Changes in Latitudes, Changes in Attitudes
Published on November 15th, 2021
(November 15, 2021; Day 9, 18:21FR) – The four divisions in the 15th edition of the Transat Jacques Vabre race are descending the Atlantic, each experiencing the conditions familiar with the changing latitudes. The Ultimes are escaping the Doldrums while the Ocean Fifty will face them next. The IMOCA and Class40 monohulls, meanwhile, are enjoying the African breeze and positive vibes.
Ultime: time for some speed
Lead boat Maxi Edmond de Rothschild has emerged from the Doldrums having entered them two nights ago. As to be expected, the chasing pack have cut the lead to 160 miles but Cammas and Caudrelier have now accelerated and will build back a big advantage on the rest who remain mired in the Doldrums. The leaders now have their sights on Trindade and Martim Vaz, the Brazilian islands that are the Ultime’s next waypoint, 1200 miles further south.
Amongst the chasing three boats are the new-builds Banque Populaire XI and SVR – Lazartigue. Kevin Escoffier, who has teamed with Armel Le Cléac’h on Banque Populaire XI, has vowed they won’t give up.
“There is still a lot of work to be done, we are barely half way through the race,” said Escoffier. “There’s still a long, tight reach to the mark, then a downwind reach to get back up, and finally a long downwind leg to Martinique. The road is long, I think the race will be less strategic than on the descent of the Atlantic, more of a speed race if there are no reliability problems with the boats.”
Escoffier is delighted with the performance of Armel Le Cléac’h’s trimaran, which was only launched earlier this year. “Managing to sail such boats soon after their launch proves that they are easy boats. And they still have a lot of potential for development.”
Ocean Fifty: Primonial breaks away
For some time it has been reported about the compact fleet but that all changed today as one boat has broken away in impressive fashion. Sébastien Rogues and Matthieu Souben averaged 3-4 knots per hour faster than their rivals over the last 24 hours – a performance that’s given them a 200 mile lead over Koesio and Solidaires en peloton – Arsep.
Primonial now has Fernando de Noronha in their sights, which they will have to round before heading for the West Indies. The Brazilian archipelago is 750 miles ahead of them… but to get their they must cross the Doldrums. At the rear of the Ocean Fifty pack are two stragglers sitting 500 miles from the leaders: Arkema 4 and Groupe GCA – 1001 Sourires.
IMOCA: sticking with Africa
For the moment, the 60-footers are sticking to the African coast. They are approaching Cape Verde and, unlike the multihulls who went before them, they all seem to be choosing a route to the east of the archipelago. No one is attempting the open sea; everyone is playing the regatta card, taking advantage of the better conditions (more wind, more pressure) coming from the thermal breeze created by the Sahara desert.
Within the leading group of six, it is once again Apivia, the most westerly, who is leading the way. Further north is a group of outsiders made up of seven IMOCA boats, of which two are not foilers. One of them is Kostum-Lantana Paysage with Louis Duc and Marie Tabarly, holding their own in 13th place.
“We were not at all set on doing this, that’s for sure!” said Tabarly. “We mustn’t forget that we launched the boat two months ago, we haven’t sailed many miles, so we are really discovering the boat. She’s a war machine! I feel like I’m on a magic carpet.”
Class40 – Positive vibes all round
Redman negotiated the tricky passage through the Canaries problem free to hold on to the lead from Banque du Leman.
Briton Brian Thompson aboard 8th placed Tquila was jubilant at getting a phone signal whilst passing the Canary Islands. “Just managed to log in on my phone here in the Canaries… what an amazing race so far…. Alister and I making a great team and enjoying the competition. Highlights for me have been the super close racing down the Normandy and Brittany coasts, the dolphins, stars, and moon.”
Leaderboard at 1800 CET:
1. Maxi Edmond de Rothschild
2. Banque Populaire XI
3. SVR – Lazartigue
3. Solidaires en peloton – Arsep
3. Arkea Paprec
2. Banque du Léman
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