Transat Jacques Vabre : The Equator beckons

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Transat Jacques Vabre

As the fleet heads south the crews are absorbed by strategy, tactics and what on earth to wear. 

Ultime: next waypoint in their sights

The Maxi Edmond de Rothschild is seemingly unstoppable. Franck Cammas and Charles Caudrelier are smoking south at 30 knots just 600 miles from Trindade and Martim Vaz, the Brazilian islands they have to round before heading up towards Martinique. Their current ETA to the finish line is about a week.  Thomas Rouxel, on board Sodebo Ultim 3, concedes they’ll be tough to catch, “They have the lead, they are more comfortable with all points of sail, they are exceptional sailors, I can’t see what could stop them winning, barring technical damage or a twist of fate in the second Doldrums.

At the rear of the Ultime fleet, the Sodebo crew who suffered foil damage last week are crossing the Doldrums. They’re close to the leading Ocean Fifty boats and are effectively out of the race but that doesn’t mean to say they’re not pushing the limits where they can.  leaders. “We’re still racing because we are developing the boat, making it more reliable, making adjustments and working with our routing team.” says co-skipper Thomas Rouxel. “There are a lot of parameters to work on, but we’re still aiming for performance. We also want to enjoy it because sailing on these boats is exceptional, even if it’s not obvious in the Doldrums.

 

Ocean Fifty: down in the Doldrums

The entire Ocean Fifty fleet is now approaching or in the Doldrums. But the three leading boats are still dominating. Over the last 24 hours, they have covered more miles than Sodebo Ultim 3, which is in the same waters. Primonial continues to lead ahead of Koesio and Solidaires en Peloton-Arsep. As the Ocean Fifty boats are following a shorter route than the Ultimes, they are also expected in Martinique on 23rd November.

 

IMOCA – when light means tough

This Transat Jacques Vabre 2021 is proving tough on the monohulls. For days now they’ve struggled with unfavourable conditions and continue to search for breeze close to the African coast. The leading six today made their break, heading west to Cape Verde. LinkedOut has done best and has a small lead over Charal and Apivia.

Sitting fourth is Sam Davies on Initiatives-Coeur where there are more than just navigational concerns;

“Yesterday I still had my hat and fleece on, but tonight it’s different, it’s warmer. …we were looking for the stuff in our bags and we both agreed we’d packed too many fleeces, hats, gloves etc… my bag is really too big (as a girl I have the right to have a bigger dressing room, right?) Then, I finished changing into my shorts, I go back on deck but Nico continues to rummage in his bag.

“Sam” he says.

“Yes”

“I forgot my t-shirts”.

I suggest a solution: I share my T-shirts.

Nico will wear size 10 (or 12 if he’s lucky) women’s clothes for the next 11 days.

And he’ll do the laundry.”

 

Class40: Canaries split the fleet in two

25 boats have now passed the Canaries. This first half of the fleet is spread out over 400 miles. It is still led by the same boats: Redman and Volvo, positioned further west. The other half of the fleet remains north of the Canaries, 20 boats spread out over 300 nautical miles. Terre Exotique is rear guard over 700 miles behind the leader just north of Madeira.

 

Leaderboard at 18.00 CET

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

Ocean Fifty 
1. Primonial
2. Koesio
3. Solidaires en Peloton – ARSEP

Imoca 
1. LinkedOut
2. Charal
3. Apivia

Class40
1. Redman
2. Volvo
3. Banque du Léman