by Soazig Guého
In the Transat Jacques Vabre, Itajaí patiently awaits the next finishers which will be the Multi 50 Rennes Métropole/St Malo Agglomération they should be around 2130hrs or thereabouts this evening local time. Gilles Lamire and Cagliari, Sardinia’s Andrea Mura were making around 14kts this early afternoon.
Rennes Métropole/Saint-Malo Agglomération (Lamiré-Mura) - 2013 Transat Jacques Vabre
At the head of the Class 40 fleet GDF Suez is coming under gradual but sustained pressure from the Spanish duo on Tales Santander. Alex Pella and Pablo Santurde have a popular following at home in Spain both on the north coast, around Santander where ex 470 racer Santurde is from, where the boat is based and where the Botin design office is, and also of course in Catalonia, around Barcelona where Alex Pella lives.
Whilst this is Santurde’s first Transatlantic exploit, as well as being a circumnavigator on the last Barcelona World Race with Pepe Ribes, Pella was an extremely talented Mini 650 racer finishing third overall in the 2003 race and then second in 2005 when he won the second leg into Salvador de Bahia. And they have a fan base at Longitud Cero in Burriana where the boat, the second Tales, was built.
Santurde is 26, from Santander, and raced on Tales 1 with Pella and the owner of the boat, designer Marcelino’s brother Gonzalez. Of his choice of co-skipper, Pella said before the start: 'Pablo is a very good sailor. He knows how to and has a good feeling for sailing fast. And he was involved in the building of the boat and so he knows very well the onboard systems'
Transatlantic rookie Santurde said in Le Havre: 'I have heard many things about the different parts of the race and I have followed other races like this but this is my first time, so I am excited and a bit nervous about what we will find out there.'
Tales have been the quickest in the fleet this morning and have reduced their deficit to 86 miles behind GDF Suez, now the meat in a Mach 40 sandwich. The second Mach 40, Jorg Riechers and Pierre Brasseur’s Mare are 14 miles behind.
The leaders Sebastien Rogues and Fabien Delahaye have slowed slightly but have 923 miles to go getting into lighter and shiftier winds so this compression is inevitable. Should be in Saturday night.
But in saying that the fourth placed Watt and Sea are about 212 miles behind the leaders and they are now 21 miles ahead of fifth.
Brian Thompson and Mike Gascoyne are stopped into Recife with Caterham Challenge as of this morning. They reckoned on being eight or ten hours but need to be quick as there was a real posse of boats behind them, but what will be will be….certainly motivated.
Energa - 2013 Transat Jacques Vabre
In the IMOCA Open 60 fleet Bureau Valley (Burton- Le Brec) are still just ahead of VNAM but only by about 30 miles while around 80 miles further offshore the Polish duo on Energa remain a threat to both. And it remains an interesting reflection that the four top IMOCA Open 60s finished on the same day and the second phase, fifth to eighth are also predicted to finish on the same day, despite being a variety of different, older generation boats.
Bureau Valley and VNAM are in contact within thirty miles of each other. But even if Louis Burton and Guillaume Le Brec are well positioned to win in Itajai, they need to maintain a gap of more than two hours on Bertrand de Broc- Arnaud Boissières if they are to hold on to fifth place in the final rankings. Taking into account the two hours of redress the International Jury awarded VNAM for rerouting towards the capsized Multi 50 Arkema - Region Aquitaine then this duel is on a knife edge.
The Bay of Rio de Janeiro is in the throes of transition, the stormy fronts finally deported eastwardto leave Itajai back in summer sunshine and gentle breeze. During Tuesday afternoon there was just over fifteen knots, but tonight and tomorrow promises to be more complicated with a low pressure bubble forming off Sao Paolo.
Latest routings give an ETA for the two Multi- 50s Rennes -Saint Malo Agglomeration in this evening and Vers un monde sans SIDA (Nigon Villeneuve) and that keeps them ahead of the IMOCAs.
Bureau Vallée and VNAM will fight until around midday tomorrow ahead of the Polish IMOCA Energa (Gutkowski - Marczewski ) who are expected about four hours later. The then around sunrise Thursday Team Plastique (Di Benedetto-Monaco) and Initiatives Coeur (Lamotte- Damiens) who were separated by nine miles this afternoon.
Transat Jacques Vabre