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Class40's tantalising Transat plotline... Hitchcock, Tarantino or Spaghetti Western?

by TJV Media 22 Nov 2023 14:10 PST
IMOCA DMG Mori Global One, skippers Kojiro Shiraishi and Thierry Duprey du Vorsent, are pictured celebrating during arrivals of the Transat Jacques Vabre in Fort de France, Martinique © Jean-Marie Liot / Alea

With less than 200 miles to the finish and the winner due across the finish line tomorrow mid-afternoon (UTC) the Transat Jacques Vabre Normandie Le Havre Class 40 title looks increasingly like it will be decided between crews who are Italian, are ex Figaro aces or a posse who put their faith in the North. Latest routings suggest the Italians coming in from the south might shade it.

Through the last 24 hours the three groups have been converging at very different speeds. From the north Ian Lipinski and Antoine Carpentier (Credit Mutuel) 150 miles due north of Martinique have seen their southerly course slowed to just five knots, so too the French Figaro duo Xavier Macaire and Pierre Leboucher (Groupe SNEF) who opted some days ago to go directly west towards the island have been slow. It is the Italian-French duo Ambrogio Beccaria and Nico Andrieu on Alla Grande Pirelli who continue to profit.

"It's a bit like a Tarantino film, where everyone gets shot at the end," joked Beccaria. "According to my routing, it may be Influence2 that wins or us or Groupe SNEF... In any case, none of us can control the situation."

Most routings show at the finish line less than two hours between the leaders from the three directions. And into that final analysis the timings from the first leg from Le Havre to Lorient need to be taken into account. Recall that Ambrogio and Andrieu hold a 1h 1m 48s lead over Groupe SNEF. Also Credit Mutuel dismasted and their final aggregate time calculation effectively gives them no chance of winning.

On Ammaris in fifth place, in the north Achille Nebout reported, "We're waiting for the wind to hoist the gennaker. Based on the routings, it should work out to the finish, but we remain sceptical, because the wind is very unstable. A lot can happen."

The race's weather expert Christian Dumard summarised today, "We see very little wind for SNEF, but the NE'ly wind should gradually build. We can see that Crédit Mutuel is coming down in a fairly strong Easterly wind. And for Ambrogio there is a strengthening Easterly wind too and so for the moment, we see Ambrogio first and Crédit Muteul second."

A great choice made by Alla Grande Pirelli?

In the south Beccaria added, "We're trying to do the best in our group and it's all going well. We have had the spinnaker up since the Canaries. We were the first to gybe when we were keeping in check second-placed IBSA"

"For us the outcome will be decided when we get to the French West Indies island chain: will there be any wind there or not?" wondered Antoine Carpentier in the lead, aboard Crédit Mutuel."

Britain's Alister Richardson and Brian Thompson (T'quila) still hold ninth place and have high hopes of improving. Thompson reported, "We can describe today in one word... 'scorchio!' is so hot, not much wind across the deck. We have the spinnaker up and there is not much apparent wind and it is unbelievably hot. We need to drink so much water after even one gybe. Tactically we did not have a great 24 hours as we did not hold our own against Everial but IBSA we have been fine against. It is close. Most likely we will get headed down to the finish line but we have had to go much further west than anyone expected. The wind has stayed resolutely right, in the 100s when we expected it to be in the 80s, so we had to stay left to stay in the breeze, which is not even 10kts at the moment. Now it is quite reminiscent of the race two years ago, we need be deciding what side of Barbados to go."

IMOCA Wednesday round up

22nd Kojiro Shiraishi and Thierry Duprey du Vorsent (DMG Mori Global One) 22nd in IMOCA (before jury)

When they crossed the finish line of the 16th Transat Jacques Vabre Normandie Le Havre off Fort de France, Martinique at 04:22.12hrs local time (08:22.12 UTC) Japan's Kojiro Shiraishi and French co-skipper Thierry Duprey Du Vorsent (DMG MORI GLOBAL ONE) secured 22nd place in the IMOCA class.

Their elapsed time for the course is 14d23h52m12s and they finish 3d2h after the IMOCA winners.

Shiraishi and Duprey Du Vorsent achieved their primary objective which was to finish the race with the boat in good shape and so enhance the Japanese skipper's Vendée Globe qualifying process.

After a collision hours after the start of last year's Route du Rhum, Shiraishi had to retire from the solo race from France to Guadeloupe because of damage to his IMOCA. This has made finishing this race - actually his first two handed major race - more important, as was taking care of the boat to be ready for the solo race back to France which start in eight days.

DMG MORI GLOBAL ONE was 21st on the exit out of the Channel and was up to 15th at one point after Cape Finisterre but the Japanese-French duo got stuck in lighter airs as they went late to the west and dropped a few places which they pulled back again in the Trade Winds.

Koji said. "I am very, very happy to have been able to enjoy the southerly route. It was faster to go on the north route, but the southerly route was better for us if a little slower. The trade winds were a little light, it was hard to make the boat go fast. We were trying to make the boat go faster but the northerly route was the right one. It was strange to come across the Atlantic with no rain at all. And I think we sailed the most miles of the fleet so we had the most fun. We worked hard and were good together. Now the boat is ready to have two or three days of small jobs then I will be ready to go again, but these boats are hard work for an old man!"

Kiwi Colman and French co-skipper Muzzolini take 24th in IMOCA race

Finishing in 24th place in the IMOCA fleet Kiwi Conrad Colman and French co-skipper Fabio Muzolini enjoyed a sparkling finish on their Mailboxes ETC across the Fort-de-France line in warm morning sunshine and a building trade wind, they concluded their race from Le Havre with a final sprint. Whilst others before them may have crawled to the line in sticky, light airs and darkness three times round the world racer Colman and his IMOCA rookie co-skipper Muzolini made short work of the 15 nautical miles from the Diamond Rock to the line.

Read more here.

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