Please select your home edition
Edition
SailX 728x90

Transat Jacques Vabre race - Breaking Away and Breaking Back

by Transat Jacques Vabre on 10 Nov 2013
Michel Desjoyeaux and François Gabart on MACIF Transat Jacques Vabre
Taking an option to get through a front in the early hours of this morning seems to have given the Vendée Globe winning duo Michel Desjoyeaux and François Gabart on MACIF the chance to extend their lead in the IMOCA Open 60 fleet on the Transat Jacques Vabre during the third afternoon of racing, since leaving Le Havre on Thursday.

Gabart and Desjoyeaux, widely held to be pre race favourites, were quickest through much of a difficult Friday night and Saturday to build their margin out to 52 miles. And on the 1000hrs UTC position report this morning MACIF was sailing more directly towards the south with a noticeable speed edge over second placed PRB (Vincent Riou and Jean Le Cam) with Cheminées Poujoulat (Bernard Stamm and Philippe Legros) holding third at just less than four miles behind.

While the MOD70 duo are entering much more favourable conditions, having tacked around Cape Finisterre this morning, relishing the prospect of getting south into the NE’ly Portuguese trade winds to reach at speeds more normal for the high speed 70 foot multihulls, it was the Multi 50s and the IMOCAs which will bear the brunt of the Biscay gale and big seas. But while the MOD70’s escaped the worst of it, Oman Air-Musandam’s skipper Sidney Gavignet still reported that the combination of confused sea conditions and gusty, squally winds added up to some of the worst conditions that he had yet encountered with Oman Air-Musandam.

'The night was really hard; there was a huge seaway so we tried to protect ourselves by hugging the coastline, finally reducing sail to the third reef and the code three jib (the small headsail). The boat was literally taking off and we were not going very fast.' Gavignet said,

'It is very hard to get any sleep; being so close to the coast, the one that is not helming is navigating. We have hardly slept at all. We are tired, but as soon as we get past the Cape, things will improve quite quickly. We will be doing a straight line south and we will be able to get some rest. Our immediate goal is to win back the eight nautical miles that we lost to Edmond de Rothschild overnight. At the moment, we can’t see them; they must be about 10nms ahead of us.'

The poor conditions will last until Sunday for the Multi50s and IMOCA Open 60s as this deep low pressure which has emanated from Newfoundland and is tracking quickly makes life very testing for the Multi50s especially. This is exacerbated by the wind shifts between SW and W with more than 30kts average and much more in the gusts, the crossed seas make it very bouncy and unpleasant for the multihulls.
In the Multi 50 Class it is still Actual (Yves Le Blevec and Kito de Pavant) which holds the overall lead but Maitre Jacques (Loic Fequet and Loic Escoffier) have worked up to second place, some nine miles behind the leaders who won the class in 2011. Key for the Multi 50’s has been their trajectory and timing to deal with the front at the most favourable point, avoiding the worst of the winds and seas.

Roscoff Restart
After their enforced weather halt in Roscoff last night and today the 26 boat Class 40 fleet will restart from 0300hrs early tomorrow morning. Starting in the order of finishing into the Breton haven, GDF SUEZ (Sébastien Rogues and Fabien Delahaye) start just under 20 minutes ahead of the Spanish pair Alex Pella and Pablo Santurde on Tales Santander 2014. They will head into strong NW’ly winds initially with over 30-35kts to start with.
' Across Biscay we will be mostly upwind on starboard in about 20kts of wind but at the start and out to Ushant it looks like it will be windy with big seas, 30+ knots for sure then it will begin to drop away.' Brian Thompson, skipper of Caterham Challenge explained in Roscoff today, ' To start with we will have winds north of NW and so we should be reasonably fast and able to punch through. The race is to get out through the front which is kind of stalled at the moment. The longer it takes you to get through it the lighter the winds will be to the east of it, and so there is a rich get richer scenario, or a bit a of a double whammy for the later starters if you like.'

They said:
Mike Gascoyne, co-skipper Caterham Challenge:
'We were reasonsably happy with the first leg but got some fishing net, perspex and weed around the keel which Brian had to dive to get it off about two hours before we got into Roscoff, so we kind of reckon that cost us two or three boats, but whatever we were happy with the way we sailed the boat. For most of the time we were with the fast pack, so we were happy. It’s just a shame the first leg was not about 5200 miles longer.'

Brian Thompson, skipper, Caterham Challenge:
'Across Biscay we will be mostly upwind on starboard in about 20kts of wind but at the start and out to Ushant it looks like it will be windy with big seas, 30+ knots for sure then it will begin to drop away. To start with we will have winds north of NW and so we should be reasonably fast and able to punch through. The race is to get out through the front which is kind of stalled at the moment. The longer it takes you to get through it the lighter the winds will be to the east of it, and so there is a rich get richer scenario, or a bit a of a double whammy for the later starters if you like.We have about six boats all starting within around 15 minutes of us and in all I think we will be in a ten boat pack or something like that, so it is great, really close racing, we are back in full sprint mode.'

Loïc Fequet , co- skipper of the Multi 50 Master Jacques:
'Through the night we had 25-30kts of wind and some big gusts of over 40kts. The wind has calmed down a little but the seas are very big. We are pleased to get back up to second because we were not happy with the start of our race. The option of our router Jean Yves Bernot to send us to the west was good. We tried to just keep the boat moving at a steady speed through the night. We decided to alter course a bit away from the direct course to Cape Finisterre to avoid the worst of the seas which were on that route. We work on a daily basis with our router. He tells us which way to go and what is happening next.'

Charles Caudrelier , co- skipper of the MOD70 Edmond de Rothschild:
'The conditions were difficult with big seas in the Bay of Biscay. We were making 22 knots average but when there is less sea we’d have been doing 30 knots. It's hard for us and the boat. During the night we tacked around Cape Finisterre it really was a painful night. But we best not complain because it must be tough for those behind. There is now 25-30 knots on starboard tack and the seas are better and so we will reach more normal MOD70 speeds... And in 24 hours we will be in the trade winds, we are leaving the French winter we will have good weather conditions soon. We have had a good fight with Oman Air – Musandam. Until now we have mainly looked after ourselves, you have to be very careful not to take a stupid tumble in these conditions.
Southern Spars - 100Bakewell-White Yacht DesignT Clewring Cruising

Related Articles

Rio 2016 - The Qualification Games - Part 2
Yachting NZ's refusal to nominate in three classes won in the first round of 2016 Olympic Qualification is unprecedented Yachting New Zealand's refusal to nominate in three classes won in the first round of 2016 Olympic Qualification is without precedent. Subject to Appeal, the Kiwis have signaled that they will reject 30% of the positions gained in the ISAF World Sailing Championships in Santander in 2014.
Posted on 22 May
Gladwell's Line - World Sailing changes tack after IOC windshift
Over the past year, we've given the International Sailing Federation (now re-badged as World Sailing) a bit of stick Over the past year, we've given the International Sailing Federation (now re-badged as World Sailing) a bit of stick. Every blow well earned over issues such as the pollution at Rio, the Israeli exclusion abomination plus a few more. But now World Sailing is getting it right.
Posted on 21 May
Rio 2016 - The Qualification Games - Part 1
Antipodean selection shenanigans aside, the Qualification system for the Rio Olympics appears to be achieving its goals Antipodean selection shenanigans aside, the Qualification system for the Rio Olympics appears to be achieving goals set in the Olympic Commission report of 2010. Around 64 countries are expected to be represented in Rio de Janeiro in August. That is a slight increase on Qingdao and Weymouth, but more importantly a full regional qualification system is now in place
Posted on 19 May
Taming the beast-a conversation with Stuart Meurer of Parker Hannifin
While AC72 cats were fast, they difficult to control, so Oracle partnered with Parker Hannifin to innovate a better way. If you watched videos of the AC72s racing in the 34th America’s Cup (2013), you’re familiar with the mind-boggling speeds that are possible when wingsail-powered catamarans switch from displacement sailing to foiling mode. While foiling is fast, there’s no disguising the platform’s inherent instability. Now, Oracle Team USA has teamed up with Parker Hannifin to innovate a better way.
Posted on 18 May
From foiling Moths to Olympic starting lines-a Q&A with Bora Gulari
Bora Gulari’s is representing the USA at the Rio 2016 Olympics in the Nacra 17 class, along with teammate Louisa Chafee. Bora Gulari (USA) has made a strong name for himself within high-performance sailing circles, with wins at the 2009 and 2013 Moth Worlds. In between, he broke the 30-knort barrier and was the 2009 US SAILING Rolex Yachtsman of the Year. His latest challenge is representing the USA at the Rio 2016 Olympics in the Nacra 17 class as skipper, along with his teammate Louisa Chafee.
Posted on 12 May
Concern for Zika at Rio Olympics is now deadly serious
Alphabet soup is one description that has thus far not been used for either Guanabara Bay, Alphabet soup is one description that has thus far not been used for either Guanabara Bay, or the Rio Olympics. Many others have, and they were apt, but things have changed. So here now we have a situation where one man, Associate Professor Amir Attaran, who does have a more than decent string of letters after his name, is bringing nearly as many facts to bear as references at the article's end
Posted on 12 May
The importance of being Alive
Since buying the stunningly pretty Reichel-Pugh canting keel 66-footer, and re-naming her Alive, Since buying the stunningly pretty Reichel-Pugh canting keel 66-footer, and re-naming her Alive, the team have lined up for a lot of things, won plenty and nabbed a record, as well. She’s presently in a yard in the Philippines having a minor refit in readiness for the Australian season. It will commence with the upcoming Brisbane to Keppel and then head sharply into this year’s Hobart.
Posted on 10 May
Zhik - The brand born of a notion, not its history
here is probably every reason that ocean rhymes with notion. Zhik’s tagline is officially marketed as Made For Water There is probably every reason that ocean rhymes with notion. Zhik’s tagline has been officially marketed as Made For Water, and this is precisely what the company has done for the last eight years before the succinct and apt strapline came from out of R&D and into mainstream visibility.
Posted on 8 May
Shape of next Volvo Ocean Race revealed at Southern Spars - Part 1
Southern Spars has been confirmed as the supplier of spars for the 2017-18 Volvo Ocean Race. In mid-April, Race Director, Jack Lloyd and Stopover Manager Richard Mason outlined the changes expected for the 40,000nm Race during a tour of Southern Spars 10,000sq metre specialist spar construction facility. A total of up to seven boats is expected to enter, but time is running out for the construction of any new boats.
Posted on 3 May
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