Please select your home edition
Edition
Zhik Yachting Range

Transat Jacques Vabre - Uncertainty looms for the Class 40s

by Soazig Guého on 30 Nov 2013
Class 40 GDF Suez - 2013 Transat Jacques Vabre Breschi / GDF Suez http://breschi-photo-video.com/
In the Transat Jacques Vabre, heading into the final evening and night for the top three Class 40 duos, there is still a dense cloud of uncertainty hanging over the final outcome. Given that the waters off Itajaí Brasil have hardly seen breeze to ripple the surface of the sea through the day, the one certainty is that it will be a long evening and, maybe, night.

From a truly international podium line up, the balance is still with the French duo Sébastien Rogues and Fabien Delahaye, a pair which combines the solid experience and tenacity of Rogues – who had four successful years in the Mini 650 – with the obvious talent of Delahaye one of the rising stars of French solo and shorthanded ocean racing.

He follows very much in the wake of this year’s youngest ever Vendée Globe winner Francois Gabart, emerging through the Macif Skipper talent search programme. He was the 2011 French offshore champion, fourth in the Solitaire du Figaro last year. And Gabart’s first sailing appointment after winning the solo round the world race, was back in Port La Foret to sail with Delahaye.

GDF Suez started in Le Havre on November 7th as the favourites with the outstanding track record in the class this season with five wins including the Les Sables Azores Les Sables race. They have lived up to their top billing, leading since the re-start in Roscoff. Into the final 90 miles to the finish line, Rogues and Delahaye were leading the Spanish pair, Alex Pella and Pablo Santurde by 48 miles.

Santurde is more than just a super fast ex dinghy racer to support Pella, who has one circumnavigation and already did the 2009 Transat Jacques Vabre in the IMOCA Open 60 class with Pepe Ribes, finishing fifth on W Hotels. Ironically their average speed on this race is likely to be faster than the IMOCA race to Costa Rica. Santurde knows the recently launched design having worked on the build.


Pella and Santurde on the Botin design Tales Santander 2014 have their hands full, racing hard to also stave off the attack from the Franco-German crew, Jorg Riechers and Pierre Brasseur. Racing a sistership to GDF Suez, this pair share the same level of experience as their title adversaries.

Hamburg born Riechers is building an impressive early Vendée Globe campaign, having followed a perfect trajectory through the Mini class, wining the circuit outright in 2010 and taking sixth in Class 40 in the last Route du Rhum. In Pierre Brasseur he has an impeccable, polyvalent co-skipper whose experience spans three Mini Transats, the Figaro, Tour de France a Voile and the Multi 50 multihull.

While the IMOCA Open 60s, MOD70s and Multi 50s are all berthed in Itajaí now, awaiting Saturday’s postlogue exhibition race, all eyes are fixed on the Class 40s with the winner expected to finish tonight. But with the very light winds expected to continue into the night, and more wind sucking clouds to roll in through the hours of darkness, there are no guarantees that the team which has lead the race throughout, and is looking to add to their 2013 honours, will be the one which breaks the finish line first. The pace has been impressive for the 40 footers, covering the 5450 miles from Le Havre in less than 23 days, and so averaging more than 10.5kts.


Jörg Riechers (GER) skipper Mare: 'We are very close to the Spanish. The conditions are very unstable, anything can still happen and we will do everything to take second place. First place will be harder to get to now. GDF Suez looks set to win the Transat Jacques Vabre unless they have a technical problem'

'It has been a great Transat. Good feelings , lots of wind and lots of downwind sailing. We are happy to finish in the top three. I cant wait to celebrate with a caipirinha, maybe two!'

Pierre Brasseur: 'With the conditions off Itajai, it will be difficult to catch the Spanish but we will try to the end! We must work this long straight that leads us to the finish with crosswind of 15 knots. Over the whole race, there was no big strategic moves to make. There were the Doldrums which were good for GDF Suez but this race has mostly been about boats speed. And a lot of the time the leader is just unstoppable'.

Fabien Delahaye, co skipper GDF Suez: 'The final promises to be difficult. The files are showing we should have 15kts of wind reaching with the gennaker but we are under big spinnaker in 5kts of wind. It is difficult to understand what is happening. And we just try to find the right sail combinations. We are close to 100% just now because the big kite is repaired. We are getting there but there can be plenty of pitfalls along the final Transat Jacques Vabre

T Clewring AC72Kilwell - 1Southern Spars - 100

Related Articles

America's Cup - Arbitration Panel Hearing over Kiwi Qualifier for July
ACEA CEO, Russell Coutts has confirmed that the Arbitration Panel will hold its first Hearing in July. In a yet to be published interview in Sail-World, America’s Cup Events Authority CEO, Russell Coutts has confirmed that the Arbitration Panel will hold its first Hearing in July. This is the first official indication that the three person Arbitration Panel had even been formed, however Sail-World’s sources indicated that it had been empanelled since last January, possibly earlier.
Posted on 27 May
Rio 2016 - The Qualification Games - Part 2
Yachting NZ's refusal to nominate in three classes won in the first round of 2016 Olympic Qualification is unprecedented Yachting New Zealand's refusal to nominate in three classes won in the first round of 2016 Olympic Qualification is without precedent. Subject to Appeal, the Kiwis have signaled that they will reject 30% of the positions gained in the ISAF World Sailing Championships in Santander in 2014.
Posted on 22 May
Gladwell's Line - World Sailing changes tack after IOC windshift
Over the past year, we've given the International Sailing Federation (now re-badged as World Sailing) a bit of stick Over the past year, we've given the International Sailing Federation (now re-badged as World Sailing) a bit of stick. Every blow well earned over issues such as the pollution at Rio, the Israeli exclusion abomination plus a few more. But now World Sailing is getting it right.
Posted on 21 May
Rio 2016 - The Qualification Games - Part 1
Antipodean selection shenanigans aside, the Qualification system for the Rio Olympics appears to be achieving its goals Antipodean selection shenanigans aside, the Qualification system for the Rio Olympics appears to be achieving goals set in the Olympic Commission report of 2010. Around 64 countries are expected to be represented in Rio de Janeiro in August. That is a slight increase on Qingdao and Weymouth, but more importantly a full regional qualification system is now in place
Posted on 19 May
Taming the beast-a conversation with Stuart Meurer of Parker Hannifin
While AC72 cats were fast, they difficult to control, so Oracle partnered with Parker Hannifin to innovate a better way. If you watched videos of the AC72s racing in the 34th America’s Cup (2013), you’re familiar with the mind-boggling speeds that are possible when wingsail-powered catamarans switch from displacement sailing to foiling mode. While foiling is fast, there’s no disguising the platform’s inherent instability. Now, Oracle Team USA has teamed up with Parker Hannifin to innovate a better way.
Posted on 18 May
From foiling Moths to Olympic starting lines-a Q&A with Bora Gulari
Bora Gulari’s is representing the USA at the Rio 2016 Olympics in the Nacra 17 class, along with teammate Louisa Chafee. Bora Gulari (USA) has made a strong name for himself within high-performance sailing circles, with wins at the 2009 and 2013 Moth Worlds. In between, he broke the 30-knort barrier and was the 2009 US SAILING Rolex Yachtsman of the Year. His latest challenge is representing the USA at the Rio 2016 Olympics in the Nacra 17 class as skipper, along with his teammate Louisa Chafee.
Posted on 12 May
Concern for Zika at Rio Olympics is now deadly serious
Alphabet soup is one description that has thus far not been used for either Guanabara Bay, Alphabet soup is one description that has thus far not been used for either Guanabara Bay, or the Rio Olympics. Many others have, and they were apt, but things have changed. So here now we have a situation where one man, Associate Professor Amir Attaran, who does have a more than decent string of letters after his name, is bringing nearly as many facts to bear as references at the article's end
Posted on 12 May
Zhik - The brand born of a notion, not its history
here is probably every reason that ocean rhymes with notion. Zhik’s tagline is officially marketed as Made For Water There is probably every reason that ocean rhymes with notion. Zhik’s tagline has been officially marketed as Made For Water, and this is precisely what the company has done for the last eight years before the succinct and apt strapline came from out of R&D and into mainstream visibility.
Posted on 8 May
Shape of next Volvo Ocean Race revealed at Southern Spars - Part 1
Southern Spars has been confirmed as the supplier of spars for the 2017-18 Volvo Ocean Race. In mid-April, Race Director, Jack Lloyd and Stopover Manager Richard Mason outlined the changes expected for the 40,000nm Race during a tour of Southern Spars 10,000sq metre specialist spar construction facility. A total of up to seven boats is expected to enter, but time is running out for the construction of any new boats.
Posted on 3 May
Sailing in the Olympics beyond 2016 - A double Olympic medalist's view
Bruce Kendall takes a look at what he believes Sailing needs to do to survive beyond the 2016 Olympics. Gold and Bronze medalist and multiple world boardsailing/windsurfer champion, Bruce Kendall takes a look at what he believes Sailing needs to do to survive beyond the 2016 Olympics. A key driver is the signalled intention by the International Olympic Committee to select a basket of events that will be contested.
Posted on 29 Apr