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Transat Jacques Vabre- Oman Air-Musandam gains overnight on rival

by Oman Sail on 15 Nov 2013
La Route des Princes. Valencia. Spain. 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©
At the Transat Jacques Vabre, positioning Oman Air-Musandam to the east of rival Edmond de Rothschild paid off overnight with a gain putting them just 70nms behind the leader doing 25 to 30 knots of boat speed in 20 knots of south easterly trades. The advance was short lived however as Edmond de Rothschild reached more wind than Oman’s flagship campaign this morning.

'We gained overnight, but not enough before Gitana reached more breeze ahead of us and we haven’t been able to make any more ground on them since then,' said co skipper Damian Foxall (IRL), this morning. 'But the race is far from over yet – we still have a number of challenges before the finish with the approach to Rio de Janeiro and Cape Frio to negotiate.'

Oman Air-Musandam router, Jean-Francois Cuzon (FRA) described some of the challenges ahead:

'The guys are in good shape, they know that there are more challenges to come and 70 miles on a multihull is nothing! There will be another phase in the race from Sunday when they get past Cape Frio and have to deal with the next weather system. We could very well see a reshuffling of the deck at this point – with only two hours between the boats, anything could happen. It will all depend on how the rivals decide to negotiate the next system,' he said.

Skipper Sidney Gavignet (FRA) and Foxall had a bumpy ride out of the doldrums yesterday with two big squalls and rough seas. 'Our passage out of the doldrums wasn’t at all what was in the brochure, instead of flat glassy conditions, we had 23 knot squalls. With the full main and J1 it was exciting sailing, but we were very glad to see the blue skyline of the equator ahead of us!' said Sidney.

'We are both in good shape and are working very well as a team; we don’t leave the other one alone, when we are off watch we sleep in the cuddy. Having said that, it is surprisingly straightforward to manage the boat alone doing 30knots!'

The two boats crossed the equator overnight with Oman Air-Musandam just a couple of hours behind and fighting hard to make up ground. At their current pace, the frontrunner and Oman Air-Musandam will reach Itajaii between the 19 and 20 November, just 12 days after leaving Le Havre!

Guy Nowell - Red 2014T Clewring J-class

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