Please select your home edition
Edition
Zhik ZKG

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.

Zhik Warehouse Sale 660x82Bakewell-White Yacht DesignNorth Technology - Southern Spars

Related Articles

Full focus on board Oman Air for Extreme Sailing Series St Petersburg
With a lead on the overall scoreboard following their last gasp win in Hamburg the pressure is on to maintain 100% focus With a five-point lead on the overall scoreboard, following their last gasp win in Hamburg, the pressure is on to maintain 100% focus to make sure they perform to their maximum capabilities right up until the final race in Sydney in December.
Posted today at 12:49 pm
Zhik sailors win 17 sailing medals at 2016 Olympic Regatta
The 2016 Olympic games are over and what a Games they have been - Zhik sailors dominated Zhik sailors won almost 60% of the medals contested at Rio de Janeiro. It was a regatta which tested sailors and gear - with one day being the most severe conditions ever experienced at an Olympic regatta. For the Zhik team riders on the waters of Rio, four years and more of hard work and dedication have paid off for many.
Posted on 29 Aug
Impressive line-up of 121 yachts preparing to grace the Rolex Swan Cup
The fleet will be divided into six classes and contest five days of racing in most challenging sailing environments. Memorable because 2016 marks the 50th anniversary of the launch of the very first Swan yacht; an opportune moment to celebrate both the heritage and the continued evolution of one of the leading - and most distinctive - marques in the sailing world.
Posted on 29 Aug
Volvo Ocean Race - Enright and Towill ready to go again in 2017/18
Team Alvimedica skipper Charlie Enright and his long-time buddy Mark Towill are eager to put their experience to use. Team Alvimedica were the youngest team in the race last edition, and now skipper Charlie Enright and his long-time buddy Mark Towill are eager to put that experience to use. Volvo Ocean race's Jonno Turner caught up with Mark and Charlie to chat about everything from the transition back into 'real life', their reflections on the 2014-15 campaign - and the future.
Posted on 29 Aug
The door’s been flung open – again
Now whether it was the Champagne or something far more ethereal, there is the chance that sailing gets sexier for Tokyo Now whether it was the Champagne or something far more ethereal, there is the chance that sailing may get sexier for Tokyo 2020. Yes, the proverbial door has been cast ajar before, often to much fanfare, and not that much has been achieved.
Posted on 28 Aug
Michael Illbruck crowned 2016 Melges 20 World Champion
Although not a simple task, Freides aimed to keep Illbruck behind him, or at minimum out of top nine ranking. Hosted by Marina di Scarlino/Club Nautico Scarlino, the World Championship was the most successful to date featuring four days of incredible sportboat racing.
Posted on 28 Aug
Freides defends leadership at Melges 20 World Championship
The one and only race that was able to take place at the 2016 Melges 20 World Championship was a difficult one at best 2016 Melges 20 World Championship - The one and only race that was able to take place at the 2016 Melges 20 World Championship hosted by Marina di Scarlino/Club Nautico Scarlino was a difficult one at best, however managed to present some nice new faces at the front of the fleet.
Posted on 28 Aug
Clipper Round the World Yacht Race - Crew catch up - Meet Dhruv Boruah
After crew members have completed their global ocean adventure, some go back to their previous lives and occupations After crew members have completed their global ocean adventure, some go back to their previous lives and occupations, some decide on a future in the marine industry, some take time out to assess their next move in life and others seek their next challenge.
Posted on 27 Aug
Changing of the Guard at Melges 20 Worlds, Freides takes over
The second day of racing at the 2016 Melges 20 World Championship featured two races under shifty conditions 2016 Melges 20 World Championship - The second day of racing at the 2016 Melges 20 World Championship hosted by Marina di Scarlino/Club Nautico Scarlino featured two races under shifty conditions, shaking up the standings and making Drew Freides' Pacific Yankee the new leader with a one point advantage over Michael Illbruck on Pinta now seated in second place.
Posted on 27 Aug
Young sailors praised for huge achievement at ASTO Small Ships Race
21 teams taking part paraded through Gosport after being welcomed to the coastal town by Gosport Mayor Cllr Lynn Hook. The 21 teams taking part paraded through Gosport after being welcomed to the coastal town by Gosport Mayor Cllr Lynn Hook, who told the crews it was a “huge achievement” to sail overnight from Dartmouth to Gosport.
Posted on 26 Aug