he believes Sailing needs to do to survive beyond the 2016 Olympics. A key driver is the signalled intention by the International Olympic Committee to select a basket of events that will be contested.
Posted on 29 Apr
From Olympic flag to Olympic Gold and maybe another
The Sydney Olympics was a Sailing double 470 Gold event for Australia. Having won the 420 World Championship in 2000, the feeder class to the 470, while still at school in Australia young Matt Belcher was given the honour of carrying the Olympic flag during the closing ceremony of the Sydney 2000 Olympics.
Posted on 28 Apr
The Road to Rio now 99 days short
The Road to Rio 2016 still has a few curves, bumps and potholes for teams battling to win. The Road to Rio 2016 still has a few curves, bumps and potholes for teams battling to win in Hyeres, at some World championship events and Weymouth World Cup but for many crews: 'It's 106 miles to Chicago we got a full tank of gas, half a pack of cigarettes, it's dark and we're wearing sunglasses.' Whoops wrong movie.
Posted on 28 Apr
Pantaenius – Smooth sailing is more than a favourable weather forecast
Pantaenius get ready to launch into their fourth year operating in Australia As Pantaenius get ready to launch into their fourth year operating in Australia, we get to see why they continue to grow their happy crew of customers. Sitting down with Pantaenius Australia’s MD, Jamie MacPhail, you immediately get a sense that the smooth sailing is a direct result of both their unique product and the marketplace’s willingness to embrace the better mousetrap
Posted on 27 Apr
America's Cup - Oracle Racing win in Court but with collateral damage
Oracle Racing have had another claim against them by a former crew member dismissed. Oracle Racing have had another claim against them by a former crew member dismissed. Mitchell focussed largely on the circumstances of the matter and introduced into the public arena some interesting documents to support his claims.
Posted on 23 Apr
Thou doth protest too much, me thinks
And no, we’re not off to analyse Hamlet right away. There’ll be no surtitles popping up on the top of your screen And no, we’re not off to analyse Hamlet right away. There’ll be no surtitles popping up on the top of your screen about now. At any rate, it is simply an adaptation of Lady Gertrude’s original line. We merely seek to use it as a way to demonstrate that when there is a lot of brouhaha going on, the smoke screen ultimately ends up as a lovely, colourful flag as to the real intent behind it.
Posted on 18 Apr
Children of the Internet, Rio and Hong Kong
I have four daughters, the youngest, who in her mid 20's is a true child of the Internet. I have four daughters, the youngest, who in her mid 20's is a true child of the Internet. The kind of conversations I have with her run along these lines.... In the olden days we did not have television until I left school and they had a thing called print magazines, that reported events between two weeks and four months after they happened. And her sceptical response... Hoh! Daddy, Hoh!
Posted on 14 Apr
World Sailing Cup V3 - A Dead Rat in a Shoe or Spring Daffodils?
While a host of major sailing events go from strength to strength, the Sailing World Cup has very major issues. Last night my Irish better half was sitting beside me on the sofa watching an Australian version of the popular TV Cooking Program My Kitchen Rules on a tablet with her headphones while I was watching Diehard II for the seventeenth time (it’s a boy thing) on TV. She suddenly spluttered and laughed, took off her headphones and motioned for me to mute Diehard. (Seriously!!)
Posted on 9 Apr
Volvo Ocean Race appoints stadium racing pioneer as new CEO
Sail-World forecast the appointment of Mark Turner as Volvo Ocean Race CEO a month ago. We profiled Turner at that time. Sail-World forecast the appointment of Mark Turner as Volvo Ocean Race CEO a month ago. We profiled Turner at that time. Today his appointment has been confirmed.
Posted on 31 Mar
Large spectator fleet heading north for boat watching season
I’m absolutely not going to lay claim to the phrase, but it is insanely apt and hilarious all at the same time, however. I’m absolutely not going to lay claim to the phrase. It is insanely apt and hilarious, all at the same time, however. Well then, boat watching season is definitely upon us once more. The whales will soon be gathering again off the coast of Queensland to observe all manner of racing and cruising craft as they head North for a Winter in the sun.
Posted on 29 Mar
Guy Nowell - Red 660Southern Spars - 100T Clewring J-class