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Selden 2020 - LEADERBOARD

First race at the helm of Holcim-PRB for Nicolas Lunven

by Team HOLCIM - PRB 30 Nov 2023 07:50 PST 30 November 2023
Team Holcim-PRB - Retour à la Base © Julien Champolion | PolaRYSE | Team Holcim-PRB

Nicolas Lunven will set off on his first solo transatlantic race abord the IMOCA Holcim-PRB at 1700pm HF this Thursday. The start of the race promises to be technical, with demanding weather conditions due to the relief of the island of Martinique. This upside-down transatlantic race boasts a remarkable line-up and will show an incredible battle on the water, in which Nicolas Lunven is delighted to be taking part.

While this is the first edition of this solo transatlantic race from Fort-de-France to Lorient, it also marks Nicolas Lunven's first race at the helm of the IMOCA Holcim-PRB. It's a race that the skipper is approaching with concentration and, above all, a great deal of enthusiasm: "One sentence sums up my state of mind: the desire to go for it! After a delivery trip that went very well (Nicolas Lunven didn't take part in the Transat Jacques Vabre Normandie - Le Havre and sailed to Martinique from Lorient, editor's note), I'm really looking forward to getting back into the race and measuring myself against the other boats, as the level is very impressive."

For Nicolas Lunven, it's not just a question of measuring the potential of his monohull during this Atlantic crossing, but also of qualifying for the Vendée Globe and confronting those who will be his rivals in a year's time around the world. "I'm not setting myself any specific goals for this first race aboard Holcim-PRB. What's at stake is qualifying for the Vendée Globe 2024," says the skipper, before adding, "I followed the Transat Jacques Vabre very closely. I think I must have looked at all the rankings. The level is very high, the first boats are really impressive and go very fast on certain points of sail. Of course, I'm going to want to measure myself against the others, to see what the boat is capable of. We'll have to find the right balance."

This first race aboard his new IMOCA will be an opportunity for Nicolas Lunven to put into practice the lessons learned during the delivery trip between Lorient and Martinique, and to discover the potential of this monohull in race mode. According to the latest routing, the first boats should take around 10 days to reach the port of Lorient la Base.

Nicolas Lunven, skipper

"The forecast conditions for the start are between 12 and 16 knots of east-north- easterly wind. At the start, the wind will be fairly disturbed, as we'll be on the windward side of the island from Fort-de-France. In the bay of Fort-de-France, there's a corridor, so the wind is fairly well channelled, but then we have to pass Cape Salomon, where there's quite a bit of height (400, 500 metres) and a windbreak to cross. As soon as we've passed this windbreak, we'll pick up a lighter breeze in the channel between Martinique and Saint Lucia, with an easterly wind. Next, we'll have to go around a forbidden zone which we'll leave to port. Once we've passed this zone, we'll be able to tack on starboard tack to head north. This course is really an upside-down transatlantic. We're used to crossing the Atlantic from Europe to the sun. Here, we'll be doing the opposite. In principle, the weather situation looks set to favour the development of fairly hollow and violent lows, a factor we'll have to take into account. The idea is to climb northwards and get around the Azores anticyclone. As far as the Azores archipelago, you can position the cursor as you like. We'll have to find the right compromise between speed and safety. Once we've passed this anticyclone, we'll be in the south-westerly, westerly or even north-westerly flow linked to the circulation of lows over the North Atlantic. We'll then have a third of the way to go in more low- pressure conditions. "

Race calendar 2023 - 2024:

  • Retour à la Base | Start on November 30, 2023
  • The Transat CIC | Start on April 28, 2024
  • New-York - Vendée - Les Sables d'Olonne | Start on May 29, 2024
  • Défi Azimut Lorient Agglomération | Start in September 2023
  • Vendée Globe | Start on November 10, 2024

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