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Transat Jacques Vabre 20.11.2017

20.11.2017
Britain’s Davies preparing to cross finish line in Salvador at 20:00 UTC
Britain’s Samantha Davies and France’s Tanguy de Lamotte on Initiatives-Cœur are due to finish the 13th edition of the Transat Jacques Vabre in Salvador de Bahia in sixth place in the Imoca class at 20:00 UTC.
Meanwhile in the Class40, the Anglo-Spanish duo of Phil Sharp and Pablo Santurde have slipped back to third place. The brutal reality is that their boat, Imerys Clean Energy, is a generation older than those of their two French rivals, who have sailed past them in the same wind. There is just over 600 miles of racetrack left down the coast of Brazil to find some magic.

Imoca

ETAs

Monday, November 20,

Initiatives-Cœur, 20:00 UTC

Tuesday, November 21

Bureau Vallée, 07:00

Generali 16:00

La Fabrique 16:30

Vivo A Beira 18:00

Wednesday, November 22

Newrest-Brioche Pasquier / La Mie Câline – Artipôle 01:00

De Lamotte and Davies, the popular duo, who finished fifth in 2015, and were both making their fifth participation in this bi-annual, double-handed Route du Café, fought back hard in this competitive fleet. They prospered, relative to their other captives in the Doldrums, as their easterly strategy paid out and they gained two places.

Davies, who grew up sailing on the Solent and has an engineering degree from Cambridge University, will now inherit from the De Lamotte, the Initiatives Cœur campaign and the powerful 60ft monohull for the 2020 Vendée Globe. The successful campaign supports the Mécénat Chirurgie Cardiaque charity, which enables children around the world to undergo cardiac surgery. The boat is a 2010-generation, but one that has been significantly upgraded with foils (it was Jérémie Beyou’s boat which finished 3rd in the last Vendée Globe).

After celebrating with her partner on the water, de Lamotte, Davies will be back on the pontoon late tomorrow night to see in her partner in on land and life, Romain Attanasio on Famille Mary – Étamine Du Lys, who is due to finish on Thursday, November 23.

It was another busy day in the Bay of All Saints with German skipper Boris Herrmann and French co-skipper Thomas Ruyant, on Malizia II, finishing fourth in the morning at 10:06:53 (UTC), followed in fifth by Kito de Pavant and Yannick Bestaven on Bastide Otio in the afternoon at 16:34:46 – a tremendous result given that their boat was 5-10 years older than those around them.

Herrmann, backed by the Yacht Club de Monaco, only acquired this latest generation foiling 60ft monohull (Sébastien Josse’s old Edmond de Rothschild) in January and is still learning to tame the beast.

Bestaven is well-used to managing close finishes in the Transat Jacques Vabre. He won the Class40 twice and will be casting an eye behind at the very tight race going on. It will bring back memories of 2015, when he won by just two hours from Maxime Sorel on V and B.

Class40

ETA: The leaders, Thursday, November 23, 02:00 UTC

Is it game over for Sharp and Santurde? That was the rhetorical question posed by his team today. The answer is “No, but…” Imerys Clean Energy, which had garnered a hard-earned 20-mile lead in the Doldrums, watched that evaporate yesterday as they crossed the Equator and was swallowed today as Aïna Enfance and Avenir and then V and B sailed passed them in the same wind. This is not about tactics, just pure boat speed in reaching conditions in the south-east trade wind. At 16:00 UTC Sharp was in third, 8.4 miles behind the leader.

The three boats are all Manuard design, but the two French boast are version 3 of the Mach 40 design and Sharp’s is version 2. It has pedigree – it won the 2013 Transat Jacques Vabre, and though it fell into disrepair Sharp has returned it to its former glory. But Aïna Enfance and Avenir was launched this year is built specifically to be faster in these conditions.

“According to Sam (Manuard, the designer) the new generation boats are clearly faster over 15kts of wind and True Wind Angle (TWA) between 80 and 120 degrees,” Sharp’s team said yesterday. “This advantage is evident: Aïna has managed to do 22nm more than Imerys Clean Energy since the exit from Doldrums – on average sailing 5% faster. Phil and Pablo will be working at a ridiculous pace to keep the boat at top speeds – in fact, they are sailing at over 103% of their target speeds, which is impressive, especially at this stage of the race, but this is simply not enough. Sam did a perfect job in designing the latest generation.”

Sharp and Santurde’s best hope lies in the hope of more favourable conditions overnight and tomorrow. They have about 100 miles of these reaching conditions before more downwind and lighter breezes on the coast of Brazil.

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Transat Jacques Vabre 19.11.2017

19.11.2017

Imoca podium decided as Class40 trio contract
After seasoned campaigners, Jean-Pierre Dick and Yann Eliès arrived in Salvador de Bahia yesterday evening (Saturday) to win the 13th edition of the Transat Jacques Vabre in record time – and with Dick claiming an unprecedented fourth title – the podium places were completed today (Sunday) by the next generation duos on SMA and Des Voiles et Vous!
Behind them are the races within the race that characterise the different preparations, aspirations and generations of crew and boats left in the fleet. The Class40 is shaping up to be even closer race than the three classes before them, with a lead three separating overnight. The Anglo-Spanish pair of Phil Sharp and Pablo Santurde (Imerys Clean Energy) still lead, but the 20 miles they earned yesterday at the end of the Doldrums has evaporated before the Equator with less than 10 miles between all three again.

Imoca

Reminder of the podium race times

Winner: St Michel-Virbac (Jean-Pierre-Dick / Yann Eliès)

Saturday, November 18 at 20:11:46 in 13 days 07 hours 36 minutes 46 seconds.

Second: SMA (Paul Meilhat and Gwénolé Gahinet)

Sunday, November 19 at 02:33:03; 6h 21min 17secs after St Michel-Virbac

Third: Des Voiles et Vous! (Morgan Lagravière and Eric Peron)

Sunday, November 19 at 14:06:44; 17h 54mins 58 secs after St Michel-Virbac

Dick revealed that they had lost their big spinnaker after Cape Verde, but were able to stay ahead without it. For his part, Meilhat said that they could not have done more to catch their training partners, but that both he and Gahinet were proud of the their race.

Read the full interviews here:

Dick / Eliès

Meilhat / Gahinet

The Imoca peleton are all in the south-east trade winds. Their road will be dotted with squalls. Those leading tight battles such as Bastide Otio, who are still holding off the theoretically faster Initiatives-Cœur, will want a good cushion having been reminded of how complicated and windless the arrivals into the Bay of All Saints have been, particularly at night.

ETAs

Malizia II, Monday, November 20, 11:00 (UTC)

Bastide Otio, Initiatives-Cœur, 23:00

Bureau Vallée, Tuesday, November 21, 10:00

La Fabrique, Generali, Vivo a Beira, 10/11/12

Class 40

ETA: The leaders, Thursday, November 23, 02:00 UTC

The Class40 lead trio have 900 miles to the finish and are averaging 10 knots in a well-established south-east trade wind. Anglo-Spanish pair of Phil Sharp and Pablo Santurde (Imerys Clean Energy) is ahead but his French pursuers from the start in Le Havre, Aïna Enfance et Avenir and V and B, have closed the gap and in their newer boats are theoretically faster in these conditions.

Having been caught up in the Doldrums, TeamWork40 and Région Normandie Junior Senior by Enernex have slipped back and are 50 miles off the lead.

Those behind face the Doldrums, but they have contracted and look a little simpler to cross than last week.

Multi50

Last arrival

La French Tech Rennes Saint-Malo (Gilles Lamire and Thierry Duprey Du Vorsent)​

Sunday, November 19 at 23:47:03, 2 days 15 hrs 57 mins and 44 secs after the winner, Arkema.

Les mots des partenaires
Jean-Pierre Dick, skipper of St Michel-Virbac (Imoca)

“This is the perfect race that I’d imagined with Yann. It’s amazing to be have been able to realise it. A fourth victory is great. I like this race, the duo side of it.”
Paul Meilhat, skipper of SMA (Imoca):

“We have no regrets, we feel like we have sailed well, but they (St Michel-Virbac) made the right choices too. We’re proud to be second behind them. It’s not because they have foils they’ve won.”

Yann Eliès, co-skipper of St Michel-Virbac

“I’m proud of the line that we’ve drawn. We traced a beautiful route, that’s curved, and sometimes…sometimes perfectly straight. Paul Meilhat (skipper of second-placed SMA) recognised it in one of the race interview sessions – he said we’d made best course, that’s a really nice thing to have said.”
Gwénolé Gahinet, co-skipper of SMA (Imoca):

“At first, we didn’t see each other much. We helmed a lot and as soon as we could, we slept. We avoided the mistake of not sleeping enough. We had a good level of intensity and care; we never shouted“

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Transat Jacques Vabre 18.11.2017

18.11.2017

St Michel-Virbac breaks record to win Transat Jacques Vabre Imoca class
Jean-Pierre Dick and Yann Eliès on St Michel-Virbac, have won the Imoca class of the 13th edition of the Transat Jacques Vabre after crossing the finish line in the Bay of All Saints in Salvador de Bahia on Saturday, November 18, 2017 at 20:11:46 (UTC), 13 days 7 hours 36 minutes and 46 seconds after leaving Le Havre, Normandy, France. St Michel-Virbac covered the theoretical course of 4,350 nautical miles at an average speed of 13.63 knots but actually sailed 4,652 nautical miles at an average speed of 14.55 knots.

On his 60ft foiling monohull, Dick became the only sailor in the history of this bi-annual double-handed Route du Café, in any class, to have won four times. The 52-year-old skipper from Nice, won the Imoca class in 2003, 2005 and 2011.

St Michel-Virbac also established a new record time for the Imoca class to Salvador with Dick beating his own record of 13 days 09 hours 19 minutes and 2 seconds set with Loïck Peyron on Virbac-Paprec in 2005 by 1 hour 42 minutes and 16 seconds.

16 octobre 2017, entre l’ile de Groix et les Glénan, navigation d’entrainement pour Jean-Pierre Dick et Yann Eliès sur le monocque 60 pieds IMOCA St-Michel/Virbac, préparation à la Transat Jacques Vabre 2017. Photo Yvan Zedda / St-Michel Virbac

Dick recalled today that was his first Transat Jacques Vabre win in 2003 into Salvador de Bahia in 2003, that really announced his arrival as a serious contender in the sailing world.

It was a first victory for Eliès in the Imoca class, after his Multi50 win in 2013.

After leaving Le Havre on Sunday, November 5, at 12:35 UTC, St Michel-Virbac has led since the early morning of Tuesday, November 7 as they crossed the cold front that battered the fleet as the passed the Bay of Biscay. One of six latest generation foiling Imoca in the race, it was actually the older generation, foil-less SMA that has proved St Michel-Virbac’s toughest challenger. That was something the two French sailors, Dick and Eliès, predicted before the start of their training partner, and SMA closed to within 28 miles in the Doldrums before of St Michel-Virbac escaped first and extended as the headed down the coast of Brazil.

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Transat Jacques Vabre 18.11.2017

18.11.2017

Dick coasting to record win as Anglo-Spanish duo re-take lead
Jean-Pierre Dick and Yann Eliès on St Michel – Virbac were a few miles away from a record-breaking victory in the Imoca class of the 13th edition of the Transat Jacques Vabre tonight (Saturday, November 18) and were expected to cross the finish line in Salvador de Bahia around 19:30 UTC.
Victory will make Dick the only person in the history of this bi-annual double-handed Route du Café, in any class, to have won four times. Dick, the 52-year-old skipper from Nice, won the Imoca class in 2003, 2005 and 2011.

A 19:30 UTC finish would also mean that Dick and Eliès will set a new record for the Transat Jacques Vabre to Salvador, with Dick beating his own record, of 13 days 09 hours 19 minutes and 2 seconds set with Loïck Peyron on Virbac-Paprec in 2005.

 

Behind them, in the Class40, the Anglo-Spanish pair of Phil Sharp and Pablo Santurde (Imerys Clean Energy) had a strong night re-taking the lead, emerging from the Doldrums in the darkness and taking 20 miles from their four French pursuers. But many of the 26 boats still in the race this morning, have not said their last word.

Imoca: „We’re counting the miles one by one”

ETAs

St Michel –Virbac, Saturday, November 18, 19:30 UTC

SMA – Sunday, November 19, 09:00

Des Voiles et Vous!, Sunday, November 19, 17:00

Malizia II, Monday, November 20, 12:00

At 15:00 UTC St Michel-Virbac still had 48 miles to go. They were sailing a few miles from the coast of Brazil, acutely conscious of fishing boats, UFOs and that the Ultime, Prince de Bretagne, dismasted on Wednesday, just 93 miles from the finish.

Having angled further offshore overnight, a lack of wind forced them to make four gybes back west yesterday afternoon allowing SMA to comeback 30 miles to 84 behind.

“We’re counting the miles one by one The race isn’t over yet,” Eliès, for whom this would be a first victory in the Imoca, after his Multi50 win in 2013, said. “We’ve moved away from the coast to avoid the fishermen, we have to be careful because they’re very small and low on the water. We’re happy to still have a big lead on SMA. We know we have a lot of room to manoeuvre but we don’t want to fall asleep.”

In 13 days of racing, Dick and Eliès, the heavy favourites at the start in Le Havre, have made no serious mistakes. They have patiently built their lead mile by mile and looked uncatchable since they emerged from the Doldrums. They have been helped by the fact that the other latest generation foiling Imoca all have new skippers getting used to their boats. SMA is a 2011-boat without foils. But their performance has been commanding.

“We’ve been analysing the race from the start,” Paul Meilhat, the skipper of SMA said. “And if we had our time again, we would follow the same route; St Michel-Virbac’s perfect. There’s no shame in the positions, it’s easier to swallow second behind winners who’ve sailed so well.”

Victory was a taboo subject for Dick when speaking last night, but he did recall his memories of arriving in the port of Salvador of Bahia, the destination where he announced himself on the world stage 14 years ago. It was his first victory on the Transat Jacques Vabre on his iconoclastic Farr-plan boat that was “my first real statement,” he said. “Another page is turning over and whatever the outcome of the race tomorrow, we’re very proud (of our performance).”

Behind SMA, Des Voiles et Vous! in third are gaining but not enough (251 miles behind the leader). Behind the podium, the race is on, with keenly fought battles throughout the fleet, which is all now grateful to be out of a Doldrums which hit their class hardest.

Class40: Imerys Clean Energy win on the west

ETA: The leaders, Thursday, November 23, 02:00 UTC

Phil Sharp and Pablo Santurde are not the types to just go with the flow. Having suffered at the beginning of the Doldrums from their shift in the west, they re-took the lead last night, sometimes advancing at 8 knots while the group to the East – V and B, Aïna Enfance et Avenir, TeamWork40 – barely exceeding 3. “The Doldrums have been really difficult, more difficult than I imagined, especially psychologically,” Sharp said. “A day in the Doldrums is a good dozen sail changes,” Sharp said. “I haven’t slept more than an hour in the last 24 hours and if the boat is in perfect condition, we’re beginning to get tired.”

Imerys Clean Energy made 206 miles in the last 24 hours, 24-30 more than their pursuers, who are now in their wake as they’re diving to Salvador de Bahia headed by the south-east trade wind. Imerys Clean Energy has 1,130 miles to go.

“Last night was hard as it was still a little soft, and our English friends cleared off,” Arthur Le Vaillant, co-skipper, Aïna Enfance et Avenir, “We’re a little faster but Phil (Sharp) knows his boat well. There’s not going to be much in it and we hope to get back in touch with him.”

The Class40 emerged from the Doldrums overnight and Sharp is aware that his second-generation boat is inferior on paper to the latest generation V and B and Aïna Enfance & Avenir in the reaching angles and speeds they should have on the coasts of Brazil. They need a lead if they want to be first to Bahia and had 20 miles at 09:00 UTC.

Multi50

ETA

La French Tech Rennes St-Malo, Sunday, November 19, 01:00 UTC

Les mots des partenaires
Paul Meilhat, skipper, SMA (Imoca)

“We sailed along the Brazilian coast all night, we met a lot of fishermen. Since this morning, we’ve had between 12-15 knots of easterly wind, we’re going pretty quickly under a Code 0, we were averaging 15 knots. We crossed La French Tech (Multi50) several times, last night we saw their light. It was our last night at sea, we’re not very tired; the late watches are beautiful, we’re enjoying the lights and the stars. We’ve talked a lot over the last day, we’re trying to enjoy being at sea. There are a few localised effects, we won’t be slow with the spinnaker at the beginning of the night. Even if there is not much wind, it can suddenly come back a little. We’ve been analysing the race from the start. And if we had our time again, we would follow the same route; St Michel-Virbac’s perfect. There’s no shame in the positions, it’s easier to swallow second behind winners who’ve sailed so well.”
Yann Eliès, co-skipper, St Michel-Virbac (Imoca)

“We’re counting the miles one by one, we cannot wait to be there but there is not much wind and we’ll have to gybe a few times. It’s a beautiful sunny day for sailing into Bahia. The faster the better. We’ve moved away from the coast to avoid the fishermen, we have to be careful because they’re very small and low on the water. We’ll see them again when we come back to the coast in a few hours, they’re nice, some came to see us yesterday. Once we passed the Doldrums, we’ve been sailing on long gybes and that immediatel allowed us time to recover pretty well. It’s very difficult to know what kind of state you’re in when you’re at sea. We’ll find out back on land, but we’re relatively fit, I think. For this last day, we’re keeping the same watch system, we’re try to stay in race mode; there are a few stupid things to avoid. The race isn’t over yet, we’ll tell you everything when you get there; we’re happy to still have a big lead on SMA. We know we have a lot of room to manoeuvre but we don’t want to fall asleep. Jean-Pierre and I talk a lot about strategy and routes. JP is very logical, there’s a reason for everything. Everything’s gone well, but we spare a thought for those behind (who were unlucky in the Doldrums). At the moment, we’re enjoying it, we are savouring it…Another 8-10 hours of sailing and it’ll be over. We’re doing our best to arrive before sunset.”

Arthur Le Vaillant, co-skipper, Aïna Enfance et Avenir (Class40)

“We’re out of the Doldrums! Now we’ve got good conditions to get to Salvador de Bahia quickly. Last night was hard as it was still a little soft, and our English friends cleared off. We’re trying to keep pace, us and V and B can see each other well, we’re almost equal, they’re 3 miles ahead, we guess its their sail, there’s no AIS, so it’s not easy to see its speed. I am on watch, there’s a small squall ahead, I’m trimming, I’m trying to find an opening. We’re a little faster but Phil (Sharp) knows his boat well. There’s not going to be much in it and we hope to get back in touch with him. We don’t know (if we can do it) but we know that it will be tight. We hope that there will be some opportunities, but normally it’s just straight to the finish line!”
Phil Sharp, skipper, Imerys Clean Energy (Class40)

„We’re doing a change of sail, it’s normal in the Doldrums! We’ve made a dozen changes of sail a day, these last few days in the Doldrums have been really difficult, more difficult than I imagined, especially psychologically. Yesterday’s wind was amazing, we had 2 or 3 hours with 25 and 35 knots, under the little spinnaker, and then nothing, for hours…Tonight is decisive, it’s the last before the change of conditions. We would like to get out (of the Doldrums) in the lead because in reaching conditions, we know that we are slower than the third generation boats. After Cape Verde, we downloaded (weather) files that were pushing us to go to the west. This is something we could not really contr

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Transat Jacques Vabre 17.11.2017

17.11.2017

Dick eyes record books as hungry peloton battles behind podium
Jean-Pierre Dick and Yann Eliès on St Michel – Virbac are predicted to complete a commanding victory in the Imoca class of the 13th edition of the Transat Jacques Vabre tomorrow (Saturday, November 18) at 21:00 UTC.
It would be a record-breaking victory for Dick, who would become the only person in the history of this bi-annual double-handed race, in any class, to have won four the race four times. Dick, the 52-year-old skipper from Nice, won the Imoca class in 2003, 2005 and 2011.

A 21:00 UTC finish in Salvador de Bahia tomorrow would also mean that Dick and Eliès will set a new record for the Transat Jacques Vabre to Salvador, with Dick beating his own record, of 13 days 09 hours 19 minutes and seconds set with Loïck Peyron on Virbac-Paprec in 2005.

Imoca: Uncomfortable cushions, lucky dice and the sounds of Salvador

ETAs

St Michel –Virbac, Saturday, November 18, 21:00 UTC

SMA – Sunday, November 19, 12:00

Des Voiles et Vous!, Sunday, November 19, 23:30

“When the sound of flying fish fades, we hear the samba schools in Salvador,” Pierre Lacaze, co-skipper of Vivo A Beira, said yesterday from the middle of a sticky Doldrums, 1,150 miles from the finish.

But it is Dick and Eliés that will surely hear the sounds of the berimbau* first. St Michel-Virbac is reaching at 17 knots in more easterly trade winds off the coast of Recife in north-east Brazil with 330 miles to Salvador. They still cannot shake the determined SMA, who were still 112 miles behind at 16:00 UTC and waiting for any slip.

As Eliès has repeatedly said, quarter-joking, “we have a cushion it’s just not that comfortable.” There will be no relaxing until the line is crossed – particularly after Ultime Prince de Bretagne’s dismasting on Wednesday just 93 miles from the finish. Dick called that: “the worst accident that could happen to a skipper far from home.”

The podium places look take but behind Des Voiles et Vous!, Three other Imoca finally emerged from the Doldrums last night and have started to accelerate again: Malizia II, Bastide Otio and Initiatives Cœur. They were positioned east and were the big winners. Generali and Bureau Vallée 2 were the big losers on the west. The tracker reveals 48 hours of derisory speeds of 5 knots and the tell-tall zig-zagging paths of bemused sailors down the centuries in this unknowable passage.

“Obviously we had a strategy and thought east was best, but some were unlucky,” Samantha Davies, skipper on Iniatives-Cœur, said “It the biggest changes and distances lost and gained in the fleet I’ve seen in the Doldrums. Generali and Bureau Vallée really didn’t deserve to get dealt those cards.

Many teams, with record race times being predicted in Le Havre, took two days of food out of their boats and left them on the pontoons, and some are cutting it fine now. “We took 14 days of food and it’s going to take us a day longer,” Davies said. “We took food out, but actually we haven’t eaten as much as our daily ration allows.”

*A musical Brazilian bow, used especially in the Bahia region to accompany capoeira.

Class40: East is best?

ETA

Leaders, Thursday 23 or Friday 24 November

Anglo-Spanish duo, Phil Sharp and Pablo Santurde on Imerys Clean Energy now have four French duos to contend with at the front of the Class40 fleet.

Teamwork40 is now firmly in the lead group – just 14 miles separate the four boats, with Région Normandie Junior Senior by Evernex only 46 miles behind on the same trajectory as Imerys Clean Energy on the west of the lead group. But the gaps have opened a little over the day with boats to the east, including new leader V&B prospering most.

All five are far to the east of the trapped Imoca, keen not to suffer their fate.

But now extended over more than 6° of latitude (almost 400 miles) the infamous Intertropical Convergence Zone will be complex and long to cross. “We’ve had average speeds of around 2 knots – as Pablo (Santurde, co-skipper) said yesterday: ‘It’s like we have been cast adrift into the middle of the ocean,’” Phil Sharp, skipper of Imerys Clean Energy said.

The front five were making 12 knots at 16:00 UTC but they are far from out of it yet, as the Imoca skippers discovered, with the Doldrums extending south faster than they could sail out of them. For the skippers it’s almost like the Route du Café has re-started here. “The problem is that it’s going to be a very short transat,” Aymeric Chappellier, skipper of Aïna Enfance et Avenir, said. “The ranking on exit (of the Doldrums) will be similar to the final ranking and it feels hard that the whole transat will decided by the Doldrums.” Behind the Club of Five, the fleet is very scattered. Colombre XL and Le Lion d’or will enter the Doldrums tomorrow.

Phil Sharp, skipper, Imerys Clean Energy (Class40) interview here

Multi50: One boat left

ETA

La French Tech Rennes St-Malo, Sunday, November 19, 13:00 UTC

Réauté Chocolat finished third at 08:19:22 (UTC), 11 days, 19 hours 44 minutes and 22 seconds after leaving Le Havre, Normandy, France and 1 day 0 hours 30 minutes and 3 seconds behind the winner, Arkema.

French Tech Rennes St-Malo is expected to be the fourth and last of the six Multi50 that started to cross the line on Sunday.

Pit Stop

At 19:30 UTC last night, Catherine Pourre and Benoit Hochart left the port of Mindelo (Cape Verde) where they had stopped during the day to repair the damaged starboard rudder on their Class40, Eärendil. They are currently in 10th position, 490 miles from leader V and B.

 

Les mots des partenaires
Phil Sharp, skipper, Imerys Clean Energy (Class40)

“We’ve had average speeds of around 2 knots – as Pablo said yesterday: It’s like we have been cast adrift into the middle of the ocean… “Yesterday was the hardest day of the race so far, pushing us right to the limits of our psychological stability. At one stage we averaged 1.5 knots over 3 hours, whilst boats to the east were sailing between 4 and 7.5 knots. We were then hit by a large squall with 35 knots of wind, the boat took off and we covered our previous 3 hour distance in just 20 minutes! The centre of the large squall passed right over us, with strong flashes of blinding lightening and rain so hard it was like someone pouring constant buckets of water over you. Half an hour later, we were back to 1.5 knots…”
Samantha Davies, skipper, Initiatives-Cœur (Imoca)

“Finally we made it out last night, about 22:00 or 23:00. We were under a cloud and had unusual westerly winds, which meant that when we popped out (of the Doldrums) we had a 180 degree wind shift to south-east trades, which was obviously pretty uncomfortable – it was like being thrown about in a washing machine – but luckily it was only a 20-minute cycle. When we were out of that transition we happily going upwind. I’ve done a fair few (Doldrums), that was pretty hard one. I’m not sure it’s the longest, I think on the Volvo with Team SCA was long, but this Doldrums was one where the lucky dice were rolled. Obviously we had a strategy and thought east was best, but some were unlucky. It the biggest changes and distances lost and gained in the fleet I’ve seen in the Doldrums. Generali and Bureau Vallée really didn’t deserve to get dealt those cards. That’s pretty bad luck. We took 14 days of food and it’s going to take us a day longer. We took food out, but we have pretty good food and actually we haven’t eaten as much as our daily ration allows. And we’ll still even have some treats. Initiatives-Cœur is 100%.”

Aymeric Chappellier, skipper, Aïna Enfance et Avenir (Class40)

Thursday overnight (UTC) “The problem is that it’s going to be a very short transat,” Aymeric Chappellier, skipper of Aïna Enfance et Avenir, said. “The ranking on exit (of the Doldrums) will be similar to the final ranking and it feels hard that the whole transat will decided by the Doldrums.” Friday lunchtime „It still wasn’t easy last night with random, crappy wind fluctuating between sod all and not much, but it’s the game we’re in and the same for everyone. It’s not often that after more than 10 days at sea 5 boats are less than 30 miles apart, for us it’s a war of nerves on the water, but back on land it must be fun to watch. The crew of Aïna is in great shape, ready for a new day of scanning the horizon, chase squalls and clouds, trimming, trimming, helming, dancing on the head of a pin to scrape a tenth of a knot – we won’t

 

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Transat Jacques Vabre 16.11.2017

 

Lalou Roucayrol and Alex Pella,
winners of the Transat Jacques Vabre in the Multi50 class !

FLASH
Thursday 16 novembre 2017

On 16 November at 8.49 am (French time), Lalou Roucayrol and Alex Pella crossed the finish line of the Transat Jacques Vabre in Salvador de Bahia (Brazil) as winners in the Multi50 category. After sailing from Le Havre on 5 November, the Arkema pair covered the course’s 4,350 theoretical miles in 10 days 19 hours 14 minutes and 19 seconds, averaging a speed of 16.81 knots. An outstanding performance for these skippers who managed to overcome both technical and physical hurdles to ultimately claim victory. Lalou and Alex also relied on the invaluable support of Karine Fauconnier who was in charge of routing from land.

Lalou Roucayrol and Alex Pella were well placed from the very start and always in the top two spots among the fleet of the six Multi50 boats in competition. On the strength of their respective experience coupled with an excellent partnership on board, the two skippers succeeded in pushing their machine in the steady wind conditions that it excels in. Throughout the race down the Atlantic towards Salvador de Bahia, the Franco-Spanish pair were engaged in a great duel with FenêtreA-Mix Buffet skippered by the formidable Erwan Le Roux and Vincent Riou. Although they had trained together late in the day, the pair at the helm of Arkema have achieved a superb victory, the first for Lalou in his ninth Transat Jacques Vabre race.

A performance that is all the more remarkable given that Lalou Roucayrol and Alex Pella have overcome a number of hurdles, to begin with electronic failures that were highly punishing, in particular for receiving weather data. In the fifth night of the race, the Spanish skipper sustained an injury when carrying out a manoeuver, brutally trapped between the boom and the winch grinder, which left him with two broken ribs. Despite these problems, the pair refused to give up, and have now claimed this splendid victory!

As the team’s weather strategist, Karine Fauconnier fulfilled a key role by enabling the Multi50 flying the Arkema colors to follow the best routes, indeed the routes that have taken the team to top place on the podium.

 

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Lalou Roucayrol and Alex Pella dropped several records * during this victorious crossing.

– Record of the distance covered over 24 hours in Multi50: 568 miles / 24 hours
The previous record, 524 miles, was held since July 16, 2016 by Ciela Village (Thierry Bouchard) on the occasion of Quebec / Saint-Malo.

– Multi50 Record of the Transat Jacques Vabre on the course Le Havre / Salvador de Bahia: 10 days, 19 hours, 14 minutes and 19 seconds
The previous reference time was held by Crepes Whaou! in 2005 with Franck-Yves and Kevin Escoffier: 12 days, 06 hours, 13 minutes.

– Average speed record on the Transat Jacques Vabre in Multi50:
16.81 knots on the great circle (direct route).
They improve the performance of FenêtréA-Cardinal (Erwan Le Roux / Yann Eliès) who raced at an average speed of 15.3 knots in 2013 (on a longer course between Le Havre and Itajaí).

* Subject to WSSRC validation

Transat Jacques Vabre 14.11.2017

14.11.2017

Anglo-Spanish duo retake lead as Doldrums fray nerves
As with Sodebo Ultim’s victory yesterday, the Anglo-Spanish duo of Phil Sharp and Pablo Santurde on Imerys Clean Energy are also showing in the Class40 that you do not need the biggest budget or the latest boat to be the leader.
With 60 per cent of the race complete, Sharp and Santurde, despite their communication problems and disrupted weather files, do not seem to be giving anything away to the theoretically faster latest generation French boats alongside them.

If the finish for the two Ultime in Salvador de Bahia yesterday was one of the closest in the history of the race – 1 hour 47 minutes and 57 seconds – the other three fleets battling it out in the Atlantic could deliver even more nail-biting.

The Multi50 has seen a stunning reversal at the front in the last 48 hours, the Imoca leader may yet suffer in Doldrums too and the podium battle is intensifying behind them. But nothing tops the Class40.

Latest ETAs

Ultime: Prince de Bretagne – Wedneday, November 15 night UTC

Multi50: Leaders, Thursday, November 16, 5 or 6 hours after Prince de Bretagne

Class40: Neck-and-neck

It was close yesterday, but this afternoon there was just 3.8 miles between the front three at 15:00 UTC. Sharp and Santurde (Imerys Clean Energy) took the lead back last night (Monday) from V and B, with Aïna Enfance et Avenir edging into second.

There is just 22 miles of lateral separation between them, with Imerys Clean Energy on the west and V and B on the east. Aïna Enfance et Avenir look like they’re just 4 miles east of Imerys Clean Energy; have you seen them yet, Phil?

Maxime Sorel skippered this 2015-launched V and B to second place in the race in 2015, finishing just under two hours behind. Aïna Enfance et Avenir is a latest generation 2017 boat. Imerys Clean Energy was new in 2013 when it won this race as GDF Suez, but fell into disrepair and Sharp has had to restore it. He will hope it can recapture all of its former glory in the next 2,000 miles.

The front three have been averaging 10 knots in steady 10-12 knot westerlies, but it was a tough night. “Last night was a difficult one as we sailed through the wind shadow of the Cape Verdes,” the experienced Catalan sailor, Santurde said. “The wind was light and shifty and it wasn’t until this morning that we were able to access some consistent wind. We are starting our approach to the doldrums, which could be a little bit longer than expected due to the lights wind ahead.”

TeamWork40 made up 20 miles in fourth in the morning, but has lost 30 during the day, probably due to the same Cape Verde effect.

They are all looking ahead to the Doldrums – which they should still enter tomorrow – conscious of the effect it has had on the classes in front of them and in the history of the race. The Class40 can get really stuck there. West is often best, and has been so far, but how much should the boats invest if it costs them miles in the approach. And before that they will have to struggle through the same soft patches in the approach that have slowed the Imoca.

Imoca: A soft approach and difficult Doldrums

St Michel-Virbac, so far, has avoided the fate of the leader of the Multi50 and countless more before them in the Doldrums. But Jean-Pierre Dick and Yann Eliès are entering another stretch of murky winds this evening and may watch SMA, 58 miles behind at 15:00 UTC, come back on them as they did this morning.

St Michel-Virbac, did not follow the last gybes by its pursuers yesterday afternoon, so they find themselves further east compared to SMA. That looked expensive overnight as the lead was halved to 28 miles. But the elastic of the Dodrums sometimes stretches both ways and it soon stretched back. Paul Meilhat, skipper of SMA thought last night that they would be out of the Doldrums in about 30 hours, so they will be out tomorrow morning. But their westerly position looks like it might give them a better exit. We will have the answer tomorrow.

It has been a slow and complicated approach to the Doldrums from the Cape Verde islands, with the wind going soft, and that has perhaps increased the pressure for the podium too. Still third, Des Voiles et Vous! is 135 miles behind the leader but has intimidating sight in the rear view mirror – 60 miles behind. Lined up in its wake is a phalanx of five boats, separated by only 40 miles and waiting to pounce on any a slip ahead of them. Ninety miles behind them and having the race of his life is the amateur Pierre Lacaze funding Vivo A Beira, with professional skipper Yoann Richomme. They are excelling on an older boat and have met some friends in the Atlantic.

Multi50: Was it the Doldrums?

For FenêtreA-Mix Buffet, the meteorological equator was an archetypal example of what the Doldrums can do to a race – maybe. Arkema seized the lead and was 56 miles ahead at the 15:00 UTC. Lalou Roucayrol and Alex Pella have just taken 160 miles in 42 hours off Erwan Leroux and Vincent Riou. The strangest thing is that Arkema managed this on very similar track. The Doldrums can be extremely localised and random, with the skillful and lucky managing to jump from squall to squall but it could be that FenêtréA-Mix Buffet suffered silently with a technical problem. The two 50ft trimarans have been in a south-east trade wind all day with 900 miles of racetrack left for the favourites, Le Roux and Riou to make a comeback.

Ultime: The lone boat

Stuck in the Doldrums yesterday afternoon, positioned well in the West, Prince de Bretagne is currently reaching at 25 knots in steady south-easterlies 100 miles ahead of Arkema. Without a generator, and having to rely on their wind turbine just to give them a little bit of autopilot, Lionel Lemonchois and Bernard Stamm are definitely not going to be able to take advantage of any weather files precise enough to help them shorten the road to Salvador de Bahia. Thomas Rouxel (Maxi Edmond de Rothschild), paid tribute to Prince de Bretagne, which is unique in the Ultime class and has not really been helped by the conditions. Very low on the water (the central hull is that of an extended Orma trimaran), Prince de Bretagne is probably, with the Multi50, the wettest multihull to sail on in the fleet. It still has 800 miles to the finish in Salvador de Bahia.

Pit stop

Technical stop:

Esprit Scout (Class40) is still on a technical stop in Tenerife (Canary Islands) with delamination of their hull on the port bow. They will relaminate in the boatyard tomorrow morning and hope to leave tomorrow morning.

Point café

Date : 14/11/17 – 16h06

Class40
1 – Imerys Clean Energy
2 – Aïna Enfance & Avenir
3 – V and B

 

Multi50
1 – Arkema
2 – FenêtréA – Mix Buffet
3 – Réauté Chocolat

 

Imoca
1 – St Michel – Virbac
2 – SMA
3 – „DES VOILES ET VOUS!“

 

Ultim
1 – Sodebo Ultim‘
2 – Maxi Edmond de Rothschild
3 – Prince de Bretagne

 

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Les mots des partenaires
Pablo Santurde, co-skipper, Imerys Clean Energy (Class40)

“Last night was a difficult one as we sailed through the wind shadow of the Cape Verdes. The wind was light and shifty and it wasn’t until this morning that we were able to access some consistent wind. We are starting our approach to the Doldrums, which could be a little bit longer than expected due to the lights wind ahead. No longer is the moon shining and we are sailing through a kind of sandy fog, so the nights are long and dark. Apart from that, we can’t ask for much more! “Life on board is nice, we are happy with our progress so far and there is still a lot to play for – so all in all we are a happy crew on board Imerys Clean Energy!! That’s all for now, cheers from the flying fish land; or should I say sea??”
Antoine Carpentier, co-skipper, V and B (Class40)

“We’re passing Cape Verde there is a little less wind and it’s a break in the battle. The day before yesterday, our routing was not very obvious, but we could see that there was a little less wind in the west. That’s why we pointed closer to the wind and accelerated. We’re really very close to Imerys and Aïna, we’re watching each other, without having them on the AIS. The Doldrums change so fast you have to see 48 hours before. We’re looking a little at what the Imoca and Multi50 are doing but we’re not fixed (on a strategy) yet. The Doldrums I have only been through once, and the memory I have in 2007 is a pretty good one. We didn’t stop. I hope it will be the same this year.”

Lalou Roucayrol, skipper, Arkema (Multi50)

“Here we are, coming to the end of the Doldrums and we did not hold anything back. We had big squall of 35 knots. We were under J1 we stayed upwind and quite close-hauled, to calm things down. We’d get through and then roll out the J1 in the soft and we finished with mainsail only, fully open at 25 knots. The Doldrums were a bit of a last chance to get back to Erwan and Vincent, so it feels pretty good. Everything will be played at the exit of the Doldrums and the arrival to Bahia! These are the angles that we like, the boat goes pretty well in these conditions, we know we have good speeds but nothing is won yet and we remain very focused. In any case, Alex and I are enjoying it. It’s a great race.”
Isabelle Joschke, skipper, Generali (Imoca)

“We’re approaching the Doldrums, very slowly, in a weak wind, and a calm sea. The night was complicated because the wind came and went as it pleased, we had to follow it. We have filled up with energy for the next two days that will not be a pleasure. We also took advantage of the calm to do some DIY below, and take stock of our food and water reserves. Currently we are slalom between seaweed, it’s is everywhere. This is forcing us to be doubly focused (to not get it stuck on the keel). And now that there is not so much wind, we’re seeing how the veranda which we move around and grind and which protects us from the spray, can turn into a furnace. Fortunately we packed a small fan.”