Posts Tagged ‘imoca’
We welcome our friends from the Barcelona World Race back and thank them for their support and advertising with Sailing Anarchy! The BWR is a completely unique race, providing most of the adventure and challenge of the Vendee Globe, but adding the spice and flavor of a start in the fabulous city of Barcelona and the excitement and adrenaline available from the higher-performance of a double handed crew.
The additional body aboard also means the interpersonal relationship is a big part of the race, and with one more person to write/shoot/edit there’s more content as well. In just three editions it’s become one of the world’s greatest ocean races, and you can talk about the race here, and hit their Facebook Page here for more info. Here’s their big announcement:
The third edition of the Barcelona World Race starts New Year’s Eve, December 31, 2014 and will reveal ten duos or more on the start line, ready to take on the biggest and most arduous challenge in double-handed ocean racing!
Four high caliber teams have already announced their participation, including six co-skippers who return as BWR race veterans. Entered teams are the Mare Racing Team with German and French skippers Jorg Riechers and Sebastien Audigane, GAES Centros Auditivos with Spaniards Anna Corbella and Gerard Marin, Hugo Boss with Alex Thomson from Great Britain and Pepe Ribes from Spain and the recently announced Neutrogena Sailing Team with Spaniard Guillermo Altadill and Chilean Jose Munoz, to be joined by another six in the upcoming weeks and months.
The next edition will take a new course, taking the fleet south of New Zealand this time. Stops will be taxed much more heavily. The Barcelona World Race, a thrilling adventure to take competitive human sporting partnerships to the limit of endurance, has long since set its position as a ‘must do’ on the IMOCA Ocean Masters World Championship.
An innovative and exciting media programme using up-to-the-minute platforms will bring the Barcelona World Race to individual race fans and into households around the world, developing and reporting the sporting and human stories hour by hour and day by day. The commercial returns for sponsors and partners on previous editions of the race represent excellent value. And alongside the sporting challenge, the Barcelona World Race will open avenues for important scientific and marine research.
March 5th, 2014 by admin
Alex Thomson and the Hugo Boss team have proven masters at the art of the publicity stunt. With the widespread success of his various suit-adorned keel walking stunts, you’d think the rest of the yachting media would’ve long ago caught to this extremely effective PR tool. But the severe lack of creativity in those circles means no one else has, and that leaves us waiting every year to see how the Boss boys will outdo themselves. That brings us to this coming week, when we’ll see the full video of Alex Thomson doing something none of you has ever seen; a deck-to-masthead run and exit aboard the Farr-designed Hugo Boss that AT brought to an unlikely and hard-fought podium finish in the last Vendee Globe. Keep your eyes right here for the movie shot in Cadiz, Spain and first reported by Voile. Mark Lloyd photo.
Title from a TV show that you might’ve never seen, but you should have. Here’s a hint.
March 2nd, 2014 by admin
Having followed Bernard Stamm and his Cheminees Poujoulat program for years, we have a few lessons to share with prospective Open 60 skippers.
1) “Win or Break” may be a silly axiom, but when it comes to sponsor exposure, nothing is truer. And “Just Break” may be even more effective, especially when you pick the wrong designer and have no chance to win. Proof: Bernard and his sponsor have gotten more press since his Juan Yacht Design cracked in half on a delivery sail in December than he ever received sailing around behind the lead pack in any major race – except for when he crashed into an island. And then again he got a lot of notice when disqualified by the Vendee Globe for outside assistance.
2) As a follow-on to (1), if you want lots of exposure for your major race campaign, bring in JuanK to your design team. We’re not saying that any of the recent disasters were his fault – after all, a big boat is a big project – but between the Artemis AC72 disaster, Cheminees implosion,, and Rambler 100s capsize and near-death experience, nothing can get those journalists fired up quite like a JuanK boat.
3) Nobody takes care of their boats like the French (and their kissing cousins, the Franco-Suisse like Bernard). What American, Italian, or British skipper would spend months finding and recovering a boat that won’t even work as a garden planter? Remember during the infamous Route Du Rhum when half the ORMA 60 fleet was lost? Only French boats made it back, often upside down and useless. And guess what? Some of those boats are still sailing today. It’s no wonder the French can keep finding sponsors – the French sailors will just about die for them! And you’ll never catch a Frenchman polluting on the ocean. Unfiltered cigarette butts don’t count.
We joke, but only just. Keep up with the latest on Stamm’s busted up ride here.
February 19th, 2014 by admin
IMOCA’s Open 60 rule has a maximum width rule for the front of the boat; its goal is to prevent the ‘scow-bowed’ type of design that has proven so successful (at both racing and raising hackles amongst sailors) on David Raison’s TeamWork Mini. We’re not sure why IMOCA felt the need for the rule other than the fact that most sailors find blunt noses fugly, but to that, we say ‘speed is beauty’, and we salute German Class 40 performer Joerg Richers for having the balls to get it done.
We’re told that you’re looking at Joerg’s last-generation Farr-designed Open 60 Mare (ex-Foncia) under refit at the old stomping grounds of the recently departed Hubert Desjoyeux – CDK Technologies, which recently announced they won the build contracts for the new Safran (now without quick-release keel!) and Banque Populaire. And here we thought France was broke!
Mare will sail the singlehanded Route Du Rhum this November as well as the doublehanded Barcelona World Race a month later. Will a blunt weapon be a dangerous one? We’ll find out this winter. Stay in tune with the latest and greatest coming out of IMOCA world in the thread. Big thanks to secretive Anarchist “Kalitmotxo” for what we think is a world’s first look at the scowbilly Open boat. More discussion in here.
February 7th, 2014 by admin
One of the most popular foreigners in the IMOCA fleet, Swiss sailor Bernard Stamm continues to find himself cursed with the same bad luck that saw him DSQ from the last Vendee Globe and destroying his bow against a cargo ship in an earlier race. And this time, it nearly killed him.
Stamm and co-skipper Damien Guillou were delivering Stamm’s Open 60 Cheminees Poujoulat – a pre-fab metal chimney manufacturer with a creepy black cat as its logo – home from Brazil after the TJV, running ahead of a not-unusual winter storm with winds to around 50 knots and seas of 30 feet, according to the British Coast Guard (it turned out to be the deepest low recorded in the British Isles since the 1880s). When his JuanK designed boat fell off a wave, the boat literally cracked in half forward of the daggerboard casings, and only by immediately shutting the watertight crash doors did Guillou and Stamm keep the boat afloat long enough to be rescued.
The rescue itself was a super sketchy affair, with two helicopters and a plane attempting to either pull the sailors out of the sea or drop them life rafts – all efforts failed thanks to a lack of light and the huge seas. One aircraft remained on station, guiding a Norwegian cargo ship to the stricken Open 60 and rescuing the sailors as the boat sank underneath them. We’ll probably never know whether it was a design or construction defect that led to this near-fatal accident, but we do know this: After Rambler 100, Artemis Racing, and now Cheminees Poujoulat, Juan K might might be either a woeful designer or just unluckier than Bernard Stamm. And they both might be looking for a new career soon.
Here’s an interview we did with Stamm in happier days, before the last Vendee Globe, and get into the thread for more news and information on the rescue. Photo from Stamm’s earlier Velux 5 Oceans-winning 60, mostly to show you the kitty.
December 26th, 2013 by admin
For a decade, Alex Thomson has distinguished himself as the one non-French solo racer who can truly battle with the big boys both on the course and in the boardroom. Second in the inaugural Barcelona World Race and then an incredible third place in the last Vendee against far quicker designs, Hugo Boss has become synonymous with Alex and his Open 60, and they are clearly happy about it. That’s why the fashion house pulled the trigger last week on yet another 4-year deal with Thomson and management company 5West; they used the occasion to announce Thomson’s participation in the next Barcelona World Race with long time SA favorite Pepe Ribes, and the team also committed to next summer’s Ocean Masters NY-BCN race; a bit of a stunt to try to get US interest up in IMOCA action prior to what should be a well-funded, well-attended, and brilliant 2015 BWR. Congrats to Alex and his entire extended team; they are keeping IMOCA relevant for a hell of a lot of English-speakers.
Thanks in part to some of the same great supporters of Alex’s campaigns, we can confidently report that Sir Ben Ainslie – the first British member of a winning America’s Cup team in 110 years – is most of the way to meeting initial funding pledges and goals for the next America’s Cup and an all (or mostly) British team. While Sir Ben wouldn’t confirm or deny this when we spoke to him, other Pommie friends tell us that Ben’s been making great inroads, and probably has around 80% of the necessary funding pledged by a syndicate of UK businessman and long-time commercial sponsors. This all assumes a satisfactory protocol coming to light sometime before Judgment Day, and it’s spectacular news for the Cup and great news for fans of arguably the world’s best (and best-known) sailor, and we wish him all the luck in the world.
World Championship of the World
We’re also hearing that the AC45s may be done and dusted, and that 2014 will not be a year of ACWS racing of any kind. Meanwhile, Ben, Cammas, Luna Rossa, and ETNZ are likely to jump into the Extreme Sailing Series tout de suite, and some of the younger potential Cup B-teamers may get some starting and match racing practice in a resurgent World Match Racing Tour. Add in some cross training with the Flying Phantom foilers and you’ve got plenty of AC action for the next year, even with no AC. Good times (on tight budgets)…
December 19th, 2013 by admin
Our resident offshore soloist and francophonic rigger Ryan Breymaier checks in from the Nautic, with the first real piece of IMOCA news since Keith Mills Open Sports Management announced it would be trying to increase the commercial appeal of the world’s marquee offshore monohull class. Their first move: A series and a promo. Here’s Ryan’s take.
The Paris boatshow is France’s biggest non-sailing maritime event of the year. All the movers and shakers in the yachting industry are there for a show that’s open for 10 days over two weekends to offer maximum opportunity for visitors to discover the latest in industry news and developments. Historically the crowds are huge from start to finish and so I was very happy to attend the ‘pro’ day, reserved for media and maritime professionals the Friday before the start of the show.
They weren’t wrong, though they say the show was smaller than previous years, there was everything you could want for a boat or boat-related; from the fashionable blow-up SUP to a wood carving knife to information on the Corsican classic regatta to the brand new one-design flying cat… but more on that later…
What I’d come to hear was the joint press conference between Open Sports Management (OSM) and the FNOB.
OSM is the company created in 2013 and backed by Sir Keith Mills to commercialize and internationalize the IMOCA class. As part of their role, they will create new races and manage the racing schedule. They will also actively seek title sponsors for the class and assist skippers in seeking their own sponsorship.
Until now, the IMOCA class has been skipper controlled and has acted as the governing body of the class of open 60 boats used for the Vendee Globe and Barcelona World Race.
On Friday, at a joint press conference with the FNOB who organize the Barcelona World Race, OSM announced the “OCEAN MASTERS CHAMPIONSHIP” along with the inaugural NEW YORK-BARCELONA RACE, starting June 1st, to be held every 2 years.
The Ocean Masters Championship is effectively the new name for what was previous known as the IMOCA circuit. The championship will still run over a four year cycle and there will still be a points ranking amongst the skippers, based on placings within the full schedule of races on the racing calendar. The name was chosen because out of over 50 people asked every day at the race village prior to the Transat Jacques Vabre, not one member of the public could say what IMOCA stands for. (International Monohull Open Class Association). Sir Keith explained the new name like this (more or less): “Short-handed ocean racing is a sport that is based around the skippers. In no other sport do people race 24/7 in such tough conditions for up to 90 days non-stop. The racing is about the skippers and so the circuit is called Ocean Masters.”
The New York- Barcelona Race is really great news for anyone interested in seeing more major offshore events in the US. Bringing the boats to the USA in the springtime will finally provide US sailing fans the chance to get up close and personal with these amazing machines, as well as providing an excellent opportunity for US companies to get into sponsorship of shorthanded ocean racing.
The race will be managed jointly by OSM and the FNOB who have already a good experience with organizing a race from New York. The program has the boats going to Newport RI at the end of May with a race to NYC with media onboard each boat on the 24th. There will be a race village at North Cove Marina and a Grand Prix on the Hudson River on the 26th. Race start is on June 1st.
The potential is huge for the first American sponsor to get involved; both in terms of the marketing opportunities offered by the race start in New York, as well as beginning a long term relationship in a sport with undeniable values and an incredibly captivating story to be told in the lead up to the Vendee Globe 2016, singlehanded, nonstop around the world.
I am working hard to be on the starting line for the race and this latest news creates a great starting point for a sponsor willing to accompany me in my quest to be the first American winner of the Vendee Globe. We are certain there is a company out there for whom this is the perfect opportunity to expand their reach, both in the US and in Europe; it’s just a matter of finding them in time to be on the start line.
Finally, to help you all navigate the future of IMOCA (just so everyone’s got the jargon right):
Open Sport Management or OSM promotes the IMOCA class worldwide.
IMOCA manages the technical side of the class. This is still skipper-run and this is where the decisions about one-design, etc. are made.
OCEAN MASTERS WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP is the new name of the racing circuit,
FNOB is the organizing body of the Barcelona World Race.
December 11th, 2013 by admin
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.
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
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
Gutek’s Energa is possibly the most powerful Open 60 that will ever be built while Safran is a much more agile instrument. For a great profile on Gutek check out this link; Gutek’s tracker doesn’t work so well, but Safran’s ahead – track him here.
Big thanks to Bjoern Kils, New York Media Boat for being our eyes on the Big Apple.
Hit him up if you need any commercial or sporting work done in the NY area.
June 28th, 2013 by admin
To say Bernard Stamm had a frustrating Vendee Globe would be an understatement, but after seeing this video of multiple accidental gybes and other mayhem while he cavorted around the transom, the Swiss mountain man is lucky to be alive, much less finished the course five days ago despite the DSQ. Fast forward to around 0:54 if you’re in a rush.
More crazy stuff from the craziest race there is…don’t believe us? How about a little Tanguy Lamotte doing underwater basket weaving and McGyvering up a new bilge pump? Meanwhile, he’s just a few days out and has added 160,000 friends to the Initiatives-Coeur Facebook page. That is 13 children whose lives Tanguy and his fans have saved thus far. Still a bit to go – please go LIKE HIS PAGE to save some more lives.
Just a few more days to go before this one is in the books, and the ultra-marathon Vendee Globe thread continues to stay interesting…
February 10th, 2013 by admin
While millions around the world are paying attention to ocean racing via the closest Vendee Globe in history, the folks at the FNOB - the organizer of the Barcelona World Race – are jumping on the live streaming bandwagon today to capitalize on the attention. This is without a doubt one of the world’s best races, and when we heard a couple of months ago that the woeful Spanish economy wouldn’t end the race after just two editions, we gave a little cheer. Apparently, they’ve found some kind or replacement for the King’s “yacht racing tax rebate” that caused such an uproar amongst the Spanish public, meaning possibly another strong fleet of 12-15 boats racing doublehanded around the world.
But that’s all still almost two years away – in the meantime, the FNOB is hosting a couple of hours of live streaming chat today on their site on the subject of ‘Ice Gates & Climate Change in the Southern Ocean’ with some of sailing’s most storied navigators, and you can participate in it via social media, per the promo. There’s also a preliminary Notice of Race available – will you be the next Francois Gabart? Here’s one way to find out.
February 5th, 2013 by admin
Well, he finally shut the naysayers up! And we couldn’t be more excited to see Alex Thomson finish on the podium in Les Sables D’Olonne where he completed the race in 80 days 19 hours 23 minutes 43 seconds. Here’s the full press conference following Thomson’s Arrival; check it out to show your support for a guy that has earned every inch of his exceptional Vendee Globe podium finish with a last-generation boat and 2 months of neverending repairs. And for one hell of a finale, he made it through 35 knots and huge Biscay seas right to the finish. Meanwhile, JP Dick has to decide whether to weather a Biscay gale without a keel…more drama ahead!
January 29th, 2013 by admin