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L'Occitane Sailing Team hopes to be able to restart The Transat CIC soon

by L'Occitane Sailing Team 9 May 08:59 PDT
L'Occitane Sailing Team - The Transat CIC © L'Occitane Sailing Team

After a week of uncertainty following the discovery of major damage on her boat during The Transat CIC race onboard the IMOCA L'Occitane en Provence, Clarisse Crémer hopes to soon be able to continue her race towards New York.

Recap of events

On 1 May, at 8:50 pm, concern was palpable in Clarisse's voice as she discovered a significant crack of nearly 4.20 meters in one of the structural bulkheads of her boat. After consulting the race direction and her team, Clarisse made her decision to divert to the nearest port, in Horta, Azores, a 500 nautical miles sail.

On 2 May, Clarisse managed to stabilize the damaged area using spare parts on board and prepared herself to take her boat safely to Horta. As ever the weather was not straightforward on the transit to the safe haven of Marina da Horta. Meanwhile, her technical team drew up the repair plan and started to assemble on the remote Azorian Island to meet her, she arrived at the port on 5 May.

Due to strong winds and difficult weather conditions key members of her technical team and repair materials were unable to land in Horta due to high winds and were delayed by 24 hours, finally arriving on 7 May. This delay put further pressure on the team to work nonstop to prepare and re-fit a new section of bulkhead. Working in shifts the team's boat builders led by Technical Director Peter Hobson have been working nonstop around the clock.

Today, 9 May after days of hard work, the repairs are progressing as planned and no additional damage has been observed. The technical team is now confident that Clarisse will be able to set off on Friday to recommence racing.

A race for miles

Now the focus and objective passes to completing this demanding race. With the finish line shutting on the 20th May at 13.45 UTC, every mile towards the finish counts towards the Vendée Globe qualification, her ultimate goal.

This grueling Transatlantic race has seen several competitors abandon the race. This is not an option for Clarisse as she fights for her place on the Vendée Globe start line. Indeed, she finds herself in a situation where not only does she have to finish this race but she also needs to take the start and finish the transatlantic back to France, the final race of the year, the New York to Vendée. This will be the last opportunity for miles.

Clarisse's words:

"It's always difficult to find yourself in this kind of situation, first there's the worry for your boat, then the stress of not finishing the race, the fact of seeing the other competitors arrive safely after magnificent races... but in reality I'm in a pretty good frame of mind. I quickly accepted the situation and concentrated on my objectives day after day. As soon as the team had the boat in their hands on Sunday evening, I felt all their energy to get me back on the water as quickly as possible, and that was very touching and comforting. I see them working day and night on the project, and that's really part of the adventure. It's an extension of what I can experience at sea, and I'll have all these images in my head when the going gets tough. So today it's essentially gratitude and hope that I'm feeling; I can't wait to set out again to tackle The Transat CIC."

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