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Transat Jacques Vabre race - Beating Biscay

by Transat Jacques Vabre on 9 Nov 2013
IMOCA Bureau Valée Louis Burton Guillaume Transat Jacques Vabre
For the Transat Jacques Vabre fleet this morning the weather conditions are very different for the three classes racing. The MOD70 duo are approaching Cape Finisterre tacking in light airs while the Multi 50s and IMOCA Open 60’s are tacking in heavy weather. Meanwhile the Class40s are waiting patiently in Roscoff until the gale passes over the Bay of Biscay.

The 26 Class 40’s are well protected in the port of Bloscon, Roscoff where they arrived Friday afternoon and evening. GDF- Suez ( Rogues - Delahaye ) arrived first at 14:45hrs while EcoElec - Frantonic ( Darni Bernard) brought up the rear at 0:07hrs very early this morning. Race Direction will let the fleet know their start times from the Breton according to their arrival time.

It is windy in the Bay of Biscay for the Multi 50s and IMOCA Open 60s, the duos there seeing over 30 knots of SW’ly wind with bigger gusts to over 40kts and a very unruly, chaotic sea. With more pressing tasks few responded to the radio calls this morning.
Frontal passage

Midway across the Bay of Biscay between the Raz de Sein and Cape Finisterre Actual (Yves Le Blevec and Kito de Pavant) were still leading as they dealt with the height of the gale at 0600hrs this morning. The wind shift in the middle of the night to the SW forced the tris to tack for the passage of the front which last around three hours, harsh conditions with violent gusts and big seas. By noon it should be apparent if any have sustained technical problems.

For the IMOCA Open 60’s the conditions are no better, especially since the leaders Macif (Gabart - Desjoyeaux) is only 30 miles back from the leader of the Multi 50s. The pair of Vendée Globe winners had already crossed the front at 0500hrs this morning and therefore can see their lead extend over second placed PRB ( Riou- Le Cam ) and Safran ( Guillemot Bidégorry ) which were still fighting the harsh conditions.

And off the NW tip of Spain the winds are lighter from the SW, at just 10kts, requiring the MOD70s to tack in the bay of La Coruna. Both should pass Cape Finisterre mid morning today Saturday. Edmond de Rothschild (Josse- Caudrelier) sailing just ahead of Oman Air Musandam (Gavignet - Foxall) .

In fact, the weather situation is expected to improve for all boats as and when they approach Cape Finisterre, but in the Bay of Biscay itself there is another 24 hours before the 30kts winds start to ease

Bureau Vallée - Guillaume Le Brec
'It’s not going too badly. We had a good day and then a night which is a bot more complicated with unstable conditions and a lot of wind in the gusts. But we are sailing towards Cape Finisterre. We tacked recently when we got the front and now are on starboard making towards the Cape. We had 25kts from the W the seas were OK and we took the option to tack earlier than the routing said otherwise we would have tacked twice in 35kts or more and so we are happy to have got west. We made the two tacks in 25kts so that was easier, now we want to drive south for the sun which we have really yet to see.'

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