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Southern Spars

Transat Jacques Vabre - Oman Air-Musandam changes to a faster mode

by Oman Sail on 11 Nov 2013
The Oman Air MOD70. Skippered by Sidney Gavignet (FRA) with team mates Thomas LeBreton (FRA), Fahad Al Hasni (OMA), Neal McDonald (GBR),Damian Foxall (IRL), Mohsin Al Busaidi (OMA), Ahmed Al Hassani (OMA) and Giles Favennec (FRA) Lloyd Images
At the front of the Transat Jacques Vabre fleet, the two MOD70s continue their match race as they pass Madeira and approach the Canary Islands on a southwesterly heading. The duo onboard Oman Air-Musandam are better rested and have changed the configuration of the boat to a faster mode.

Damian Foxall (IRL) answered the phone onboard Oman Air-Musandam this morning while French skipper Sidney Gavignet was up on deck in 30 knots doing 24 knots of boat speed.

'We changed the configuration on the boat in the last six hours and are in a slightly faster mode now,' said Damian.


The noise on the boat was testimony to this as we could hardly make out what he was saying: 'Our central rudder popped up and we had to do a little slow down to get it back in place, but that’s all good now although we lost a little bit to Gitana and will be fighting to get that back again.'

Oman Air-Musandam is currently lying 80 miles aft of Edmond de Rothschild, but is stepping out to the west: 'We are pretty happy with what we are doing. We are still in a very easterly wind, which is allowing us to get west, which is what we need to do.


'There is a small chance that we may get all the way to the Equator before we have to gybe again – that’s certainly what we are hoping for!'

After a tough start to the race with a violent exit from the English Channel and hair-raising dash across the Bay of Biscay in the roughest conditions ever experienced on this boat, the pair has managed to catch up on some sleep: 'We are both in good form and the boat is in good shape – no problems there.

'Off Finisterre we had to go up the rig to clear a halyard which cost us a few miles. A few things have added up to a few miles behind Gitana, but we’re in good shape and hope to make them back – there is a long way to go still!'


To the news overnight of the Multi 50 Arkema – Region Aquitaine capsize, Damian said: 'I am relieved to hear that Mayeul and Lalou are safe – I have been through a rescue myself, as has Sidney – and it is a challenging experience. I am glad to know they are safe and wish them luck with the next steps and the recovery.'

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