Please select your home edition
Edition
Mackay Boats

Transat Jacques Vabre memories and preview from GryphonSolo2

by Joe Harris on 15 Nov 2013
11th Hour Racing Transat Jacques Vabre http://www.jacques-vabre.com/en/s01_home/s01p01_home.php
I have been watching the Transat Jacques Vabre race develop with interest and wanted to provide a quick update and further comparisons to the 2005 race. My focus will be on the Class 40's, who are mostly now solidly into the trade winds, with the leaders flying along at 14 knots in 25 knots of Northeasterly breeze. After the pitstop in Roscoff to let a low pressure system go through, the rich seem to have gotten richer, as the two leaders- GDF Suez and Mare- (Mach 40 sisterships from the design board of Sam Manuard) seem to be moving extremely well.

Next up are my friends Halvard and Miranda on Compagne deFrance, who are also blasting along in rough seas and wet conditions, about 127 miles back from the leader, as the move past the Azores to the West and Madeira to the East. The new Ker-designed Concise 8 with Ned Collier-Wakefield and Sam Goodchild have had to drop out with a broken port rudder that was evidently ripped off by an unidentified submerged object. The new Akilaria RC-3 Caterham Challenge sits in 11th place, about 218 miles back from the leader and going slightly slower in less breeze. Finally, 11th Hour Racing is back in the race after breaking their headstay and returning to Lorient, France to get it repaired. They are now 671 miles back from the leader but they are back in the race and bound and determined to catch up.

This situation reminds me very much of the 2005 race. Aboard my Open 50 'Wells Fargo- American Pioneer' with co-skipper Josh Hall, we were match racing fellow Open 50 class competitors Artforms and Brehat across the Bay of Biscay when suddenly Artforms turned back to Lorient to repair a torn mainsail. We were ahead of Brehat, but they elected to take a more Easterly course through the Canary Islands and also through the Cape Verde islands further south. While our routing showed that a more westerly path was faster, we were reluctant to let Brehat go on their more Easterly path alone, not knowing whether Artforms was going to get back in the game. After much discussion, we elected to cover Brehat to the East and then -sure enough- Artforms came roaring back into the trade winds 200 miles west of us and quickly began clawing back the 500 mile deficit their pitstop had created. We sailed into some very light winds near the Cape Verde Islands and were freaking out as Artforms gained on every scheduled report and our lead evaporated. Luckily, we finally found some wind and made it to the Doldrums first and then had a fast passage through the Doldrums while Artforms and Brehat struggled. We got into the South Atlantic trade winds first and were off to the races towards Brazil, with our lead now growing at every report.

So for Team 11th Hour Racing I would say 'hang in there!!' as you never know what might happen with over 4,000 miles still to go. The very fast downwind trade wind sailing under spinnakers that most of the Class 40 fleet is now experiencing can lead to some spectacular wipe-outs as either auto-pilots fail or skippers get tired at the tiller, so skippers will need to be particularly vigilant and not carry too much sail in big breeze. If a spinnaker is lost (shredded beyond repair or lost overboard), it can definitely make the boat uncompetitive for the rest of the race, as each sail in the eight sail limited inventory is critical for the boat to deliver maximum performance.

It will be fun to watch the race tracker and leaderboard change in the coming days as skippers choose different routing options as they set up for passing the Canaries and Cape Verde islands and also beginning to think about their entry waypoint for the doldrums and crossing of the equator. More to GryphonSolo2 website
PredictWind.com 2014Mackay BoatsHelm Events 660x82

Related Articles

World Sailing Cup Final - Live video coverage from Melbourne - Day 1
The Medal Races on Saturday 10 and Sunday 11 December will draw the 2016 Sailing World Cup Melbourne Final to a close. The Medal Races on Saturday 10 and Sunday 11 December will draw the 2016 Sailing World Cup Melbourne Final to a close. The deciding races will be streamed live on World Sailing TV on YouTube. Coverage started at midday local time or 0100UTC
Posted today at 2:09 am
Vendée Globe – Thomson and Le Cleac'h cross Tasman Sea
Weather files suggest it will be Saturday evening before they are into better conditions as low moves east with them. Weather files suggest it will be Saturday evening before they are into better conditions as the low moves east with them.
Posted on 9 Dec
RORC Transatlantic Race – Day 14 – Aragon watches the clock
Aragon crew are a blend of family, friends and professional sailors and the youngest sailor was at the helm of Aragon. The crew of Aragon are a blend of family, friends and professional sailors and the youngest sailor, Anna Van Nieuwland was at the helm of Aragon as the team crossed the line.
Posted on 9 Dec
52 Super Series – Great strides towards sustainability
The 2016 season represents the second complete year in partnership with sustainability sponsor 11th Hour Racing. The 2016 season represents the second complete year in partnership with sustainability sponsor 11th Hour Racing.
Posted on 9 Dec
Strong winds continue on Day 4 of Sailing World Cup Melbourne
Matt Wearn enjoyed the strong winds today, winning both races in the Laser fleet. Wearn is currently leading overall. Matt Wearn enjoyed the strong winds today, winning both races in the Laser fleet. Wearn is currently leading overall, three points ahead of Cypriot Pavlos Kontides. Rio Silver medallist, Tonci Stipanovic finished second in both today’s races and is currently lying third overall, while Australia’s Tom Burton is in fourth overall. Burton scored a 12 and a five in today’s two races.
Posted on 9 Dec
Extreme Sailing Series – Oman Air close gap on Alinghi
Oman Air took every opportunity today and cornered the podium to close the gap at the top of the Act eight leaderboard. Team Oman Air took every opportunity on the Sydney Harbour race course today and cornered the podium to close the gap at the top of the Act eight leaderboard as the rivalry with Alinghi intensifies.
Posted on 9 Dec
SWC Final – Badloe and Squires pick up where their countrymen left off
Badloe holds the lead after nine races and Squires pushed himself into contention after two bullets and a second. Badloe holds the lead in the men's windsurfer after nine races and Squires pushed himself into contention after two bullets and a second. The pair, and the sailors across the ten Olympic and Open Kiteboarding fleets battled against a south westerly wind in excess of 20 knots coupled with a big sea state.
Posted on 9 Dec
ESS Sydney - second day images from Beth Morley
The Open Water session due for 4pm to 6pm today but it was cancelled due to the wind Beth Morley was back out on the water to capture the second day of Act Eight of the Extreme Sailing Series. An Open Water session was due for 4pm to 6pm today but it was cancelled due to the wind, so these are from the Stadium race. Enjoy!
Posted on 9 Dec
Alinghi and Oman Air neck and neck at Extreme Sailing Series finale
Swiss crew Alinghi remain in pole position after two days of breathtaking action on the iconic waters of Sydney Harbour. Swiss crew Alinghi remain in pole position after two days of breathtaking action on the iconic waters of Sydney Harbour, but it couldn't be tighter at the top as the battle between the two Series frontrunners intensifies.
Posted on 9 Dec
Tom Squires 'dab's' while skydiving at Sailing World Cup - Melbourne
Tom Squires from the British Sailing Team is in Melbourne jumped out of a plane as part of the event earlier this week. Tom Squires from the British Sailing Team is in Melbourne for the Sailing World Cup Final sailing on the RS:X jumped out of a plane as part of the event earlier this week. He took the opportunity to do his first 'dab' and managed to hurt his shoulder.
Posted on 9 Dec