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Rich get richer in Transat Jacques Vabre

Published on November 5th, 2019

(November 5, 2019; Day 10) – The route to victory for Charal and the IMOCA podium in the 14th edition of the Transat Jacques Vabre may have just become lot simpler as the route through the Doldrums is not appearing complex for the 4,350-mile biennial double-handed race from Le Havre, France to Salvador de Bahia. Charal should enter the zone most feared by sailors tonight, following the two Mulit50s leading the fleet that are already in there.

“The Doldrums are not very active because on each side of it the trade winds are well established,” reports race meteorologist Richard Silvani. “In fact, the two anticyclones that are positioned on either side of the equator, at the Azores in the northern hemisphere and St. Helena in the southern hemisphere, favour an established synoptic wind.”

For the IMOCA, that are beginning to see the sky thicken, the trade winds are getting weaker. Charal has begun its deceleration, but Apivia and Primonial, the third Multi50, were still clocking up nearly 19 knots this afternoon. Charal had lengthened its lead as the field stretched overnight with Apivia escaping from USA’s 11th Hour Racing.

The gaps will start coming down now but the picture will not be clear until all the boats are out of the Doldrums. At the 15:00 UTC ranking, Charal, despite slowing down first still had comfortably the best 24-hour run of the lead group (407 miles). It led by 84 miles from Apivia and 150 miles from 11th Hour Racing.

The incredible resurrection of Thomas Ruyant and Antoine Koch on Advens for Cybersecurity has brought them back into a group of five IMOCA positioned to the west of the southern islands of the Cape Verde archipelago.

More than 1,000 miles behind Charal, Ariel II, skippered by the Finnish/Irish crew of Huusela / Fergusson, is doing the best it can with a very damaged mainsail since the Bay of Biscay.

Hugo Boss
After cutting their damaged keel from the boat yesterday, Hugo Boss is making for the Cape Verde islands, about 850 almost due south of where they are now.

At the front, Crédit Mutuel (Lipinski / Hardy) are continuing to extend their lead in a Charal like way. Britain’s Sam Goodchild on Leyton and Aïna Enfance & Avenir. are holding on, but in the more consistent trade winds they are enjoying than at the front of the IMOCA.

At the 15:00 UTC ranking, Crédit Mutuel, had made 381 miles in the last 24 hours, 21 more than Leyton and 31 more than Aïna Enfance & Avenir. They trail Crédit Mutuel by 51 and 69 miles respectively, but here is a more defined lead group of three boats now, with Banque Du Léman in fourth, 161 miles off the lead.

This long port tack south is not about great strategy, but rather positioning and especially maximum speed.

Aymeric Chappellier on Aïna Enfance & Avenir reported from the northern Cape Verde islands that they were getting sustained breeze of up to 30 knots at midday UTC: “It’s a little humid, and we’re getting a little wet. We have 30 knots and big sea.

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First held in 1993, the biennial Transat Jacques Vabre has three fleets of doublehanded teams – Class40s, Multi50s, and IMOCA 60s – competing from Le Havre, France’s to Salvador de Bahia, Brazil. The 4350nm race started October 27 with estimated race times as:
Multi50: 11 days
IMOCA: 13-14 days
Class40: 19 days

Source: Transat Jacques Vabre

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