Offshore racing news has been driven recently by the Transat Jacques Vabre, which has seen everything from leaderboard changes to capsizes to painful mechanical failures. As was reported last week, leading IMOCA 60 co-skippers Francois Gabart and Michel Desjoyeaux ('MACIF') were dismasted some 140 miles from Salvador de Bahia, Brazil, leaving this hyper-competitive class open to fresh tactical wars. Ultimately, Vincent Riou and Jean Le Cam took top IMOCA 60 honors, finishing the 5,450-mile race in 17 days, 41 minutes and 47 seconds at an average pace of 13.21 knots.
IMOCA PRB / Vincent Riou - Jean Le Cam sailing team aerial view in Ouessant (Brittany) on their way to join Le Havre (North France) prior to the start of the Transat Jacques Vabre on October 24, 2013
While the race obviously went well for Riou and Le Cam, the two faced their share of troubles, including being forced to stop in Madeira to replace a failed rudder fitting. 'We weren’t very often sailing at less than 15 knots,' said Riou. 'We pushed the boats hard from start to finish. We never had time to relax with the wind from astern. It was all out reaching all the time. When rudders fail like that, you have to wonder why.'
IMOCA 60' PRB - VINCENT RIOU / JEAN LE CAM - TRANSAT JACQUES VABRE 2013 - PORT LA FORET LE 10/09/2013
'This was my seventh race, so one (win) in seven,' reported Le Cam. 'My last one was with Yves (Le Blévec) on the Multi 50 'Actual', and we finished in Cherbourg [France]. Let’s say it is more enjoyable to arrive in Brazil!'
Get the full TJV report, inside this issue, and be sure to stay tuned to the website for the latest news as doublehanded teams continue to cross the finishing line.
Also in offshore news, the Mini Transat fleet has been experiencing trying conditions, ranging from squalls to unstable trade winds. The competition in the Prototype class has been especially tight, with just 5.2 nautical miles separating race leader Giancarlo Pedote, aboard 'Prysmian', and Benoit Marie, aboard 'benoitmarie.com'. Get the full scoop, inside.
The Laser World Championships 2013 - Standard. Mussanah Oman The final day of racing, Robert Scheidt (BRA) shown here in action and celebrating after winning the championships Oman.Credit: Lloyd Images.
And in One Design news, Robert Scheidt (BRA) has claimed his ninth Laser World Championship win, beating out Pavlos Kontides (CYP) and Philipp Buhl (GER) for top prize at a much-watched regatta that just concluded in Oman. 'This feels more special than any of the other Laser Worlds I have won,' said Scheidt. 'I am at a different stage of my life–being a dad and being away from Laser sailing all these years makes it more special.'
Scheidt spent the past nine years racing Stars but jumped back into the Laser for the 2016 Olympics, which will be sailed on his home waters of Rio de Janeiro. 'I didn’t know what to expect when I came back into the Lasers but winning the Worlds after a tough seven days means a lot,' said Scheidt, who is now 40. 'Rio is still a long way off and I shall have to see how my body holds up over the next few years but the next Olympic Games in Rio is definitely how I want to end my career.'
Oracle Team USA v Emirates Team New Zealand. America’s Cup Day 5 San Francisco. Oracle Team USA’s Tom Slingsby at the Race 8 Media Conference
And in America’s Cup news, Sail-World’s Rob Kothe recently caught up with Tom Slingsby, strategist for Oracle Team USA in the 34th America’s Cup, to get his pulse on AC34, as well as the state-of-play with AC35. Slingsby, it will be remembered, has already signed-on with Oracle Team USA for AC 35.
'I can tell you that I’m pretty ballsy and I love extreme sports and I’m not really scared of much, but I can tell you that you’re definitely on edge when you’re doing a bear-away in 23 plus knots and the boat is completely out of control,' said Slingsby. ‘You’re scared. Some of your best mate’s lives are in your hands right next to you.'
'Everyone says it’s only 23 knots, [that] J/24s sail up to 25 knots, but they’re not doing three times the wind speeds,' said Slingsby. 'They’re not sailing round at 45 knots downwind.'
Be sure to check out the full three-part Slingsby interview, inside this issue.
Competitors in action during day four of the IKA Kiteboard Race World Championship 2013 on November 23, 2013 at King Bay Qionghai, China.
Also inside, get the latest news from the Clipper Round the world Yacht Race, the Kiteboard Course Race World Championship and the RC44 Worlds.
May the four winds blow you safely home,