Please select your home edition
Edition
SailX 728x90

Transat B to B - Severe weather conditions expected

by Gamesa Sailing Team on 13 Dec 2011
Gamesa Sailing Team - Transat B to B 2011 Gamesa Sailing Team
Transat B to B solo race from St Barthélemy to Lorient in Brittany is now in its second week. Early this afternoon Gamesa skipper, Mike Golding, and his seven rivals settled in to deal with a big winter storm which is set to pass through the north Atlantic.

With severe gale force winds expected and huge seas, the French race organisers have signalled a change of course, bringing in an obligatory gate off the latitude of Cape Finisterre on the North East corner of Spain, to keep the fleet south of the worst of the storm. This will add an estimated 115 miles to the course for Golding. The decision was taken after consultation with all the skippers who reached an agreement that the prudent course was preferable, given that all of them have the same schedule in preparing for next year’s Vendée Globe start.

The limited strategic options inherent in this transatlantic course means so far it has been mainly a boat speed test and a chance for the skippers to build trust in themselves and their boats in this phase of testing and trialling, looking to build the ultimate reliability in their IMOCA 60s.

With the 4,330 miles Transat Jacques Vabre two-handed race completed to Costa Rica and now nearly half of this return solo race under his belt, Golding has been in good spirits, but admitted that the choice to change the course and add miles to the route, was a temporary blow to his morale.

Golding may today have had to deal with a few extra miles added to the course distance, but he is generally pleased with the way the race has gone so far, and the performance of Gamesa which was substantially updated and only relaunched in mid September.

'So far, I think the race has gone well. It has been frustrating as we have spent so much time sailing north and not on an obvious course home. We have had to do that as there was no wind in the middle of the Atlantic. Now when we finally have turned east, the weather building up behind is severe.

'While I 100% agree with the decision, I find it frustrating. My reaction this morning was to drop the bows and get some sleep. It is no-one's fault, it is the right thing to do, but it is frustrating.

'Otherwise, I think everything about the boat now is very positive. in the 5-25 knot mid-range, we seem to be absolutely fine. In the really tough stuff, I think we are fine too but in fact I am loathe to really go there at the moment because the last time I did that the rig came down [in the 2008 Vendée Globe]. So I don't want to go there at all!

'Conditions last night were extremely reminiscent of conditions I had the last two times in the Southern Ocean, so you can understand my hesitancy to really push it that hard at this stage in a build-up race, which is to prove boats and equipment, not about getting a result,' he concluded.

Mike talked through the balance between the routing the computers onboard provide from the weather data versus safe sailing.

'We were expecting this route [heading North]. We have been sailing a lot of extra miles to dodge an area of light winds in the middle of the Atlantic. When our routing does the calculations it doesn't have a conscience about sailing all those extra miles because when it gets us there it would be fast sailing. The reason we came North is because of this big system coming in, and the one we are underneath. The routing programme works on theoretical speed and theoretically if it is blowing 50 knots, we could be doing 30 knots, but realistically you just can't do that.

'Most people's routing will adjust, and it is always tempting to go with it, but there are some conditions when you can do 30 knots and some when you can't even do 15 knots as it is just too dangerous.

'The minute I got the phone call last night from the race organisers, and realised we were on a different mission it was de-motivating as I had done quite a lot of preparation work for the heavy weather, so I went to bed and went to sleep for a couple of hours. I feel really refreshed now, have shaken out a reef and am back to full effort.'


Having now raced for 24-25 days in most wind and sea conditions, Golding looked back at what he has learned about the speed of Gamesa compared with the rest of the fleet.

'We aren't slow, so despite a sense that the newer boats have a speed edge and that is clear on the polls, somehow we keep pace with them. On a race like this, where you are now very confined, the whole thing is a simple drag race as you have the confinement of going north and now the way point. What it does do is limit the tactical options, how you get over and around the actual speed differential. Having said that I wasn't doing anything magnificent tactically, I was middle for diddle.'

'I am looking round the boat and there is very little wrong. Generally the boat is in really good shape and that is really positive. If you look around the fleet, I think we are better shape than most.'

Golding, and the rest of the Transat B to B fleet are expected into Lorient this weekend, from 16 December.



Mike Golding website

Bakewell-White Yacht DesignInSunSport - NZBarz Optics - Melanin Lenses

Related Articles

America’s Cup World Series – Ben Ainslie Racing images by Ingrid Abery
Ingrid Abery provided this gallery of images of Ben Ainslie from America’s Cup World Series Portsmouth Race Day 2. Ingrid Abery provided this gallery of images of Ben Ainslie from America’s Cup World Series Portsmouth Race Day 2.
Posted today at 9:07 pm
LV America’s Cup World Series – Big Ben takes a big win in Portsmouth
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were on hand to present the awards and it was a fitting end to an amazing weekend. It really was Super Sunday for Ben Ainslie and Land Rover BAR whose second place in the last of Sunday’s three races gave them the overall regatta win at the Portsmouth event.
Posted today at 7:36 pm
America's Cup World Series - Big win for Big Ben in Portsmouth
A Royal handshake, a big yellow spot, personalised LV handbags and the adulation of the home crowd You’ve heard the news – for British sailing fans it was a big day in Portsmouth at the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series as Sir Ben Ainslie and Team Land Rover BAR scored a bullet and two second places against Team Oracle USA’s second and two firsts to take the ‘regatta’ and climb to the top of the LVACWS leaderboard overall.
Posted today at 7:29 pm
America's Cup World Series – Two win day closes the gap on leaderboard
Oracle Team USA opened Super Sunday with a second place finish and followed it up with two race victories Oracle Team USA opened Super Sunday with a second place finish and followed it up with two race victories to close within just one point of the winning home team.
Posted today at 7:15 pm
Transat Québec Saint-Malo – A battle from start to finish
After a quick transatlantic race time of 12 days, two hours and 24 minutes, team Imerys crossed the St Malo finish line. The 3000nm downwind adventure from Quebec City to St Malo proved seven days faster than May's 3000nm upwind Transat bakerly from Plymouth to New York.
Posted today at 6:59 pm
Azzurra now in the Balearics for third event in 52 Super Series 2016
The fleet of ten TP 52s had their Practice Race today in the thermal breezes that are so typical of Mallorca. The fleet of ten TP 52s had their Practice Race today in the thermal breezes that are so typical of Mallorca. It was a day of fine-tuning before the Puerto Portals Sailing Week officially begins.
Posted today at 6:47 pm
52 Super Series – Puerto Portals Sailing Week – Oiling the wheels
The TP52 Class have been coming to chic self-contained Puerto Portals since the Med Fleet’s formative year, 2005. The TP52 Class have been coming to chic self-contained Puerto Portals since the Med Fleet’s formative year, 2005. The MedCup was hosted four times by the marina between 2005 and 2008 and 2016 is now the second time that the 52 Super Series will race out on the Bay of Palma based from Puerto Portals Marina.
Posted today at 6:34 pm
Nevin Snow wins the 50th Governor's Cup
Nevin Snow and his team were victorious this year, defeating Sam Gilmour and his team from the Royal Freshwater Bay Club Nevin Snow and his team from San Diego Yacht Club were victorious this year, defeating Sam Gilmour and his team from the Royal Freshwater Bay Yacht Club. Each had defeated their opponent in the final four.
Posted today at 4:42 pm
Comanche - On board report - 175nm ahead of trans-Atlantic record pace
Comanche is currently 1?76? miles ahead of the record (correct at 09.45 BST) Sunday July 24, 2016 Update from Jim Clark and Kristy Hinze-Clark's supermaxi Comanche on Sunday 24th July, 2016 as she chases the Trans-Atlantic monohull record Comanche is currently 1?76? miles ahead of the record (correct at 09.45 BST). Visit the Yellow Brick tracker for latest position updates
Posted today at 12:10 pm
Den Helder Northern Seas Challenge - Race 13 arrivals complete
Den Helder Northern Seas Challenge, arrivals are now complete following arrival of IchorCoal at 2300 local time As Visit Seattle, PSP Logistics and Da Nang – Viet Nam celebrated their podium finishes in race 13, the Den Helder Northern Seas Challenge, arrivals are now complete following the arrival of IchorCoal at 2300 local time this evening.
Posted today at 7:48 am