Help needed in Transat Jacques Vabre
Published on November 11th, 2021
(November 11, 2021; Day 5, 19:51FR) – There’s drama at the head of the Transat Jacques Vabre as Ultime Sodebo 3 is limping to Madeira for repairs as the rest of the 100 foot multihulls power on towards Cape Verde. The Class40 leaders have finally found breeze at Cape Finisterre while the Ocean Fifty and IMOCA boats are enjoying happier days north of Madeira.
Ultimes – Sodebo runs for repairs
After spending much of the day trying to repair their starboard foil, following last night’s collision with an unidentified floating object (UFO), Thomas Coville and Thomas Rouxel have conceded they will need extra help. Their shore crew are rushing to Madeira where the sailors are expected to arrive tonight. It will be a race against time to get the boat fixed and back onto the race course.
“After having taken the mental blow just after the collision, the two Thomases quickly got back on track to find ways to keep racing,” explained team manager Jean-Christophe Moussard. “We exchanged photos with them to answer their questions, we identified the few parts we needed to repair as quickly as possible. We’re all in warrior mode, we want to go all the way, we’re not giving in.”
The damage occurred at 01:00 this morning north of Madeira when Sodebo 3 hit a UFO. The boat was in second place at the time.
Meanwhile the remaining four Ultimes are steaming south led by Maxi Edmond de Rothschild (Franck Cammas/ Charles Caudrelier) with 80 lead over Banque Populaire (Armel Le Cleac’h/ Kevin Escoffier)
IMOCA – and then there were 20
The second IMOCA to have suffered a broken mast this race has officially pulled out. 11th Hour Racing Alaka’i is now docked in La Coruña, Spain where a bitterly disappointed Simon Fisher (GBR) and co-skipper Justine Mettraux (SUI) announced their race was over.
“We just didn’t imagine this would happen to us,” said Mettraux. “We had a good start to the race, and were going well at the time. I am so sad to stop the race like this, especially as we have had such a good year racing together, the miles we have sailed and the experience we have gained. We are also gutted for the whole team who had helped us to prepare so well and got us to the start line.”
For the remaining 20 boats in the IMOCA class, it has been a good day’s sailing – 15 knots, sunshine and blue skies. “The race is only really starting now: since yesterday we’ve been under gennaker so the boat is going fast, it’s going really well and we’re managing to catch up with our little friends,” said Manuel Cousin, on Groupe Sétin-4myplanet where he and Alexia Barrier are in 16th position this evening.
At the front, Apivia is still ahead of LinkedOut with Charal and Sam Davies (GBR) on Initiatives-Coeur also in the hunt.
The Ocean Fifty make their mark
‘Solidaires en peloton’ (Solidarity in the peloton) is the name of the Ocean Fifty sitting third in the class but also an accurate description of the current situation. The seven boat fleet is bunched up in a square of 80 nautical miles by 80 nautical miles.
Erwan Le Roux and Xavier Macaire remain in front on Koesio but the others are all standing by to pounce.
Class40 – divided in two
It has taken four days for the Class40 leaders to reach Cape Finisterre led by La Manche #EvidenceNautique. Half of the 45 boats spent this afternoon sailing in 10 to 20 knots of wind but for the others the Bay of Biscay remains an almost wind-free zone. To try to escape the high pressure a small group has gone west.
“It’s very annoying not to be in the group that managed to get through the small mouse hole and into breeze. Yet we weren’t far behind, we fought like crazy to get the boat moving,” explained Jean Galfione and Eric Péron on Serenis Consulting.
It’s the same feeling on board E. Leclerc-Ville-la-Grand:, “It was a bit hard this morning, so we’re trying our luck to the west. Four days in slow motion is a long time. What annoys us is that we let the group go.”
Standings as of 18:00 (French time):
1. Maxi Edmond de Rothschild (Franck Cammas – Charles Caudrelier)
2. Banque Populaire XI (Armel Le Cléac’h – Kevin Escoffier)
3. SVR – Lazartigue (François Gabart – Tom Laperche)
1. Koesio (Erwan Le Roux – Xavier Macaire)
2. Primonial (Sébastien Rogues – Matthieu Souben)
3. Solidaires en peloton – Arsep (Thibaut Vauchel-Camus – Frédéric Duthil)
1. Apivia (Charlie Dalin – Paul Meilhat)
2. LinkedOut (Thomas Ruyant – Morgan Lagravière)
3. Charal (Jérémie Beyou – Christopher Pratt)
1. La Manche #EvidenceNautique (Nicolas Jossier – Alexis Loison)
2. Lamotte – Module Création (Luke Berry – Achille Nebout)
3. Volvo (Jonas Gerckens – Benoit Hantzperg)
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