These are heady days for fans of offshore sailing, given that the Mini Transat and the Transat Jacques Vabre (TJV) are both experiencing trying conditions as they battle across the Atlantic Ocean. For the singlehanded skippers competing in the Mini Transat, the tedious month of seemingly endless delays has now been usurped by the hard reality of the 'Portuguese trade winds', while the double-handed teams competing in the TJV have been dealing with weather, attrition and the Doldrums.
PRB - 2013 Transat Jacques Vabre
'We got a rip nearly the whole length of the mainsail from luff to leach quite high up so we are having fun today repairing that,' reported Brian Thompson, from the Class 40 'Caterham Challenge'. 'So we are a little slower.'
'The race has been fantastic,' continued Thompson. 'The level of the fleet is brilliant. We have been back and forth but always trying to be with this front group. One day we had flat calm off Finisterre and in the afternoon we had 35 knots of wind. We have upwind and then a couple of days of fantastic downwind conditions.'
Brian Thompson, Josh Hall and Mike Gascoyne - Caterham Challenge and the Global Ocean Race 2014-15
According to reports at the time of this writing, the MOD70s are now clear of the Doldrums, while the IMOCA 60s are approaching this critical section of the course, and the Class 40s still have some miles to sail before negotiating this often-windless void.
Meanwhile, in the Mini Transat, skippers are now off at sea, but instead of the forecasted 25 knots, the fleet has been tackling gale-force conditions. While this is serious sailing in any boat, the stakes are obviously higher when your stem-to-stern measurement is only 21 feet.
Mini Transat 2013
According to reports, some sailors have suffered broken equipment, rudders and rigs, while others have opted to retire. Still others are using the fresh conditions to press hard.
Inside, get the full download from both of these offshore races, and be sure to stay tuned to the website for more news, as it unfurls.
And in America’s Cup news, word has hit the street that Tom Slingsby (AUS), Strategist for Oracle Team USA during the 34th America’s Cup, has signed on again with the Defender for AC35. This casts some interesting questions on Slingsby’s Olympic career (N.B., Slingsby won the Gold in the Men’s Laser at the London 2012 Olympics), as well as some queries about how serious the Australian-flagged Challenger of Record is, not to mention some possible insight into a nationality clause for AC35’s Protocol (N.B., Slingsby carries both U.S. and Australian passports).
Oracle Team USA: Tom Slingsby Race 17
‘To do the Olympics you have to have an amazing amount of drive,' said Slingsby. 'You have to be up in the morning at 6 AM. You have to be cycling, in the gym. You have to be out sailing when it is freezing cold and zero degrees and doing that extra step compared to anyone to win that gold.'
‘Right now I want to do another America’s Cup,' said Slingsby. 'I want to have fun, sail with really good people and be part of a team that can win the Cup and for me that is the most important thing.'
Get the full scoop, including an interesting piece that Sail-World’s New Zealand editor, Richard Gladwell , penned on what this news could foreshadow for AC35, inside this issue.
Somewhere in the Southern Ocean during Race 4 of the 2013-14 Clipper Round the World Yacht Race
Also inside, get the latest news from the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race, as well as the preview reports from the Laser Worlds (November 17-23) and the ISAF Sailing World Cup Melbourne (December 1-8). Enjoy!
May the four winds blow you safely home,