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Clarisse Crémer less than 200 miles to the Transat CIC finish line

by L'Occitane Sailing Team 18 May 02:02 PDT 18 May 2024
Clarisse Crémer - Transat CIC © L'Occitane Sailing Team

Clarisse Crémer is now less than 200 miles from crossing the finish line of The Transat CIC, a race she began over 19 days ago in Lorient, France on April 28th 2024.

Her imminent arrival in the US will mark a pivotal step in her journey towards earning her place on the start line of the 2024 Vendée Globe.

A series of challenges since the start

The Transat CIC has tested Clarisse Crémer with a range of meteorological, technical, and psychological challenges. The race started well until a structural issue with the J3 bulkhead was discovered after three days of sailing, complicating matters. After stabilizing the structure at sea and navigating a storm with her damaged boat, she successfully reached the port of Horta in the Azores. During this technical stop (allowable in the race rules) her technical team repaired the 4.20-meter crack in the bulkhead she had discovered.

But as ever in offshore sailing, it was not straightforward. The materials needed for repairs were delayed on the continent due to weather conditions, with no flights landing into Horta. In preparation for the materials arriving, the technical team cut out and cleaned the area and were ready to work for three consecutive days and nights to fix the bulkhead once they had the carbon templates they needed, this effort allowed Clarisse to resume her race.

Then came the second half of the race... Against the clock!

After a five-day stop mid Atlantic, Clarisse returned to the sea for a true race against time. She is currently in last place in the IMOCA class and she must cross the finish line by May 20, 2024, to validate the nautical miles required for her Vendée Globe qualification. Approaching the Eastern seaboard of the US, she faces changing weather conditions, with winds reaching 35 knots followed by calm zones.

Nail biting condition as the finish line approaches

This race will keep us on the edge of our seats until the end. As the finish line nears, Clarisse and her team must remain patient and focused on the goal. Once she crosses the line onboard her boat L'Occitane en Provence, she must continue to sail alone for over 100 miles to reach Newport, navigating a restricted whale migration zone with a speed limit of 10 knots.

It's all about the miles

The goal since the start of the race has been to finish before May 20 and accumulate the maximum race miles to support Clarisse's bid for the 2024 Vendée Globe.

With the 2024 Vendée Globe final selection process deadliine approaching rapidly, Clarisse must meet several criteria and accumulate miles to qualify. She has already validated the initial requirements by starting and finishing the Return to Base in 2023, ranking 12th and by starting this race the Transat CIC 2024 (the qualification rules state you only needed to start this race, but Clarisse also needs the miles).

Practically, she still needs to accumulate as many nautical miles as possible to secure her spot. 13 new IMOCAs have already qualified for the Vendée Globe 2024. For all other boats like Clarisse's, selection is based on qualification criteria and on miles sailed. The top 26 boats with the most miles will be selected, plus the 13 new boats and one wild card gifted by the Race Organisers, taking us to a total of 40 places available. Different races offer specific quantities of miles, adjusted by coefficients based on race conditions. For example, miles from the New York Vendée count as 1.5 times their value.

If Clarisse, on board L'Occitane en Provence, crosses the finish line before the line closes at 1345 UTC on Monday, May 20, she will earn the same 2950 nautical miles as the other 25 competitors that have completed the race so far.

Her goal for this race will be achieved once she crosses the finish line.

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