Posts Tagged ‘France’
France’s Equipe and Voiles-Multihull blogs are sadly reporting that Jean-Pierre Dick’s MOD 70 Paprec-Virbac is up for sale after her nasty capsize before last month’s TJV. It should be the final death knell of a class that now has 7 boats built and at least 3 on the market, with no real buyers at all. A casualty of poor management and communication by the hodgepodge Franco-Suisse bosses as much as a dire economy in parts of Europe, JPD learned what most suspected and the MOD Class discussed before the first boat was ever built: These things really are just too much for shorthanded or singlehanded sailing.
So if you were thinking about picking up one of those ORMA trimarans, or maybe just looking for a record-breaker, and you fancy owning one of the fastest sailboats ever built, it’s a buyer’s market…especially if you have a spare rig lying around. Get your wallets out!
December 10th, 2013 by admin
UPDATE: This morning the Race Director posted an amendment regarding a postponement of fifteen hours to the start of the race from Sada to Pointe-à-Pitre. The new warning signal will be given on Wednesday 13 November at 9am. There are two reasons behind this new start: first, according to the race meteorologist, the fleet might encounter strong winds with a risk of winds gusting over 40 knots off Cape Finisterre. More importantly, the passage of a front overnight will cause heavy rain and very low visibility. To send a fleet of over 70 boats out at night into in a high traffic area where many fishing boats do not have AIS was an added complication in the circumstances.
While you wait, (and stay on the thread for the latest news), have a read of one of the most frightening accounts of solo ocean racing we’ve read in some time below. It’s from French Minista Arthur Leopold Leger, when last week he came within an inch of losing his life shortly after the start to the now-abandoned first leg of the Mini Transat. Extra special thanks to Europe’s best sailing site – Voiles et Voiliers – for the piece, to Anarchist “BitBrace” for the translation, and to Jaques Vapillon/Sea&Co for the photo.
Tueday the 29th of October: 5:45 am Douarnenez. It’s still dark out. I open the latest weather report. The system we have been watching for several days that will let us take the start of the Mini Transat is finally here. However the window seems even smaller then predicted; to round Cape Finisterre before the heavy weather we will need to give it everything from the start. I hope the Series boats will make it around in time as well… Maybe they wont and will get hammered, or will Denis delay the start again? Back to bed? Don’t think about it, its time to send it.
7.30 am, dawn. It’s blowing, the first boats leave the harbor. 709 and me are blocked in the end and we are the last to leave. These last moments are long, I am surrounded by my family which is nice, I see other competitors that are here alone, their families unable to come, or are waiting in Lanzarote…
Saying ‘farewell’ to my loved ones is an emotional moment, not much is said, not much is needed. We have all waited for this moment with lots of impatience. So much work, so much time, so much help, I think of those who couldn’t be here, thank you, what we have achieved is huge, even though our boat is small!
8.30, I leave the dock and the shelter of the harbor, and we are quickly in the thick of it, a steady 20 knts, swells, and occasional squalls, the start is going to be intense!
9 am, The start is off. I am at the extreme right end of the line, I start a little late because I don’t want to be over early, or involved in a collision, and most importantly I want to have room to tack as soon as I am over. Everything goes well and I am alone in taking the right hand option, giving me an added safety margin against collision.
After a few minutes, I tack and head towards the middle of the course, seems to be going well; even very well because I seem to be in the lead with the 2nd place boat crossing about 100 m behind me! A big squall with rain and a important gust arrives while we tack our way towards the mouth of the bay. Behind me is now Gwenole and his boat, Logways, his sail selection seems better suited to the building breeze, and he starts making gains on me, but we are still a ways ahead of the rest of the fleet.
Noon, We have covered 2/3rds of the bay, Gwenole and I are in touch, the wind drops a bit however, and I extend. It is now time to tack and lay the point of Raz. Gwenole and the next closest group continue on the right side. I find myself alone on layline to the Raz de Sien, positive for the moment, I even ask myself why they continue so far. They finally tack, and I am still happy with my position, they seem to have sailed much farther then needed. The minutes pass, and now they look very fast, their progress on the horizon is impressive. I understand now that they found a different breeze which allowed them to ease their sails a bit and accelerate. I have a good lead but is it enough to get me out of the bay in first place? Well no, just before I reach the Raz de Sien, Gwenole and another boat pass me, and the rest are right behind me. Still not bad!
Ahead of us the Atlantic opens up. Direction: Lanzarote
As soon as I am clear of the Raz, I hoist the gennaker, and we start to fly at about 12knts sustained. Our group of frontrunners start to spread out, some stay high while others turn down and to the south, I chose the middle option. For the moment, the focus is on boatspeed. It’s blowing about 20, and a nasty sea state with 5m swells. A new squall is approaching, and I finally have to douse the gennaker, but continue to go as fast as possible.
We are now in the middle of the afternoon, the squall is passed, but seasickness starts to set in, I force myself to vomit quickly but difficultly, I haven’t eating anything all day, but I just take a pill and redeploy the gennaker. I lost some ground while dealing with my nausea, and my closest rivals continue their attacks, so the gennaker is out and we are off.
The sea is powerful and the sky filled with big cumulus, behind us rainbows appear and disappear, nothing short of magical. The only downside is the firehosing on deck, not 30 seconds go by without a wave exploding in my face.
Dusk approaches, with 2 reefs in the main, one in the solent and the gennaker up. The wind weakens a bit. I hesitate to shake out a reef in the main so I finally decide to shake out the solent.
Before going forward, I ease the main slightly to slow the boat a little, I clip into the rooftop safety line, and unclip from the cockpit floor. I crawl on to the foredeck and loose the reef in the solent and start my return across the boat. At this moment, my back is to the wind and I have a hand on the lifeline, I feel the boat suddenly take off a wave top and I feel myself go up and over my hand holding the lifeline, I fall past it and that force of the boat movement and my weight make me let go. I land pretty much head first into the water, and feel my harness go taut while my life vest inflates. A fraction of a second later, I am on my back being towed by the boat still underway. Quickly I reach for the autopilot remote to put the boat head to wind. Shit, its stuck under the life vest. I struggle a long moment with the waves that smack my back, and regularly slam into the windward daggerboard with my shoulder. The leading edge is painful and I start to lose strength and hope. Everytime I get my hand under the jacket a wave rips it out.
After about 5 minutes of effort, I manage to grab it, and finally I am saved. I push the button and don’t let go, the boat is supposed to go head to wind. Instead it tacks violently. I feel myself trapped under the boat. The sails all backwind, and I am now stuck behind the stays. The boat is heeled over because the keel is canted to leeward and the whole stack below is to leeward.
The boat drifting quickly which traps my legs under the boat, I feel the lifelines cut into my stomach, the harness is still holding me forward, the life jacket keeps my head above the water; well, more or less out of the water!
But the situation isn’t much better than before. Impossible to pull myself from under the boat. A hope comes to me, even though the boat is mainly moving laterally, it still has some forward movement. I feel the tension in the harness, so I decide to attach my 2nd leash to the lifeline against which I am, while releasing the other one, this should push me to the back of the boat and hopefully release me from under the side of the hull. This works more or less as I thought because after considerable effort I manage to reach the stern. Then fatigue hits me and I stop moving. I lose hope for an instant, but realize that within arms reach of my left hand is backstay cleat. I pop it, it hoping that it will ease the main and flatten the boat somewhat. In the following second, I feel the boat right itself, I even stay hooked on the lifeline and am almost lifted out of the water. But I immediately crash back in.
In a big moment of despair, I realize that when I blew the backstay, the mast fell. I almost forget that I am in the water with 4-5 meter waves, exhausted, and starting to feel the cold.
I am now at the back of the boat and try to get back in the cockpit using the semi-step built into the stern, but I can’t get my foot on it. Its moving too much and I am just too tired.
Finally I decide to try and enter the boat using escape hatch on the stern. I open it and pull out the liferaft with much difficulty. Once it’s out, I have to remove my life jacket to get through the hatch, because inflated it is too big. But impossible to unbuckle it under tension. In hindsight I did have a knife within arms reach that I could have used to cut it off, but I didn’t think of it at the time… cold and exhausted, I start to capitulate and resign myself to the hope that someone passes close to me soon.
A few minutes go by, and I realize that the boat is listing and low in the water, the escape hatch isn’t closed. At the same moment I see that the starboard side is under water, so I slide over it and into the cockpit. I turn on my emergency beacons, and tell myself that it would be good to free the rig to protect the rest of the boat. Barely through the first stay, I am almost tossed overboard again. So I wisely crawly back into the cockpit and don’t move.
At the same moment I see the top of a Mini sail about 50 m away, heading straight at me. He furls his gennaker and I see it’s Tanguy le Turquais, who was in the lead pack of the series boats. He slows down and passes close to me. I learned later that when he saw the look in my eyes, he immediately called in a VHF rescue, then stayed at my side so they could find me in the waves.
Ten minutes later they arrive, and despite the conditions, put out a tender to come get me. It is night and I am happy to see them and feel the heat upon boarding the PSP Cormoran!
So a huge thank you to Tanguy, to Commander Lore of the PSP Cormoran and the rest of her crew! I spent the next few days in their company as we followed the rest of the minis. They were very attentive and preoocupied with the safety of the fleet, as to be as available as possible within the capacity of their ship.
I am now on my way to La Rochelle. Our boat waits for me in the yard Loctudy were I will meet Wednesday morning with the experts…. What next? We will see!
The lessons? The drysuit kept the cold out. The harness kept me attached to the boat. The lifevest kept my head out of the water. The rescue came when the situation was dire. If only one of these was missing, or faulty, I am not sure I would be writing these lines.
November 11th, 2013 by admin
Today we give you the best Video Friday we’ve had in quite a while! We’ve got launching Optis, dancing Minis, crashing SB20s, a massive storm, and the final Little AC wrap. Enjoy them all, and enjoy your weekend from everyone here at Sailing Anarchy. Got an awesome video for next week? Send it in.
More foiling. More crashes. More interviews with some of the world’s fastest men and women. And of course, more Gretta.
You’ve been waiting for it patiently, so here’s the full, 20 minute long, 2013 McDougall + McConaghy International Moth World Championship final highlight reel from Penalty Box Productions. Enjoy!
We don’t know who he is, but this Seattle grommet has bigger balls than we do! Check this Opti-crusher out on a 30-knot day in Shilshole Bay last week, and note his smile. Also note the distinct lack of helmets, lawyers, and nanny-state, helicopter-parent sensibility. And someone, please let us know who this grom is; he needs some SA gear and we’re gonna get him some.
The same St. Jude storms that threw the Mini Transat and TJV into such disarray also did a number on Scandinavia. The storms were the most powerful to hit Northern Europe in more than a decade, and billions in property damage, hundreds of boats destroyed, and 16 deaths are the weather’s legacy. Here’s a look at what 120 knot winds look like on the Svenburg Sund in Denmark, and there’s more video here.
Target Rich Environment
Sometimes, hitting those puffy inflatable tubes is just too tempting. This from last month’s SB20 Worlds in Hyeres, where someone must have painted targets all over the RIB at the pin end of the line. Chat here and thanks to Presuming Ed for this one.
Nothing To Do But Dance
With about 6 weeks of delays, postponements, and other misadventures, the Minis are indeed restless – none more so than the handful of prototype skippers who made it to Sada while the rest of the fleet ended up…elsewhere. They put together this little tribute to the Mini Transat Race Committee; it’s sort-of called “Where’s The Race Committee” and it should crack you up even if you don’t speak French. Latest on the Mini fleet (including another boat lost on the delivery) here. Thanks to the Moody Frog for this one.
November 8th, 2013 by admin
Not every minista gets Roland Jourdain aboard for last minute prep, but not every minista is a long-time trusted Veolia staffer. Here’s a hauntingly pretty look at Pifou Dargnies’ final hours before the (now aborted) first leg of the Mini Transat. If you’re looking for news, go here, and if you’re looking to see what huge waves look like on a little mini in Biscay, here’s another vid.
UPDATE: Winning the ‘ultimate masochist’ award is Jeff MacFarlane, who is now trying to recover his abandoned and dismasted Mini while sourcing a new mast and sails. This guy doesn’t even know how to spell ‘give up.’
November 4th, 2013 by admin
Open 60-obsessed Ronnie Simpson gave us his look at the IMOCA fleet on Friday; Ryan Breymaier gets into the rest of the fleet below in a great ‘insider’ view of the Transat Jacques Vabre fleet, which is now postponed until at least Thursday with yet more nasty depressions battering the Atlantic. Remember to get in touch with Ryan’s Project USA if your company is looking for a new way to get some prime exposure, or some of your or contacts might be interested in helping fund his Vendee Globe bid. TJV thread is over here if you want to talk about the race.
The TJV start in Le Havre has been very similar for the last several years. Rain, with periods of clearing, windy, and squalls of hail. In between dodging hailstones, there are plenty of interesting boats on display, attracting huge crowds of French fans (mostly there for the crepes and pommes frites with a celebratory beer at the end of a lap of the huge basin), directly in the center of town.
The fleet this year includes 2 MOD 70s, 6 Multi 50 trimarans, 9 IMOCA 60s, and 25 Class 40s. While the other classes are interesting in their own right, the 25 strong class 40s are the most interesting, with a large variety of designers and boats. They are also interesting because they represent the type of boat that most of the SA readers would have the easiest chance of getting involved with.
In a mirror of the situation facing the class today, the easiest way to have a look at the 40s is to split them into the pro teams with experience, boats and budgets allowing the possibility of a podium, and the largely amateur teams who are there to participate, but who either are missing one of the three factors above to get on the podium.
In alphabetical order, here are the teams in the first category:
|Campagne de France||Halvard Mabire, Miranda Merron||Pogo S2|
|Concise 8||Ned Collier Wakefield, Sam Goodchild||Ker Custom|
|DUNKERQUE-PLANETE ENFANTS||Bruno Jourdren, Thomas Ruyant||Tyker 3|
|GDF SUEZ||Sébastien Rogues, Fabien Delahaye||Mach 40|
|Mare||Jörg Riechers, Pierre Brasseur||Mach 40|
|Tales Santander 2014||Alex Pella, Pablo Santurde||Botin Custom|
Campagne de France is perhaps the closest to the original spirit of the class. Halvard and Miranda live aboard the boat much of the time, while still keeping it in pure racing trim, and have a very limited budget. The huge experience of the two skippers and the careful tuning of a very strong boat keep them in the leading pack.
Concise 8 is the newest boat in the fleet, and its two young English skippers will be giving it their all to be first to the line in Brasil. Ker’s first Class 40 design is notable for its huge batwings on the transom corners. This feature is taken from the latest generation Volvo 70 designs as a way to dodge the average freeboard demanded by the rules, as well as creating a better sheeting position for the gennakers. The lower CG created by getting the freeboard down and the ACC style interior structure have allowed the Concise team to create a very powerful hull shape, which should, if they can keep it together for the first couple days of the race, stand them in good stead on the way to Itajai. Teething troubles in a variety of areas have hampered their sailing days pre race, and Ned and Sam have been feverishly working to be in good shape come start day.
Dunkerque-Planete Enfants is the first example of the latest Verdier series design, the Tyler Evo 3. Bruno Joudren and Thomas Ruyant are two very accomplished Class 40 sailors, and the Tyler is a great boat from French open designer Guillaume Verdier. This boat is capable of winning the TJV, with perhaps a slightly easier passage through the waves than the Mach 40, which is the favorite of most observers. The roof also offers significantly more protection than the Mach, which should allow the skippers to spend a bit more time outside monitoring boatspeed.
Skipper Seb Rogues has taken the experience of the first two Mach 40’s and tried to improve on it with his GDF Suez He has taken the same hull as Mare, moved the keel aft a little, added a bit more rake to the mast, and has eliminated the central winch, island and twin companionways in favor of just 2 winches on each side deck, with all lines lead around the roof through friction organisers. He has also gone for a classic swept spreader rig, eliminating the controversial adjustable headstay and straight spreader rig that the two first boats featured. His boat also lacks the kick up rudders of the first two; a lighter solution, but possibly a race ending choice in the event of a collision with debris.
Mare is the Mach 40 of German skipper Jorg Reichers and Pierre Brasseur, an excellent mini and Multi 50 sailor. This is the most successful Class 40 of the last several years, with wins in the Solidaire du Chocolat and Atlantic Cup [which Ryan was aboard for -ed], as well as a second in the Quebec St. Malo. While not underestimating their skill and will to win, Jorg and Pierre have their work cut out for them against the other top boats, as Jorg’s concurrent IMOCA 60 campaign has taken much of his time and resources, while the competition has been training hard and working continually on improving their boats.
Last but certainly not least is TALES Santander 2014, which combines the first effort off the drawing board of Marcelino Botin with a deck including a carbon copy of the Mach 40 cockpit. This is intentional, the team came to the Solidaire start in 2012, and found the layout which they felt was the most ergonomic and efficient, and used that as a basis for the new design, having been new to the class. An immaculate build, strong team, and great pedigree saw them far ahead of most of the fleet in this years Fastnet, with only Suez able to keep up. In fact, they beat a custom IRC 46 to the rock upwind! One to watch for sure.
These boats all have a great chance of being on the podium; the designs are all similar enough to keep up with one another, and the pre race preparation and skill of the skippers in mitigating problems along the way will be the deciding factor in the final rankings.
The two most interesting things I have seen in the Class 40 were the electric motor in ERDF – Des pieds et Des mains (see pic). The motor is the white Oceanvolt cylinder in the middle, and half of the 8 green batteries are visible in front of it.
It produces the same power as the diesel it replaces, and with the batteries, weighs the same. It is recharged at the dock, and is nearly silent in operation. It can be recharged by hydrogenerator or solar panels, and actually can recharge the batteries itself while sailing. Obviously this is not done while racing as it produces significant drag, but is perfect for deliveries. Best of all a lower center of gravity, and no fooling around with diesel tanks.
The displays look like Ipads but are not, and can change colors for night sailing, they are hard wired only for power, and the data transmits wirelessly. They can take input from any NMEA source, and have their own dedicated brain. Power drain is 1amp at 12 volts per display. More at Sailmon.com.
As for the multihulls, the TJV start in Le Havre showcases the best of the French offshore scene for this year, with the notable exception of a couple MOD 70 teams who are recovering from capsizes.
Remember that the MOD 70 is not really designed for shorthanded sailing, and a few modifications have been made to the two remaining boats to keep them from suffering the fate of the two MODs that have capsized already this season.
On deck, they have added constrictor rope clutches to the gennaker tack lines in order to not have to go on the bow to open the t-bone loop holding the 3:1 tackling. As well, around the cockpit they have added diverter sheaves and camcleats on the fronts of the grinders and at each helm station for the headsail sheets. This puts them in easy reach of the helmsman while on deck alone.
Virbac 70 was trialling a system (before her capsize) that included a 2:1 jibsheet of much smaller diameter, which would allow a much easier and more controlled ease of the jib in the event of sudden gusts.
In safety terms they have come up with one-line ‘failsafe’ to prevent any more capsizes; they now have a single line to pull to open the valves for both the mainsheet and rig transfer hydraulics, so that if they pull the line at the helm, the mainsheet eases, the canting rig transfers to leeward, and the valves remain open (easing) until the system is physically reset in the cockpit under the roof. It’s taken a couple of high-profile tips to get it working, but this system should make capsizing a much less frequent occurrence for the MOD.
They have also added a 350 liter water ballast tank in the transom of each boat, in the interests of keeping the bows out. Unfortunately this might encourage the teams to push harder downwind!
They have also added curtains around the roof and repeater nav screens to the inside of the roof, allowing the skipper not driving to “live” under the roof and be in closer communication with the guy on deck.
The match race between Gitana and Oman Air will should be worth watching.
The Multi 50 class is enjoying a nice period of growth as well, testament to the low-tech class rule, and good management, as well as interest from many skippers in a boat which goes faster than an IMOCA 60, for less than half the price. (1.2-1.5m euros as opposed to 3.5-4m)
There are a wide variety of designs in the class, mostly from VPLP, with the most recent boat being an interesting looking and quick design from Neyhausser/Verdier, Region Aquitaine/Arkema. This boat won this years Route des Princes, and its notable features are a complete lack of foredeck forward of the front beam, and a crazy looking, but probably very protective roof. The foredeck is replaced by a net going from the bow pulpit to the front beam, with the hull coming to a point under the net with lashing connections for the headstays.
- Tags: Class 40, France, imoca, le havre, MOD 70, multi 50, open 60, project USA, Ryan Breymaier, transat jacques vabres
November 4th, 2013 by admin
Update: the TJV is postponed to now start Monday at 2:15pm France time – Hannah Jenner took us through the weather here…
As ocean racing classes get more and more powerful, their wind range continues to shrink; first the ‘bulletproof’ minis lose an entire month to ‘waiting for the weather’ only to see their race abandoned after the start and a total clusterfuck of minis spread across Biscay. Now, a TJV organization already feeling the pinch after JP Dick’s MOD went over has thrown in the towel for the Saturday start of the world’s biggest double handed race, hoping for a Tuesday reprieve, while the MODs are doing some kind of ‘coastal’ thing while they wait for something less than terrifying for the ultra-fast trimarans to sail off in. The start was already kind of strange; the huge Classe 40 fleet lobbied the TJV organization for a much earlier start than the rest of the fleet for this edition; finally they might get to the finish in time to see the faster boats.
It was a nice dream, anyway! Most of the skippers are happy with the call, but a million-odd fans and hundreds of French media that help keep this event at the forefront of French sport won’t be. Is this the new reality of the French shorthanded scene, or just an incredibly unlucky autumn for North Atlantic racing? We don’t know, but we do know that you now have time to read Ronnie Simpson’s excellent form guide to the TJV, which follows. Photos from Christophe Launay, with a gallery here.
With no Vendée Globe, Barcelona World Race or Volvo Ocean Race this winter it would be easy to think that there’s not much going on in the world of top-flight professional ocean racing right now. Fortunately for all of us Anarchists, you would be sorely mistaken with this assumption as the Transat Jacques Vabre is preparing to begin its thrilling 11th edition on Sunday. With a fleet of 44 boats spread out amongst four one-design and box rule classes, this classic Transatlantic throwdown is celebrating it’s 20th anniversary with twenty-six class 40’s, ten IMOCA 60’s, six Multi 50 trimarans and two MOD 70’s racing doublehanded from Le Havre, France to Itajal, Brazil.
One of the premier offshore yacht races on the planet, this year’s TJV fleet reads like a who’s who of sailing while boasting one of the most technical, challenging and tactical courses in all of ocean racing. Beginning from the famed Paul Vatine Basin in Le Havre, France, the course takes sailors first through the English Channel which can be downright gnarly this time of year with intense weather, massive tides and fully one-fifth of all the world’s shipping traffic all positioned within one narrow, confined passage between two major coastlines. If the fleet manages to survive this first daunting test, they must next brave the often treacherous and boat-breaking Bay of Biscay, which has been battered by intense gales and low-pressure systems all season long, with more on the way as the fleet heads out. Once rounding Cape Finisterre, if they’re lucky, the fleet can turn downwind and begin running before the Portuguese trades.
Don’t assume it’s all fun and games from here on out though. Not only must the fleet navigate more heavily-trafficked waters, but they must do it in what is often a carnage filled heavy-air downwind romp, all the while battling their competitors through the first major tactical challenge of the race; negotiating the Azores High. After this first major battle of wit and strategy, the fleet will finally see some tradewind sailing before entering the doldrums near the equator, which is oftentimes a complete crap shoot. If the boys and girls in the race are lucky enough to escape without losing, or even better yet, gaining positions, then they will lock into a tradewind drag race in the southeast trades south of the equator.
Concentrating on boat speed, boat speed, boat speed, this fleet of nearly four dozen boats will then face one final challenge from Cabo Freo to Rio and beyond to the finish in Itajal as small low-pressure systems oftentimes rip across these waters, wreaking havoc on competitors both due to challenging conditions and the painfully slow glass-off calms left in their wake. Only one thing is for sure in this 11th edition of the Transat Jacques Vabre; there will be drama, action and suspense from start to finish. Here’s SA’s class by class guide of who to watch and why.
There is a clearly defined “A” fleet and “B” fleet in the TJV. The top 5 programs (MACIF, Maitre Coq, PRB, Safran, Cheminees Poujoulat) have all been training doublehanded out of Port La Foret over the past couple of months and the class winner will almost surely come out of this group. Of these 5 boats, 4 are VPLP’s with Cheminees Poujoulat being the exception. (Juan K design)
MACIF: With two Vendée Globe winning sailors on one Vendée Globe winning boat, MACIF is the boat to beat in the premier IMOCA 60 fleet. Reigning VG champ Francois Gabart has again teamed up with his Barcelona World Race partner and mentor Michel Desjoyeaux onboard the VPLP designed rocket. The duo recently won the Open 60 division in the Rolex Fastnet and have been training their asses off with 4 other boats out of Port La Foret (PRB, Maitre Coq, Safran, Cheminees Poujoulat).
Maitre Coq: Having acquired Armel Le Cleac’h’s VG runner-up Banque Populaire as the new Maitre Coq, Jeremie Beyou has a point to prove in this race. The two-time Figaro winner now has a sistership to MACIF and is keen to prove that he can win in the IMOCA class. Finishing an über-close second in the Fastnet race and putting in some solid work during the “pre-season”, Jeremie looks to exorcise the demons that have plagued hims since entering the class.
Cheminees Poujoulat: Just like in last year’s Vendée predictions, Bernard Stamm and “the sooty pussy” are again our dark horse pick. (The boat’s logo is a black cat sponsored by a chimney company…) The Juan K-designed boat was hampered by hydrogenerator problems in the last VG, but aside from that, has shown some serious potential. In the extreme and gnarly upwind and close-reaching conditions of the English Channel and Biscay, CP could excel and may prove to have an advantage over the VPLP’s, while also being notoriously fast when the shit hits the fan in the potentially heavy-air downwind Portuguese trades. Besides, Stamm is the man and an avowed Anarchist. Gut instincts tell us that Bernard likes the heavy air forecast for the start and may be able to push extra hard where other boats are throttling back a bit.
PRB: Many in the IMOCA scene believe PRB to be the fastest boat in the fleet, owing much to its light weight. The big question remains whether or not the boat is “too” light and fragile; a question we asked in Les Sables d’Olonne last year and are still asking after PRB broke in the VG. Skipper Vincent Riou is a tactical genius and Vendée Globe winner, and in teaming up with Jean Le Cam and his incredible hair, the duo may present the single biggest challenge to MACIF. If they can keep the boat together, watch for them to seriously contend for the win.
One of the most exciting divisions in this year’s TJV will be that of the Multi 50’s. With their biggest fleet for a major race in a while; six boats on the startling line; any of three or four could realistically win, making this fleet a fantastic one to track. Picking a favorite is no easy task in this class. The newest and arguably fastest boat in the fleet is Arkema-Région Aquitaine. A 2013 build in which Guillame Verdier had a hand, Arkema won the inaugural Route des Princes, besting three of the other Multi 50’s that will contest the TJV. Defending TJV champ Actual is also in it to win it. Skipper Yves Le Blevec has teamed up with VG star Kito de Pavant to form a formidable challenge at a title defense onboard their four year old boat. The third major contender is that of FenêtréA Cardinal. Also a 2009 build, the crew consists of skipper Erwan La Roux and two-time Figaro winner Yann Elies. Having mounted one of the greatest comebacks in all of sport to win two consecutive Solitaire du Figaro’s (2012 and 2013) just a few years after breaking his femur in the Southern Ocean and being rescued in the 2008-09 VG, Elies is an SA sentimental favorite any time he shows up to a starting line.
Arguably the most high-profile boat in the race is the one that won’t be sailing, after JP Dick and Roland Jourdain’s dramatic capsize onboard Virbac Paprec 70 a few weeks back. With their capsize, dismasting and resulting withdrawal from the race, just two MOD 70’s will be taking to the start in Le Havre on Sunday. No worries, if this summer’s AC taught us anything, it’s that two 70 foot multihulls can provide incredibly close racing and the TJV should be no different. The two MOD’s in this race are fortunately the cream of the crop, having finished 1-2 in the Route des Princes this summer. Skipper Sébastian Josse and crew Charles Caudrelier just won the TJV prologue onboard Edmond de Rothschild while their sole competitor OMAN AIR-MUSANDAM need no introduction. Skipper Sidney Gavignet and co-skipper Damian Foxall are arguably the two most accomplished ocean-going multihull sailors in the entire TJV. While short on boats, the MOD 70 class may ironically end up being the most exciting.
Not only is the Class 40 division big, but it’s also full of quality. Boasting the biggest fleet in the race and with any of probably twelve or more boats that could win, expect the leading Class 40’s to gross gybes all the way to Itajal. The odds-on favorite certainly has to be Sebastian Rogues and his current generation Manuard designed GDF SUEZ. The former Minista has been on an absolute tear this season, winning five of the last six Class 40 events leading up to the TJV. But don’t count out class standouts like last year’s Atlantic Cup winner Jorg Reichers aboard MARE, who is likely sailing in one of his final Class 40 events before moving into the IMOCA class. Another SA favorite will be that of 11th Hour Racing. Skipper Hannah Jenner is not only one of the most beautiful women in all of sailing, but she is also one hell of an ocean sailor. Having teamed up with an American to claim a hard-fought podium in the last TJV, she is using that same recipe for success this year in teaming up with another American; Rob Windsor. Windsor has established himself as a Class 40 guru and top-tier ocean sailor. We expect big things from them. Another one to watch will be the entry of DUNKERQUE – PLANETE ENFANTS. Winner of the last Route du Rhum in a 44-boat Class 40 fleet and ’09 Mini Transat winner Thomas Ruyant is co-skipper alongside skipper Bruno Jourdren and the duo will present a major challenge from the get go. The slowest fleet in the race, the Class 40’s will likely be battling a major incoming tide with up to 7 knots of current during the first night in the English Channel. Blink and you may miss a world class 26-boat navigational face off before Biscay. Stay tuned to SA for all your updates over the next three weeks as the drama and suspense unfolds in real-time. -
- Tags: France, imoca, MOD 70, ocean racing, open 60, Ronnie Simpson, route du rhum, TJV, transat jacque vabre
November 2nd, 2013 by admin
October 29th, 2013 by admin
The most recent stop on the mixed-multihull Routes Des Princes was the Trophee Du Port De Fecamp, and here’s a nice look at the action from the winning Multi 50 Fenetrea Cardinal, with thanks to EasyRide Video for the shoot.
September 9th, 2013 by admin
The Mini-Transat doesn’t give a shit about the worldwide recession, Sarin gas in Syria, or a France divided by politics and money. 84 boats are entered – the maximum allowed – with 31 of the competitors decidedly un-Francais. And this is no ‘enter and if you have to pull out, do it at the last minute’ registration process; there are a dozen keen racers on the waiting list for those that don’t have their shit together come 40-odd days from today, when they set off for leg one. Our suggestion for die-hard fans of sailing with a few weeks of vacation? After the Little AC ends in Falmouth, UK, jump in the ferry to Dournenez for an event that’s always loaded with Anarchy and full of some of the zaniest and most talented characters in the sport.
It’s not all roses though; bad stuff still happens to good boats, and RG650 builder Bret Perry recently shared some nasty news about a shipping mishap to one of his new Series boats.
Hull 7 of the RG650 Series Mini, destined for Valencia, will unfortunately never touch the water! Destroyed in seconds…This happened a while ago and we have been keeping it quiet to let the shock subside, but I can’t hold it in any longer. Check the photos and see for yourself the damage done when the containerized boat landed on its roof from 60 feet in the air. R.I.P no. 845; sorry I never got to meet you. You will always be a part of the RG650 legend…
September 1st, 2013 by admin