Please select your home edition
Edition
Lennon Thermalite 728x90 1

TJV kicks off its 15th edition, TOR announces monster Southern Ocean leg

by David Schmidt 9 Nov 2021 10:00 PST November 9, 2021
The Transat Jacques Vabre starts from Le Havre, France © @polaRYSE

While Pacific Northwest sailors might be getting amped for this weekend's Round the County race around the San Juan Islands, the bigger-picture reality for most North American sailors is that of mid-to-late autumn, a time when more boats exit the water for winter storage than enter it for races. Not ideal, that's for sure, but that's one of the many reasons that the Florida and Caribbean racing circuits, which unfurl later in the season, are so popular. It's also a time when a little armchair sailing can distract the mind from the fact that it's getting dark far too soon each afternoon. Enter the 15th edition of the Transat Jacques Vabre.

This classic transatlantic race for Ultim and Ocean Fifty trimarans and IMOCA 60 and Class 40 monohulls began on Sunday (November 7) off of Sainte-Adresse, France, and is taking the 79-strong fleet to a finishing line off of Antigua. Given the speed differences between these boats, which range from 40 feet to 100 feet, LOA, the different classes are sailing different courses, with the Class 40s sailing 4,600 nautical miles, the Ocean Fifty and IMOCA 60 classes sailing 5,800 nautical miles, and the stunningly fast Ultims sailing 7,500 miles.

Provided that the wind gods cooperate, the Ultims are expected to finish in 16-17 days, the Ocean Fifty class in 12-15 days, the IMOCA 60s in 14-17 days, and the Class 40s in 17-22 days.

North American interests are being represented in this largely Francophile affair by Alex Mehran Jr. and Merfyn Owen aboard the Class 40 Pola Dot, by Ryan Barkey and Melodie Schaffer aboard the Class 40 Stormtech, and by Charlie Enright (USA) and Pascal Bidegorry (FRA) aboard 11th Hour Racing Team's brand-new IMOCA 60, Malama.

"With the boat being so new, we have had very little time to train and to get familiar with Malama's features - less than two weeks on the water," said Enright in an 11th Hour Racing Team release. "The foils, the hull shape, the cockpit, she's definitely one-of-a-kind. For this race, our main focus will be to get her to Martinique in one piece—if we manage that, there's a chance for more!"

Also, it should be noted that while Justine Mettraux (SUI) and Simon Fisher (GBR) don't hail from Canada or the USA, they are sailing aboard U.S.-based 11th Hour Racing Team's Alaka'i (nee' Hugo Boss), which is the team's B boat that they used for training while Malama was being designed and built.

Interestingly, this is the first time that a single team has entered two boats concurrently in the TJV.

Click here for a recent Sail-World.com interview with Simon Fisher.

As of this writing, Axel Trehin (FRA) and Axel Trehin (FRA), sailing aboard Project Rescue Ocean, are leading the hunt in the Class 40 rankings, followed by Ian Lipinski (FRA) and Julien Pulvé (FRA), sailing aboard Crédit Mutuel, and Nicolas Jossier and Alexis Loison, sailing aboard La Manche #EvidenceNautique.

In the Ocean Fifty class, Erwan Le Roux (FRA) and Xavier Macaire, sailing aboard Koesio, are in the pole position, followed by Sébastien Rogues (FRA) and Matthieu Souben (FRA), sailing aboard Primonial, and Quentin Vlamynck (FRA) and Lalou Roucayrol (FRA), sailing aboard Arkema 4.

Charlie Dalin (FRA) and Paul Meilhat (FRA), sailing aboard Apivia, are defining the learning curve in the IMOCA 60 class, followed by Romain Attanasio (FRA) and Sébastien Marsset (FRA), sailing aboard Fortinet - Best Western, and Enright (USA) and Bidegorry (FRA) aboard Malama.

(Impressively, Mettraux (SUI) and Fisher (GBR), sailing aboard the older Alaka'I, are sitting in fifth place, astern of Jérémie Beyou (FRA) and Christopher Pratt (FRA), who are sailing aboard Charal.)

And in the mighty Ultim class, Armel Le Cléac'h (FRA) and Kevin Escoffier (FRA), sailing aboard Banque Populaire XI, are in first place, followed by Yves Le Blevec (FRA) and Anthony Marchand (FRA), sailing aboard Actual Ultim 3, and Thomas Coville (FRA) and Thomas Rouxel (FRA), sailing aboard Sodebo ultim 3.

Skippers François Gabart (FRA) and Tom Laperche (FRA), sailing aboard the brand-new and fully state-of-the-art SVR-Lazartigue are currently in last place in the Ultim class, but, with just 20 nautical miles separating Banque Populaire XI's sterns from SVR-Lazartigue's bows, and with some 7,565 nautical miles of sailing remaining for boats that can tag 45+ knots of boat speed, there's still plenty of racecourse left for these offshore monsters to strut their lengthy waterlines and powerful sailplans.

Sail-World wishes all TJV sailors good luck, safe passages, and fast sailing on their way to Antigua.

Meanwhile, The Ocean Race (nee, The Volvo Ocean Race and The Whitbread Race) recently made headlines with the announcement of their 12,750 nautical mile Southern Ocean leg for their 2022-2023 race. This ultra-marathon-like leg will stretch from Cape Town, South Africa, to Itajai, Brazil, skipping China and New Zealand. As a result, the race will begin in late December 2022 (or early January 2023) in Alicante, Spain, before sailing to Cabo Verde, and then on to Cape Town and then Itajai.

According to TOR, this decision was based on the realities of running a global ocean race during the still-churning pandemic.

"We believe the 12,750 nautical mile leg from Cape Town to Itajaí is a very special element—unique in history—in the next race," said Johan Salén, TOR's managing director, in an official release. "The ongoing and unpredictable effects of Covid have meant it is impossible, at this time, to do the planning necessary to ensure successful stops in China and New Zealand."

From Itajai, teams will then sail to Newport, Rhode Island, before crossing the Pond to a series of European cities and, eventually, the finishing line.

"This update to the race route makes it reminiscent of the original Ocean Race's of the past, and I hope the delay of the start until after the Route du Rhum will entice more teams to join us on the start line," said Enright, who plans to race Malama in fully crewed mode in this event. "The confirmed course is exciting - one month at sea, racing through the Southern Ocean, on the longest leg we've ever faced. It's a reminder that we will need to be at the top of our game to take it on, and allows us to really hone in on our preparations."

For Enright, at least, these preparations began on Sunday with the start of the TJV.

May the four winds blow you safely home.

David Schmidt
Sail-World.com North American Editor

Related Articles

A perfect day of winter racing
Sail-World's US Editor tells of a magical day enabled by great teamwork The roads were icy, but far less treacherous than I feared as I eased onto I-5, my car aimed at Seattle's Shilshole Bay Marina. Amazingly, this motif of the day exceeding expectations continued throughout our team's 2022 Duwamish Head Race. Posted on 18 Jan
Interview with Marine Resources CEO and Founder
James Ward talks about the dramatic shift in the jobs market The marine industry has boomed since the pandemic as more people discover the benefits of being out on the water, leading to dramatic shift in the jobs market. Posted on 18 Jan
At the front of the fleet.
Handy position to be in. no matter whether it is icy pole sticks in a drain, or ocean racers at sea. Handy position to be in, no matter whether it is icy pole sticks in a drain, or Grand Prix boats out in the big blue. Since my last ditty, I noticed that three podiums in the one race were all powered by North Sails... Posted on 16 Jan
Martin Kullman on The Southernmost Regatta
David Schmidt checks in with Martin Kullman I checked in with Martin Kullman, regatta chairman of the 2022 edition of The Southernmost Regatta, via email, to learn more about this warm-water event. Posted on 13 Jan
Jason Sanchez on the 2022 Bluster on the Bay
David Schmidt interviews chair of the Hobie Class Association of North America I checked in with Jason Sanchez, chair of the Hobie Class Association of North America, via email, to learn more about the 2022 Bluster on the Bay regatta. Posted on 11 Jan
Dayboating for 410 nautical miles
The juxtaposition of go-fast boats to dayboating in classically styled, outboard powered boats... So the juxtaposition of go-fast boats to dayboating in classically styled, outboard powered, resin-infused vessels served as a marvellous exclamation mark for the passage of time. Posted on 10 Jan
America's Cup U-turn, 16ft Skiffs shine
Mark Jardine looks at what's been making the news so far in 2022 America's Cup land never fails to deliver on drama, and the past week saw plenty of it as American Magic confirmed their intention to compete in the 37th America's Cup (AC37), representing the New York Yacht Club (NYYC). Posted on 10 Jan
The Twelve Days of FiveO Christmas
It is time to vote for your favourite 505 photo The 5o5 class grabbed the media spotlight with the '12 days of 5o5 Christmas'. The premise was simple, for instead of calling birds, pipers a piping and French hens, there were twelve superb Christophe Favreau photographs. Posted on 7 Jan
Conti and Hendrick on the 2022 Duwamish Head Race
A Q&A with Dean Conti and Charles Hendrick on the 2022 Duwamish Head Race I checked in Dean Conti and Charles Hendrick, who serve as chair of the 2022 Duwamish Head Race and commodore of the hosting Three Tree Point Yacht Club (respectively), via email, to learn more about this classic Pacific Northwest winter event. Posted on 5 Jan
Sydney Hobart, Magnus Olsson Prize, #TeamSeas
Read David Schmidt's first Sail-World.com North American editorial of 2022! The Pacific Northwest might have been buried under snow and unseasonably cold temperatures over the holidays, but things were decidedly warmer in Australia with the annual Rolex Sydney Hobart Race. Posted on 4 Jan
RS Sailing 2021 - FOOTERRooster 2020 - Impact BA - FOOTERHenr-Lloyd 2021 For the love of foul weather FOOTER