Please select your home edition
Edition
Wildwind 2016 728x90

Transat Jacques Vabre - British duo ready for action

by Soazig Guého on 29 Oct 2013
Strong wing in the Transat Jacques Vabre village in the Vatine Marina in Le Havre (North France) on October 28, 2013 © Jean-Marie Liot / DPPI / TJV http://www.transat-jacques-vabre.com/
Young British duo Sam Goodchild and Ned Collier Wakefield are expected in Le Havre for the Transat Jacques Vabre this Tuesday following a tough battle to have their new, recently launched Jason Ker designed Class 40 fully optimised in time for the start of the race.

They may have been pressed for time, but have left absolutely nothing to chance. After being cruelly forced to retire from the last Transat Jacques Vabre just after they had taken the Class 40 lead, overhauling Aquarelle.com, and battling through the last big storm of the race, they discovered some delamination in the front sections of their boat and had to abandon and head to the Azores. But they report that they are in good shape, ready to make the short hop from Hamble to Le Havre.

'We are waiting for the wind to die to get going, we still have 40kts but it is dropping fairly quickly and we should get going fairly soon. We have been watching the weather very closely', Co-skipper Ned Collier Wakefield reported this morning.

To make sure nothing untoward happened on their final night in their home marina at Hamble Yacht Services before leaving for Le Havre, Collier-Wakefield decided to sleep on their boat through the storm force winds.

'I got a little sleep. I was more worried something would come crashing into us during the night. Actually I probably got better sleep than I would at sea! Otherwise we are getting there and will be ready to go shortly.'

'Race Direction have been very understanding. To be honest we just ran out of time. We had to get new spreaders made in Cape Town at the last minute. There has been some work to do with the rig and rudders. Andy Meiklejohn has been great in helping us set up the rig. We have had a few problems with the kick up rudders but have a good solution now. They have had a good test now and we are confident.'

Concise 8 has had ten days of trialling at sea including a tough sail down to Ushant and back from Hamble.

'We are incredibly impressed with the boat. We brought her back upwind in big seas and did some proper slamming. The performance is especially good reaching, I am sure we have one of the quickest boats when the wind is between 95-130 degrees especially. And we have had some great sailing under the big kites.'

The new Concise has a much more inboard chainplate position, which allows them to set big upwind Code Zero sails, especially potent for pushing through light wind transition zones, like in the Doldrums.

'The boat has the Transat Jacques Vabre and Route du Rhum as two key events. We looked at a lot of historical weather data for the races and developed a potent hull form. The rig is a little heavier for this set up, but we did a lot of work with the sail and rig development, with Chris Williams and Scott Ferguson and so it feels like we have a proper closed loop, grand prix set up.'

Collier-Wakefield is confident he knows their new boat better than any of his rivals, having been in the yard in China throughout the build.

'Yes we have not had the time we might have wanted on the water but we have had great guys involved all the way through.'

And while the young English duo are on the ascent as professional sailors, looking to make their mark at the front of the fleet, so Class 40 of the Transat Jacques Vabre is also where many of the most committed and talented amateur sailors will compete, living their dreams. Some of them have limited expectations of winning, looking to get to Brazil safely and to sail to the best of their ability. Budgets and racing experience may be correspondingly less than their professional rivals but these amateurs are no less enthusiastic.

There are osteopaths, project managers, emergency doctor, company directors but now they are taking time out from their wage paying careers to take on the adventure of the Transat Jacques Vabre.

'It is really not easy to find time to prepare. I delivered the boat from Marie Galante with a friend who could barely sail. Let’s say it was a real baptism of fire!' recalls Dominique Rivard (Marie Galante ). Australians Michelle Zwagerman and Pat Conway on the Class 40 are also living their dream.

'It started last year in April. We bought the boat and have done it all ourselves. For us, it is a huge challenge.'

Christoph Petter (co-skipper on Vaquita), is an Austrian entrepreneur who set sail on his adventures five years ago and enjoys offshore races, but the Transat Jacques Vabre will be his first big one.

'We feel both excitement and fear', says Michelle Zwagerman. 'We'll have to control our anxiety during gales, but most of the time, it will be fantastic. Dolphins, the moon, the stars, I am looking forwards to some great moments.'

And even making it to the start of Transat Jacques Vabre requires great perseverance and tenacity.

Damien Rousseau explains: 'I started without money but wanted to realise a childhood dream. I took the big chance and plunged into debt. I thought it was no worse than buying a nice car but I finally also found myself a sponsor who has helped me do it a bit more comfortably.'

Rousseau has been able to race in various events in preparation including a good ninth place in Les Sables-Horta-Les Sables. But, in contrast, without a sponsor Dominique Rivard has had to draw on his own money: 'I took a bank loan to buy a boat at EUR 250,000. Everything is very expensive, I have put another EUR 80,000 euros in the pot since, and I have worked 70 hours a week.'

All of these sailors are on a break from their daily lives and careers: some see it as big step towards new adventures, others a unique one off experience, like Pat Conway: 'Our boat is already for sale and once we have completed the Transat Jacques Vabre we return a normal life in Australia.'

Closed since 2000hrs Sunday night due to the storm force winds the village of the Transat Jacques Vabre will reopen tomorrow (Tuesday) morning at 1000hrs.

All of the technical teams have remained on high alert around the village of the Transat Jacques Vabre. Buses and lorries were parked along the perimeter to protect the tents around Paul Vatine dock.

Wildwind 2016 660x82Mackay BoatsZhik Dinghy 660x82

Related Articles

RORC Transatlantic Race – Day 9 – Grenadian welcome for Maserati
Maserati crossed the finish line on Saturday, completing their first ocean race in seven days, eight hours, 44m, 23s The Italian MOD70, Maserati has finished the race; Phaedo3 has been declared the winner of the Multihull Trophy and Mike Slade's Maxi, Leopard is on the hunt for the monohull record.
Posted today at 12:39 pm
18ft Skiffs Yandoo Trophy – Ward, Marshall and West win first race
Young team had to withstand huge pressure from the fleet’s top crews before crossing the finish line with 40s to spare. Following last week’s brilliant performance with a brand new number one rig, Appliancesonline.com.au (David Witt, Tom Anderson, Tom Clout) again showed the skiff to be a major threat in the upcoming championships with a great second placing.
Posted today at 10:24 am
Vendee Globe – Kojiro Shiraishi on Spirit of Yukoh forced to retire
At 0240 UTC on Sunday, Kojiro, Skipper of Spirit of Yukoh contacted his shore team to tell them that he had dismasted. At 0240 UTC on Sunday December 4th, Kojiro Shiraishi, Skipper of Spirit of Yukoh contacted his shore team to tell them that he had dismasted. The boat Spirit of Yukoh was sailing in a moderate breeze (20 knots). Kojiro inside of the boat heard the sound of the mast breaking at around 0230 UTC.
Posted today at 10:11 am
Melges 24 World Championship –Day 5– Embarr and Taki crowned champions
The crew has shown an extreme solidity and constancy, fascinating everybody for its asset and conduction of the boat The crew has shown an extreme solidity and constancy all through the races, fascinating everybody for its asset and conduction of the boat in the downwind legs, that allowed them to take out amazing recoveries also when the starts hadn't been so good. Important it is to have a closely knit crew to succeed in events of such an importance
Posted today at 9:42 am
Meet the 2017-18 crew - Mike Kidwell
It’s nine months before the start of the race so I suppose it’s not dissimilar to waiting for a baby – both can be wet “It’s nine months before the start of the race so I suppose it’s not dissimilar to waiting for a baby – both can be wet, cold and miserable, but equally fun, warm and enjoyable!” says Mike Kidwell, a 63-year-old Business Developer from Queensland who is taking part in the full circumnavigation in the 2017-18 edition of the race.
Posted today at 7:39 am
Vendee Globe - Spirit of Yukoh has dismasted
Kojiro Shiraishi informed everyone at 0230 UTC today (Sunday) that his mast had broken above attachment for small jib. Kojiro Shiraishi informed everyone at 0230 UTC today (Sunday) that his mast had broken above the attachment for the small jib. The Japanese sailor is not in danger and is busy trying to set up a jury rig. Kojiro is fine and in contact with his shore team to judge the extent of the damage and to determine whether it is possible to continue the race. He is safely heading for Cape Town.
Posted today at 5:49 am
Chinese Whisper wins Bird Island Race for a second year
A year ago Rupert Henry’s Chinese Whisper and Matt Allen’s Ichi Ban finished top two respectively in Bird Island Race A year ago Rupert Henry’s Chinese Whisper and Matt Allen’s Ichi Ban finished top two respectively in the 85 nautical mile Bird Island Race – and the two have mirrored that result this weekend, cementing their places among favourites for the 2016 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race.
Posted today at 3:50 am
The Bridge – The Queen Mary – Essence of historical transatlantic race
The Bridge has invited the Queen Mary 2 to take part in an ocean challenge in a race against a fleet of giant trimarans On 2nd December, the press conference for the official launch of The Bridge was held in the prestigious setting of the Salle Turenne at the Hôtel des Invalides. The Bridge, a unique, festive, maritime, cultural and popular event, will take place from June 15th until the beginning of July 2017, in Nantes, Saint-Nazaire and New York.
Posted on 3 Dec
Tour de France à la voile to celebrate its 40th edition in 2017
Eight classes have served on the TFV since 1978, always based on the same principle : one-design. French sailing legends like Eric Tabarly, Michel Desjoyeaux, Jean-Pierre Dick, and more recently Franck Cammas, François Gabart, Armel Le Cléac’h and Loïck Peyron have all played a role in the history of this race, that became one of the biggest summer sporting events.
Posted on 3 Dec
RORC Transatlantic Race – Maserati Multi70 now 142 miles from Grenada
Phaedo3 sailed past the final waypoint at Grenada last night at 01.49 GMT to take multihull (MOCRA) line honours Phaedo3 sailed past the final waypoint at Grenada last night at 01.49 GMT (21.49 local time, 02.49 in Italy) to take multihull (MOCRA) line honours
Posted on 3 Dec