The fleet of the 15th Coffee Route crosses the Bay of Biscay slowly towards Finisterre

Le Havre (Francia)



In just over two days of regatta, the fleet of the 15th Transat Jacques Vabre is positioned diagonally across the Bay of Biscay between the island of Ouessant and the northern coast of Galicia; sailing in front the Ultim 32/23 «Gitana 17» and «SVR – Lazartigue» multihulls.

The first abandonment of the fleet took place late last Sunday, around 11:30 p.m. on November 7, sailing north of the island of Guernsey when the IMOCA «Bureau Vallée» mast broke – at that time it was sailing in second position of the Class-; from on board they reported that the noise seemed like an implosion: “We are coming to our senses. We had a very busy night to recover on board everything that was in the water: the sails, the pieces of masts, the rigging, etc. We had a difficult night. For the moment, we are focused on finish taking the boat to Saint-Malo and then we will try to understand what happened.

The surprising thing is that, despite the high tide coefficients, the sea was not bad. There were 15 knots of wind, the boat was going fast, but without forcing. We heard a rather impressive noise half an hour before dismantling. We wondered if we had hit something. We checked everything and the load cells, but nothing had moved. We carried the mainsail complete with a headsail. Our speed was 18-19 knots when it broke. The first sound was like an explosion, the mast did not fall, it imploded. Then there was a creak and we heard a knock on the deck. Then we realized that the mast had fallen.

We were not in difficult sea and wind conditions. So either we had a load cell that wasn’t giving us the correct information, or a part had broken. The idea is to see if we can find another mast relatively quickly so that we can be ready as soon as possible to sail again ”.

At 4:00 p.m. today, Tuesday, November 9, 2021, «Apivia» is the first IMOCA followed by another eight OPEN60 monohulls that little by little try to gain southern latitude towards the Iberian northwest sailing with very light winds, oscillating between 2 and 6 knots of intensity from the southeast. Charlie Dalin and Paul Meilhta describe the meteorological situation they are experiencing on board the «Apivia» as if they were crossing the equatorial calms of the «doldrums».

The Ultim 32/23 fleet did not have better wind conditions either until it reached the coast of Galicia. «Gitana 17» and «SVR – Lazartigue» were the first to reach the coasts of Lugo, at around 1:00 pm today, November 9, but both trimarans had to sail towards the northwest; A maneuver that three hours later favored the “Sodebo Ultime 3” manned by Thomas Coville and Thomas Rouxel, who now becomes the leader.

A little off the hook between the Ultim 32/23 sails the new “Banque Populaire XI” by Armel Le Cléach and Kevin Escoffier, about 60 miles from the first. But this scenario may change shortly the moment the multihull fully enters the northeast wind flow, its current speed of just 24 knots will rise rapidly.

A few miles from the «Banque Populaire XI» is the first Ocean Fifty, the «Koesio» by Erwan Le Roux and Xavier Macaire has an advantage of 22 miles over the second «Solidaires en Peloton – ARSEP» and more than 65 miles to the « Arkema »by Quentin Vlamynck and Lalou Roucayrol who are sixth.

“Koesio” is the latest addition to the Ocean Fifty fleet of fifty foot trimarans. A VPLP layout built in Persico. “We have designed an original structure, knowing that the client’s commission was to make a boat with the minimum weight of the regulations (3,200 kg for the platform). This allowed us to have a very broad vision and to test a large number of configurations with a view to optimize the weight “, explained Antoine Lauriot Prévost, responsible for the project.

Well, its lightness seems to be complying with the low wind conditions prevailing in the Bay of Biscay.

The battle between the Class40 is still melee between the 45 monohulls. With a first group moving within a 20 mile radius, and the rest more than 25 miles from the first “La Manche #Evidencenautique”.

In that first scrum the “Redman” of Antoine Carpentier and Pablo Santurde is placed, who have been moving between first and sixteenth place in the two days and three hours they have been racing since they set sail from Le Havre last Sunday, November 7.

At 4:00 p.m. today, Tuesday, November 9, 2021, both sailors fight in a calm zone, the intensity of the wind is 0.3 knots; This situation remains within a 5 mile radius of your Class40 «Redman». Hopefully, before midnight the wind may exceed 2.2 knots in intensity.

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