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Posts Tagged ‘desjoyeaux’

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Screen Shot 2014-04-09 at 9.54.04 AMIf you read Sailing Anarchy regularly, then you know that we have a major hard-on for all things related to the French shorthanded offshore racing scene; from the larger than life Vendée Globe to the ultra-extreme Mini Transat to the pinnacle-of-boat-porn-cool maxi trimaran scene to the biggest spectator scene in the sport at the Route du Rhum, we love it all and go out of our way to bring it live to your web browser.

That includes the biennial Transat AG2R which currently sees a fleet of one-design, 33-foot Beneteau Figaro II”s racing doublehanded from Concarneau in Brittany to St. Barth in the Caribbean, some 3,890 miles away. The single most competitive ocean racing fleet on the planet, the Figaro class has put 15 boats on the line for this AG2R with a smattering of former Figaro winners, Vendée Globe vets and even ‘Le Professeur’ himself, Michel Desjoyeaux.

Departing Brittany on Sunday, the fleet navigated a 10.5-mile coastal route before putting to sea and immediately beating into the leading edge of a cold front. Upwind on port tack in big breeze, defending champs Gildas Morvan and Charlie Dalin on Cercle Verte assumed their position at the pointy end of the fleet alongside Mich Desj before suffering a port lower shroud failure and dismasting. The defending champs are safe after cutting the rig away and have motored to Port La Forêt.

Almost in unison, all 14 remaining Figaro’s tacked to starboard on the passage of the front and began reaching south in westerlies which gradually backed to northwest and finally to the prevailing north/ northeast flow. Currently sailing downwind off of Cape Finisterre, this AG2R has seen it’s first major tactical gamble, almost splitting the difference to the east and west of the infamous Finisterre Traffic separation scheme.

Screen Shot 2014-04-09 at 9.53.45 AMThe five inshore (easterly) boats are making out ahead for the time being with Classé MIni standout Gwenolé Gahinet and former MACIF Figaro skipper Paul Meilhat stretching out to a small lead over Made in Midi, co-skippered by former Groupe Bel IMOCA skipper Kito de Pavant who’s surely relieved to make it past Biscay and the separation scheme after being haunted by the region in the last two VG’s. Long-term forecasts show that the fleet will battle light air to reach the mandatory turning mark at La Palma before sailing downwind in the northeast trades to St. Barth. Mich Desj and Corentin Horeau on Bretagne-Credit Mutuel Performance currently lie in 7th, some 15 miles back from the leaders (and far west), while Roland Jourdain and Martin Pope on La Cornouaille are currently in fifth place at the tail end of the leading (easterly) group.

Check the front page and read the official Transat AG2R thread to stay hip to the latest on this under-appreciated and almost unknown race.

Transat AG2R site here, tracker here, standings here, Facebook here.  Photos from Dom Bonobo with more on his FB page.

 

-Ronnie Simpson

April 9th, 2014 by admin

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Screen Shot 2013-11-21 at 9.05.29 AM

A couple of days ago in the doldrums, Open 60 PRB – probably the lightest Open 60 ever built, caught up to Gabart and Desjoyeux aboard Macif, who’d been leading almost from the gun.  Young Francois and the grizzled veteran Michel showed what they and their latest gen VPLP/Verdier boat could do that night, putting almost 20 NM on the orange boat by morning.  But maybe they are a bit too fast.

Macif continued to stretch her lead until yesterday when her rig went over the side, not all that far from where the same pair last lost the rig off the nearly identical boat during the Barcelona World Race (though that was Foncia, sistership to Macif).  The duo cut the mast away and are proceeding under jury rig to Salvador de Bahia, and they are still fast, sailing almost six knots with no mast at all.  Check the short jury rig video here, and track PRB, Maitre Coq, and Safran as they fight for the win with just one day left on the course.  More from Gabart:

We were sailing on port tack under full main and big gennaker in 15-20 knots with a small seaway coming from behind.  An hour or two before we’d had some gusty wind but the wind was stable when the mast broke.  We were under autopilot with myself in the cockpit and Michel resting inside when the mast went, breaking a dozen meters above the deck, meaning 18 meters of mast in the water.  The standing part was supported by the cabin top/coachroof.

We turned downwind, fortunately all safe when it happened.  It took about an hour to separate the upper part from the lower part, making sure we could preserve the boom for a jury rig.  We’re both in the same state of mind: Sad and disappointed, but we are forward looking people and at these times it’s better to do that than to dwell on problems.

The Failure

Within two seconds of the first noise, the mast was down, so it’s hard to speculate on what might have happened…I suspect it was a tube failure rather than fittings or attachments.  We were definitely pushing the boat but in a very usual way and in normal conditions; certainly not the first time I’ve pushed this boat since her launch!

After the Vendée Globe, we stepped a lighter mast that would hopefully not sacrifice reliability, but it was maybe a bit more fragile in the harsh conditions of this TJV.  I don’t want to second guess much, because maybe the Vendee Globe mast might have been fine, but maybe it would have broken too.  

I don’t think our match race with PRB had any impact on how we pushed the boat.  We took a step back at times, our goal was to sail better consistently. We did not want to overdo it, we wanted to sail cleanly and even if PRB had been a few miles ahead, or behind, then nothing would have changed.”

Second time unlucky

“I have had two dismastings in my life, both in IMOCAs between Brazil and Africa and both sailing two up with with Michel . We think of the dismasting which happened two years ago in the Barcelona World Race. But the reasons are different. But there is the same feeling of sadness because all of a sudden everything just stops. At the same time we look to the positives, it could have happened at any other time and that would have been worse for us and for the boat. It’s been great since it happened in the Barcelona . There is no reason why we can’t follow on the same after this second dismasting.”

 

 

November 21st, 2013 by admin

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