Dismasting in Transat Jacques Vabre
Published on November 10th, 2021
(November 10, 2021: Day 4, 19:37FR) – 11th Hour Racing Team’s IMOCA Alaca’i is out of the Transat Jacques Vabre – the IMOCA fleet is now down to 20 boats. The Ultimes have flown along, the Ocean Fifty continue at pace, while the Class 40s are still crawling before they can run.
Briton Simon Fisher and Justine Mettraux of Switzelrand alerted race management this afternoon that 11th Hour Racing Team Alaca’i had dismasted just north of Cape Finisterre off the Spanish coast. Both sailors are safe and uninjured. This is the same boat that Alex Thomson guided to a second place finish in the 2016 Vendee Globe.
It’s the second IMOCA 60 to have dismasted after Bureau Vallée, skippered by Louis Burton and Davy Beaudart, was forced to retire on Sunday night.
Alaka’i had been the link between the leading group of IMOCAs and the chasing pack so there are now six of them in a significant breakaway group. Apivia is out in front followed by LinkedOut 34 miles behind. Then comes Initiatives-Coeur, Charal, 11th Hour Racing Team Mālama, and Arkea Paprec.
The IMOCAs chose to go around the Traffic Separation Zone away from the Spanish coast tonight – a move chosen by Charlie Dalin and Paul Meilhat, and followed by all the others. The leading boats are now enjoying a good 15 knots of wind whilst the following IMOCAs are struggling in the aftermath of that high pressure.
Ultimes – a return to light airs?
By contrast, the Ultimes earlier in the day chose to travel through the corridor between Cape Finisterre and the no-go Traffic Separation Zone. The fleet is very close, “We were side by side in the middle of the night with Sodebo, as we rounded Cape Finisterre, at around 40 knots,” explains Franck Cammas, aboard leading boat Maxi Edmond de Rothschild, “It’s tight, there’s a very good level of speed and tactics, which makes for a fine spectacle.”
However, there could be trouble ahead. After making a speedy descent down the Iberian coast (over 550 miles in 24 hours, something to be happy about in the Bay of Biscay “which has never been so slow”), there could be a new setback for the trimarans, continues Cammas: “The wind has already begun to weaken, so we’re going to have to set the boat up for light airs as we did at the Bay of Biscay.”
Ocean Fifty – what a bunch
The seven Ocean Fifty multihulls are bunched together with only 100 miles separating first from seventh. Koesio, skippered by Erwan Le Roux and Xavier Macaire, is still leading.
One of the favourites at the start, Leyton is in sixth place about 80 miles behind. Co-skipper Sam Goodchild told us this afternoon, “We’ve lost a few miles so we’re going to try and catch up with the others. We have found 15-20 knots of trade winds off the coast of Portugal, with a series of gybes to keep the wind up to the Canaries. Some of the boats got ahead of us and our little mistakes at the start of the race cost us dearly. But we’re going to seize the opportunities as soon as we get them.”
No change in the Class 40
Whilst the other classes have found breeze, the Class 40s are still languishing in the Bay of Biscay. Some of the boats have only progressed fifty miles since yesterday evening (averaging a painful 4 km/h).
Out in front is La Manche #EvidenceNautique. “We’re enjoying being first and we’ve decided to have an aperitif on board this evening to celebrate,” laughs Nicolas Jossier, Alexis Loison’s partner. “We can’t wait to get past Spain and start sailing towards better temperatures.”
Meanwhile, the maverick Polka Dot is continuing all alone on a far more western route. Only time will tell if the gamble has paid off.
Standings as of 18:00 (French time):
1. Maxi Edmond de Rothschild (Franck Cammas – Charles Caudrelier)
2. Sodebo Ultim 3 (Thomas Coville – Thomas Rouxel)
3. SVR – Lazartigue (François Gabart – Tom Laperche)
1. Koesio (Erwan Le Roux – Xavier Macaire)
2. Solitaires en Peloton – ARSEP (Thibaut Vauchel-Camus – Frédéric Duthil)
3. Primonial (Sébastien Rogues – Matthieu Souben)
1. Apivia (Charlie Dalin – Paul Meilhat)
2. LinkedOut (Thomas Ruyant – Morgan Lagravière)
3. Initiatives-Coeur (Samantha Davies – Nicolas Lunven)
1. La Manche #EvidenceNautique (Nicolas Jossier – Alexis Loison)
2. Volvo (Jonas Gerckens – Benoit Hantzperg)
3. Lamotte Module Création ( Luke Berry – Achille Nebout)
The Transat Jacques Vabre is a double-handed race featuring four classes of boats starting November 7 from Le Havre, France. At nearly 30 years old, having first run in 1993 and every two years since, the 15th edition in 2021 attracted a record-breaking 79 boats: 5 Ultimes, 7 Ocean Fifty, 22 Imoca and 45 Class40s.
The course endures often brutal winter conditions, with a shift this year for the finish, moving from South America to Martinique in the Caribbean, in addition to various mid-Atlantic turning marks for the four classes.
Source: Transat Jacques Vabre