Attrition hits Transat Jacques Vabre

Published on November 18th, 2021

(November 18, 2021; Day 12, 09:28FR) – Attrition hit the Class40 fleet today in the 15th edition of the Transat Jacques Vabre, and while the pecking order in the ULtime is well-established, the race is very much on in the other three fleets.

Class40 – down to 43
The Class40s incurred two retirements as the fleet approches the island of Sal in Cape Verde – the crucial waypoint that will see them turn right and head west to Martinique. Their options are many; go round all the Cape Verde islands or slip between them. The only rule is to keep Sal on starboard.

“The question is where it will go best, there are still windless areas. It looks like it will be good to go south to get the trade winds, so we’ll probably do the long way around,” concludes Simon Koster (Banque du Léman).

With the front of the fleet having compressed overnight, Britons Brian Thompson and Alistair Richardson continue to sit in the leading pack. However, there’s a chasing group, that includes Croatia Full of Life co-skippered by former world champion skier Ivica Kostelic and Japan’s Masa Suzuki aboard Milai, who are steaming in and could really mix up the leaderboard.

HBF – Reforest’action was the first to withdraw today after Kito de Pavant and Gwen Gbick saw their bowsprit explode under the pressure of the gennaker while sailing at 20 knots. Next casualty was Tanguy Duchatelet and Fabrice Renouard, aboard Lenzi – Lanternes de Paris which could not continue due to their two spinnakers being damaged beyond repair, plus other problems which included the bowsprit.

IMOCA – leader grows her advantage
Leader LinkedOut is widening the gap on its two closest rivals Charal and Apivia. The doldrums have so far not slowed the leading 60 footers too much although there’s still a long 250 miles ahead of them before they escape.

The chasing group are making hay whilst the wind blows – under spinnaker in a lightly disturbed trade wind – but it’s not expected to last as the conditions in the doldrums are forecast to worsen as they enter the zone.

“There is a lot of uncertainty in these Doldrums, we have seen the frontrunners go much more east than usual, we are going to deal with it as best we can,” explained Loïs Berrehar (Nexans – Art & Fenêtres) on the radio this morning.

Briton Sam Davies on her older generation boat, Initiatives Coeur, is in fourth place 200 miles behind the leader whilst USA’s Charlie Enright is 100 miles further back in 11th on board 11th Hour Racing Team’s Malama.

Ocean Fifty – favourites for line honours
Since yesterday, the 50-foot multihulls have been on a speed run towards their waypoint at Fernando de Noronha. 60 miles behind the leader Primonial is a three-way battle for second between Koesio, Leyton and Solidaires en Peloton-ARSEP.

Earlier in the night Leyton, co-skippered by Briton Sam Goodchild, came out on top in a duel with Armel Tripon and Benoit Marie. An error on board Les P’tits Doudous allowed Leyton to escape but the competitive spirit on the French boat remains strong.

Ultime – full speed ahead
With 35 knots on the speedo, the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild is clocking up the miles towards their second course mark, San Pedro and San Paulo, which they will have to leave to port before setting course for Martinique. The challenge for the leaders will be to negotiate a second passage through the doldrums which is still not very stable and could well slow them down on the final stretch of the course.

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Leaderboard at 2300 CET:

Ultime
1. Maxi Edmond de Rothschild
2. Banque Populaire XI
3. SVR – Lazartigue

Ocean Fifty
1. Primonial
2. Koesio
3. Leyton

IMOCA
1. LinkedOut
2. Apivia
3. Charal

Class40
1. Redman
2. Volvo
3. Project Rescue Ocean

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.

Race Course:

Source: Transat Jacques Vabre

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