Please select your home edition
Edition
Bakewell-White Yacht Design

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.
Zhik ZKG 660x82Southern Spars - 100Wildwind 2016 660x82

Related Articles

World Sailing News - February 2017 and December 2016
Catch the latest World Sailing month video magazine - February 2017 edition Catch the latest World Sailing month video magazine - February 2017 edition is just out featuring a wrap-up of the main sailing events of the December-January period including Thomas Coville’s new world record; the 2016 AON Youth Worlds; Rolex Sydney Hobart, Vendee Globe updates and a spectacular 49er crash while training in 27kts plus and big seas.
Posted today at 3:07 am
New record at Mount Gay Round Barbados Race
Andy Budgen sailing Mach 2 foiling Intl Moth Nano Project completed 60nm Mount Gay Round Barbados Race at a record pace Andy Budgen sailing his Mach 2 foiling International Moth Nano Project completed the 60nm Mount Gay Round Barbados Race at a record pace of 4 hours, 23 minutes, 18 seconds, to established the Absolute Foiling Monohull record. He also broke his own personal record time from a few years ago when he sailed his VO70 Monster Project into the record books for the Absolute Monohull Record.
Posted on 22 Jan
Jules Verne Trophy - Long live the trade winds
The maxi-trimaran IDEC Sport should start to feel the effect of a NE’ly wind in the next few hours. Slowed down for the past 36 hours around the Equator in a large area of calms associated with the Doldrums, the maxi-trimaran IDEC Sport should start to feel the effect of a NE’ly wind in the next few hours.
Posted on 21 Jan
Countdown to Mount Gay Round Barbados Race
Following on from Coastal Series over last three days, competitors are enjoying rest in preparation for big race. Following on from the hugely successful Coastal Series over the last three days, competitors at the Mount Gay Round Barbados Regatta, organised by Barbados Cruising Club in association with Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc, and Mount Gay, are enjoying a well-earned rest in preparation for tomorrow’s big race.
Posted on 21 Jan
Mount Gay Round Barbados Series - Another glorious day on racecourse
The final day of the Coastal Series at the 81st Mount Gay Round Barbados Regatta concluded in spectacular style today The final day of the Coastal Series at the 81st Mount Gay Round Barbados Regatta, organised by Barbados Cruising Club in association with Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc, and Mount Gay, concluded in spectacular style today with sunshine, a good working breeze up to 17-18kts, and a relatively flat sea.
Posted on 20 Jan
Jules Verne Trophy - Final hours in the South Atlantic
IDEC Sport Maxi trimaran will soon be leaving South Atlantic. Francis Joyon should be sailing into Northern Hemisphere The IDEC Sport Maxi trimaran will soon be leaving the South Atlantic. Francis Joyon and his crew of five should be sailing into the Northern Hemisphere early this evening.
Posted on 20 Jan
Jules Verne Trophy - The charm of the tropics
IDEC Sport is less than 1000 miles from entering the Northern Hemisphere. IDEC Sport is less than 1000 miles from entering the Northern Hemisphere. At 17°S this morning, the big red and grey trimaran is climbing back up the Atlantic pushed along by the Brazilian trade winds, which are allowing Francis Joyon and his men to keep up an average of 25 knots as they continue in their attempt to grab the Jules Verne Trophy.
Posted on 19 Jan
Mount Gay Round Barbados Series - Spectacular competition on Day 2
The second day of the Mount Gay Round Barbados Coastal Series produced spectacular competition once again. The second day of the Mount Gay Round Barbados Coastal Series organised by Barbados Cruising Club in association with Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc, and Mount Gay, produced spectacular competition once again. Although it was an unusually damp day with rain squalls passing through for most of the race, the wind built under the clouds to 15-16kts
Posted on 19 Jan
Jules Verne Trophy – IDEC Sport heads due north
IDEC SPORT is heading due north at speeds varying between 25-30 knots, as they make their way towards the Equator Fine weather and calm seas off the coast of Brazil. After picking up the trade winds last night, on the 33rd day of racing against the clock, IDEC SPORT is heading due north at speeds varying between 25-30 knots, as they make their way towards the Equator, which they are expecting to cross in three or four days.
Posted on 17 Jan
Jules Verne Trophy - From peaceful calms to pleasant trade winds
After 24 hours in frustrating calms IDEC Sport is now being pushed along by the trade winds. After 24 hours in frustrating calms, which nevertheless afforded them the opportunity to recharge their batteries, sailing 800 miles off the coast of Brazil approaching the latitude of Rio de Janeiro, IDEC Sport is now being pushed along by the trade winds.
Posted on 17 Jan