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Hare and Bubb, 12th, 18th placed Iker Martinez reflects, Class40 is a three-way match at TJV

by TJV Media 22 Nov 2023 15:08 PST 23 November 2023
Pip Hare and Nick Bubb © James Tomlinson / Medallia

Britons Pip Hare and Nick Bubb on Medallia finish 12th IMOCA

British duo Pip Hare and Nick Bubb on Medallia crossed the finish line of the 16th Transat Jacques Vabre Normandie Le Havre at 22.12.56hrs this Monday evening (local time, 02:12:56hrs Tuesday morning UTC) off Fort de France, Martinique to secure 12th place in the IMOCA fleet.

The result is very much on target for the duo who struggled at times to find enough sail power after their mainsail was damaged early in the 3750 nautical miles race from Le Havre to Martinique.

The elapsed time for the Poole, England based IMOCA Medallia is 13d17h42m56s. They finished 1d20hrs10min25sec after the IMOCA winners. Their average speed for the 3750 miles course is 11.40kts, they actually sailed 4498.98 nms at 13.65kts After a major winter refit to Medallia which included new, bigger foils and re-modelling the bow sections of the boat, Hare was intent on delivering a solid result whilst using the race to learn how to make the newly re-configured boat sail consistently fast. At the same time it was doubly important to finish the race which, itself, is a valuable element in qualifying for the next Vendée Globe, but in so dong ensuring the boat is in the best possible shape to start the solo race back across the Atlantic which starts from Martinique in just nine days time.

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First among equals, the race within the race.... Monnoyeur Duo For a Job is top daggerboard boat

Thirteenth on the finish line aboard the IMOCA Monnoyeur Duo For a Job, Benjamin Ferré - known as "Benjamin envoi le pepin" and Pierre Le Roy took first place among the older generation daggerboard boats. They were one of the first to break north - as almost all the daggerboard boats did and did well. Ferre was an adventurer who only took to ocean racing in 2017 when he took on the MiniTransat as more of an adventure challenge, and is now regularly finishing top or near the top of the daggerboard IMOCAs. On this race he partnered with Le Roy who won the 2021 Mini Transat who is a professional meteorologist. They prevailed even after having to return to Le Havre to repair their mainsail battens and re-start with a 60 miles defcit.

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IMOCA finishers and selected quotes

14th place, Louis Duc and Rémi Aubrun on Fives Group - Lantana Environnement finished at 04:51:34 local time (08:51:34 UTC), Race times is 14 days 0 hours 21 minutes and 34 seconds. They finished 2 days 2 hours 49 minutes and 3 seconds after the IMOCA winner.

Louis Duc: "It's great that so many people are here so early in the morning" (4am local) We are really lucky to be able to sail these boats. We really enjoy them, such incredible acceleration and speed.There have been so many stories in this race. We tried to keep up with Monnoyeur and watched from a distance a great race in the South with Violette Dorange and Conrad Colman. They deserve to be congratulated. We would not have been so fast on the southern route. There are about six foilers still behind us. We wanted to be on the podium of non-foilers and we have done it."

15th place, Damien Seguin and Laurent Bourgues on Groupe Apicil finished at 11:22:17 local time (15: 22:17 UTC). Race time is 14 days 6 hours 52 minutes and 17 seconds. They finished 2 days 9 hours 19 minutes and 46 seconds after the IMOCA winner.

They had to return to Lorient with a broken boom and sail damage.

Seguin: "We set off 36 hours after the others. I'd like to thank the shore team. I've never been able to set off again so quickly. Then, there were the conditions we encountered. Thanks to Benjamin's team which lent us a boom, that enabled us to set off again quickly."

16th place, Louis Burton and Davy Beaudart on Bureau Vallée finished at 11:58:23 local time (15:58:23 UTC). Race time is 14 days 7 hours 28 minutes and 23 seconds. They finished 2 days 9 hours 55 minutes and 52 seconds after the IMOCA winner.

Burton lost his mast in the 2021 race and again on last year's Route du Rhum, so needed a finish. Even so the skipper from Saint Malo still had a good go at the 'north face', taking the westerly route. They, like Pip Hare and Nick Bubb, had a five hours penalty for starting between the inner distance mark and the start boat.

Burton: "Bureau Vallée went the other way from the others and it's great. It's been two and a half years since we bought the boat, and really we've had a lot of setbacks but we've never given up, our partner has always been there. Today, our whole team has tears in their eyes because it was so extremely important to have finished in Martinique. We enjoyed the Transat Jacques Vabre from start to finish, even if we had a 5-hour penalty at the start. That didn't stop us from having as much fun as possible! It's a bit special though, because I'm leaving solo in 8 days for La Retour À La Base. Tomorrow, we are going to sail with employees from the Bureau Vallée de La Martinique stores, and then I will really go and rest to be ready. Regarding the North option, it was not easy with the unstable wind, but we had thought about it carefully."

17th place, Romain Attanasio and Loïs Berrehar on Fortinet - Best Western finished at 12:00:15 local time (16:00:15 UTC). Race time is 14 days 7 hours 30 minutes and 15 seconds. They finished 2 days 9 hours 57 minutes and 44 seconds after the IMOCA winner.

18th Place Sébastien Simon and Iker Martinez (ESP) on Groupe Dubreuil finished at 1323 hrs local time (1723hrs UTC). Race time is 14 days 8 hours 53 minutes and 4 seconds. They finished 2 days 11 hours 53 minutes and 4 seconds after the IMOCA winner.

Spain's double Olympic medallist and three times Ocean Race ace Iker Martinez made a return to double handed racing on the IMOCA which won The Ocean Race as 11th Hour Racing. They were in the top group and going well, having opted to go north with when their mainsail was 'destroyed'.

Martinez: "It all felt a bit crazy at the start, we lost the train a little bit on the first miles, we did not really even know how to put in the ballast correctly and how to set everything up, as soon as we did we were moving forwards, we were super good. And then as soon as we saw an opportunity we go for it, full on. We thought we were going to win. We said 'OK now we are going to the right place, e are going to the west, it is going to pay, we had one boat in front, we were going faster, we were pushing hard, we were in the race. I think we were two miles from the leader when the mainsail just broke into pieces. I don't know what happened it just exploded. The J3 exploded too so I don't know. We were racing,d. We know the boat is tired and has come from The Ocean Race but they changed the sails. Now I am just going to help Seb all I can to get ready for La Retour À La Base."

19th Alan Roura and Simon Koster (SUI) on HUBLOT finished at 14:10:45hrs local time (19:10:45hrs UTC). Race time is 14 days 10 hours 45 minutes and 26seconds. They finished 2 days 13 hours 12 minutes and 55 seconds after the IMOCA winners.

Class 40 Race, nothing is decided still a 3 way fight

In terms of the distance to the finish line there is 100 nautical miles between the race leaders Groupe SNEF (Xavier Macaire and Pierre Leboucher) taking the middle, direct course, to the north there is Credit Mutuel (Ian Lipinksi and 2021 winner Antoine Carpentier) and in the south Italy's Ambrogio Becccaria and Nico Andrieu (Alle Grande Pirelli).

The strategies have become much clearer for the Class40s. An area of very light winds has developed to the East of the island chaing, forcing most of the competitors to take a route around it. "We have decided to move to the north of our group, because we have noticed for several days that the forecasts are lighter than the real wind" explained ninth placed Emmanuel Le Roch (Edenred). "Our idea is to cross an area where there is supposed to be only very light winds ahead to take a short cut."

The trade winds shutting down

According to the routing, the podium in Class40 will come from the North, East or South. "The fight is still on between the three of them" explained Christian Dumard, the Race's weather expert. "Crédit Mutuel has to cross a front and can then dive down quickly towards Martinique. Groupe SNEF is taking the direct route, but is likely to be slowed down in areas of very light winds. Alla Grande Pirelli is keeping to the south of the light winds to make the most of the trade winds. They are likely to be close at the finish."

This is the problem the skippers are currently working on. "The trade winds shut down in the middle of our route, and will block our way to the finish for Groupe SNEF," explained Fabien Delahaye (LEGALLAIS). "The area of light winds is expanding around them. We will be going around it via the South. Up to the North, there is another group, but they don't know how to get back down. So we're pleased to be where we are. We have more wind than forecast, so are sailing quickly, averaging 15 knots."

Briton Alister Richardson on T'quila in ninth, reported today, "We still have tiny puffy clouds and a blue sky, our wind is now around 12-13kts, so lighter, as expected. It was quite a tactical night. Finally after days and days gybed and crossed Everial, our small gain saw us go to 16 miles ahead of them. We headed west for a bit and the wind was dropping out a little and so we gybed south wards and we have picked up a nice shift which is taking us down to where we were going to gyb anyway. Last week the routing was taking us to a point where we stay out of the light winds and head straight in on starboard gybe and miss the worst of the light winds, and so we are doing that now. Axel on Project Ocean Rescue seems to be doing that too and no one else is and so we are quite hopeful. We are ploughing a lonely furrow but it feels like the right thing to do. But this is the end play of the race and maybe the others are kind of trying to cover each other and are fairly locked in."

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