Right turn in Transat Jacques Vabre
Published on November 17th, 2021
(November 17, 2021; Day 11, 09:28FR) – The next two days in the 15th edition of the Transat Jacques Vabre could be crucial in deciding the winners. Lead changes are expected across three of the four classes today as the weather rolls the dice, and once the frontrunners round the final turning mark, it becomes a sprint toward the finish.
Ocean Fifty – searching for a way out
Lying 3rd, Leyton have made up nearly 100 nautical miles on the Ocean Fifty class race leaders Primonial since yesterday. There are around 300 miles to the little Brasilian island of Fernando de Noronha which is the most southerly turning mark on the Transat Jacques Vabre race.
Sam Goodchild and Aymeric Chapellier were quickest in the Ocean Fifty class this morning making over 17 knots, but – as ever – the British sailor remains cautious. “Are we out of the Doldrums yet? Well, that is not a question you ask or answer…when you say you are out you’re not!
“And we saw yesterday afternoon our friends in the west were going SSW at good speeds but last night they were stopped, which is good for us. We are not out the Doldrums and will just carry on going SSW until we get to Fernando. Yesterday was a chance to just catch up on rest, I think we both got some good longer sleep which was good, proving we really needed it. We are just plugging away.”
Later today, the class should break free and start to pick up speed towards Fernando de Norohna, the final turning mark before Martinique.
Class40: focus on strategy
The head of the Class40 fleet is getting closer and closer to Cape Verde and more particularly to the island of Sal, which they must leave to starboard before they can head across the Atlantic. However, the weather conditions remain complicated.
“The conditions are light and it’s not going to get any better for the next 24 hours. We’ll have to cross a zone of light winds before we can hope to find the beginnings of trade winds,” explained Valentin Gautier (Banque du Léman) in a note received last night.
The leading group has been caught up again and “our lead over the fleet will melt away like snow in the sun. We will be trying to make the most of it once again, as the next night promises to be one of the most important of this transatlantic race,” said the Edenred pairing last night.
Ultime: the miles are flying
This morning, the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild has a 300 mile lead over the second ranked Ultime, Banque Populaire XI. Franck Cammas and Charles Caudrelier have averaged much higher speeds than the rest of the fleet as they head towards the virtual course mark located 20 miles to the north of Trindade Island.
“It’s always nice to have a lead over our pursuers like that, it allows us to manage things better, but we mustn’t forget that in a multihull it doesn’t represent much time, so it can come back quickly. We mustn’t stop, we mustn’t have any technical problems and then it’ll be fine,” explained Cammas on French radio this morning.
They’re expected to round the waypoint early this afternoon before starting the ascent towards Martinique at high speed. At the rear of the fleet, Sodebo Ultim 3, who had decided to start racing again despite a weakened foil, is now out of the Doldrums and will be able to follow in the footsteps of her rivals up front and begin her descent.
IMOCA – the pressure is on
The high pressure, cat-and-mouse racing will continue into another day. At the front of the pack LinkedOut, Charal, and Apivia have broken free, leaving three other boats Initiatives-Coeur, Arkea Paprec, and 11th Hour Racing Team – Mālama, 140 miles behind them.
By the end of the day the leaders should enter the Doldrums, a zone that is becoming increasingly complicated. They will first have to find a favorable entry point to the east and then will have to slalom between the squalls and the lack of wind. A good 36 hours of nail-biting decisions await the skippers.
Leaderboard at 2300 CET:
1. Maxi Edmond de Rothschild
2. Banque Populaire XI
3. SVR – Lazartigue
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