Displaying items by tag: Transat
A French yachtsman competing in The Transat bakerly solo transatlantic race from Plymouth to New York, was forced to abandon the race today after his boat crashed into a container ship.
Maxime Sorel on board the yacht VandB was among the leaders in the 10-strong Class40 fleet, as the boats raced downwind in the northern Bay of Biscay about 90 nautical miles west of Lorient, when he reported a collision.
The boat suffered damage to its bowsprit, forcing Sorel to head to the French port La Trinite sur Mer in Brittany. Sorel is safe and uninjured and the boat’s mast is stable but he is very disappointed to have to retire.
The collision happened in broad daylight and good visibility this morning, in an area of busy commercial shipping off the Brittany coast.
Sorel said he was keeping watch as VandB sailed under spinnaker but he did not see the cargo ship. “I was not sailing particularly fast and I tried to avoid it but it was too late,” said the French skipper as he limped toward the coast.
He said he had two options when he realised a collision was inevitable. Either hit the ship lengthways which risked bringing VandB’s mast down or hit the ship at an angle, helping to confine the damage to the bowsprit. “I’m stressed seeing all these freighters around me,” he added. “I have this image in my head and when I see one, I get stressed about it.”
Sorel is hoping to reach port tomorrow morning. Reflecting on the cruel hand that fate played, he commented: “I’m disappointed. You (the organisers) called me this morning to tell me that I was leading the Class40s and now you call to talk to me about why I am giving up. It’s disappointing to have to retire like this.”
Elsewhere in the Class40 fleet, the sole British entry in the class, Phil Sharp on board Imerys, has been referred to the Race Committee Jury after apparently sailing through an area of water restricted to commercial shipping at Ushant. The Traffic Separation Scheme (TSS) off that busy corner of France is strictly out of bounds to the yachts in the race rules.
Sharp has been sailing a superb race in the early stages, regularly holding the lead, but he may face a penalty for the infringement. Contacted on the sat phone he said he had not realised the TSS was out of bounds.
“I was aware of the TSS and I kept well out of the shipping lane, but I wasn’t aware that it was a restricted zone – I wasn’t aware that there was a boundary,” he said. Sharp also revealed that he nearly lost his spinnaker when it detached from the rig as he was down below and ended up in the water behind the boat.
“I looked up one time and the spinnaker was just not there,” he said. “I went on deck to find the whole thing in the water. But it’s fine and not damaged. I managed to get it back and re-hoist it after a couple of minor repairs.”
The Transat bakerly is already featuring some classic battles. At the front of the fleet the two leading Ultimes, Macif (Francois Gabart) and Sodebo (Thomas Coville) are a little more than a mile apart, heading down the Portuguese coast while, behind them in the southern Biscay, a battle royal is developing in the IMOCA 60 class.
The leader by a whisker is the hugely experienced Vincent Riou on board PRB who is just managing to stay ahead of the two leading foiling boats – Sébastien Josse’s Edmond de Rothschild in second place and Armel le Cleac’h’s Banque Populaire in third.
“Everything is fine, but we had to do a lot of manoeuvres during the night – it was a bit complicated, but as expected and I’m pretty happy with my position,” reported Riou earlier in the day. “The conditions are favourable for the foiling IMOCAs and will continue to be for a few days.
“I’m currently sailing under spinnaker in around 12 knots of wind. I’m trying to move quickly, but there is quite a lot of swell and there are still some sail changes to make. I’m staying vigilant, always looking out for the next transition. The weather is pretty nice compared to yesterday’s start and I was able to get some rest this morning. I am in good shape," Riou added.
The 8th Vendée Globe, the non–stop round the world race will start in exactly 200 days and all of those hoping to compete are well aware of the clock ticking. Boats are being relaunched this week one after another. Some will be in Plymouth to take part in The Transat, which begins on 2nd May, while others will be heading straight for New York, in order to line up in the new transatlantic race from New York - Vendée (Les Sables), which starts on 29th May. Others campaigns remain under wraps. There is even the possibility of the first ever Irish entry. Here we take a look at what the skippers and their boats are up to, with six months to go to the start of the Vendée Globe.
A lot of IMOCAs have been put back in the water over the past few days after weeks spent in the yard. Jérémie Beyou's Maître Coq has been in the water for several days now with the two foils fitted on Monday. Immediately after that, Jérémie and his team set off to test the boat with her new appendages.
It was on Monday too that Yann Eliès's Groupe Quéguiner was put back in the water and underwent her righting tests. Groupe Quéguiner has spent four months in the yard with the steering system being completely replaced and the ballast tank layout being optimised.
Yesterday (Tuesday), SMA, Paul Meilhat's IMOCA (François Gabart's former Macif) was put back in the water after a lot of repairs were carried out on her after she was recovered after drifting for three weeks in the Atlantic.
Eric Bellion relaunched his CommeUnSeulHomme in Port La Forêt on Thursday 14th April. On the previous day in les Sables d'Olonne, Jean-François Pellet did the same with his Come in Vendée after two months in the yard.
After having her mast stepped last week, Arnaud Boissières's La Mie Câline has been off training this week with her new sails. Arnaud intends to compete in the Armen Race in early May.
As for Bertrand de Broc, he will be relaunching his MACSF tomorrow (Thursday 14th April) in Lorient, after three months in the yard. In the same place on the following day (Friday) it is Thomas Ruyant's Le Souffle du Nord which will be back in the water after her steering system was transformed with the wheel being replaced by a tiller and with her ballast tanks being rearranged. Thomas plans to take part in the Grand Prix in Douarnenez.
Further south, Stéphane Le Diraison is training for several weeks in the Mediterranean, before a solo delivery trip to New York.
Staying in La Ciotat, Kito de Pavant's Bastide Otio is still in the yard. Kito won't be competing in the transatlantic races, as he has decided to do a lot of work on his boat, which won't be relaunched until late May, meaning he will be able to take part in the Giraglia in June.
The same strategy (no transatlantic races, but a lot of work in the yard) is being applied by Louis Burton, who is travelling around France to present his project. His Bureau Vallée is being smartened up until June at BG Race in St-Malo.
More than one transatlantic race
To better understand what is going on with 200 days to go to the start of the Vendée Globe, we need to look at their race programmes, as some still need to complete their qualification for the Everest of the seas. That explains why so many are registered for the New York-Vendée race, which will leave the Big Apple on 29th May with no fewer than 18 IMOCAs competing. To take part, they first need to cross the Atlantic to get there… Some are carrying out delivery trips, allowing them to test and adjust their boats. Others are in race mode on their way to the United States, via the two solo transatlantic races: The Transat Bakerly, which starts from Plymouth on 2nd May after a prologue in Saint-Malo this week and the new "Calero Solo Transat", between the Canaries and Newport.
Already racing across the Atlantic
In the sunshine in the Canaries, Alex Thomson and the team around the new Hugo Boss have set up their winter quarters in Puerto Calero. They are taking advantage of the exceptional conditions to train and optimise their foiling VPLP-Verdier designed boat. After arriving there on 9th April, the British team took advantage to greet the sailors, who set off on the first "Calero Solo Transat" to Newport: Pieter Heerema (No Way Back), Alan Roura (Un Vendée pour la Suisse). These two boats set off on 12th April, while Sébastien Destremau's FaceOcean set sail three days later on Friday. The three boats risk being separated throughout the race, as Pieter Heerema, way out in front for the moment, has opted for the North, while Alan Roura has gone the opposite way heading due south down the coast of Africa… A huge difference in opinion. Pieter Heerema and Sébastien Destremau are registered for the New-York Vendée, while Alan Roura has not yet taken a decision, but it remains a possibility.
A delivery trip and race for The Transat
For the six sailors competing in The Transat in the IMOCA class, it's time for the delivery trip to get to Plymouth for the start on 2nd May. While Paul Meilhat (SMA) and Sébastien Josse (Edmond de Rothschild) saw the clock ticking and will be heading directly from Brittany to Plymouth and the British sailor Richard Tolkien and his 44 are already there, the other three competitors began their delivery trip in race mode yesterday. The Finistère offshore training centre came up with a start line for them to put them under race conditions from Concarneau Bay to St-Malo, where the prologue will take place for The Transat. So the fight is on already in strong NE'ly winds between Vincent Riou's PRB and the two new foilers, Jean-Pierre Dick's St Michel-Virbac and Armel Le Cléac'h's Banque Populaire VIII.
While he is not competing in The Transat, Jérémie Beyou also decided to take part in this race exercise with his Maître Coq. These four boats are due to reach St-Malo on Wednesday evening after around twenty hours of sailing, which is bound to teach them a lot.
The Transat will also be a real battle with two of the top traditional IMOCAs, PRB and SMA, up against three new generation foilers: Banque Populaire, Edmond de Rothschild and St Michel-Virbac. This race is also a qualifier for the Vendée Globe, but in itself it is a legendary race, which they will want to shine in, as some other Vendée Globe heroes did in the past - Philippe Poupon, Michel Desjoyeaux and Loïck Peyron on three occasions.
See you in New York
Between the Calero Solo and The Transat, nine Vendée Globe hopefuls will be crossing the Atlantic from East to West to moor up at the foot of the skyscrapers in Manhattan to await the start of the New York-Vendée (Les Sables). Others, already out there training will be delivered there directly. That is the case for example for Morgan Lagravière and his new Safran, Alex Thomson's Hugo Boss and Jérémie Beyou's Maître CoQ. The same goal of training and fine tuning during this delivery trip to New York is hared by Tanguy de Lamotte aboard his Initiatives Cœur, Fabrice Amedeo and his Newrest-Matmut, Nandor Fa's Spirit of Hungary and Conrad Colman. The same goes for Yann Eliès, who will be setting off with a short-handed crew on Groupe Quéginer (with three aboard) and Bertrand de Broc with his MACSF, which is also registered for the New York-Vendée, which is proving to be very popular. With no fewer than 18 boats registered, this will be the last big battle and the final major fleet race before the Vendée Globe.
Elsewhere in Europe
To finish, some other candidate are working on their preparation for the Vendée Globe. The Catalan sailor, Didac Costa, for example, has just relaunched his boat in Barcelona. He will be setting out to complete his 1500 mile qualifier in the coming days. As for the American, Rich Wilson, he is in Britain preparing his Great American IV. As for the French, Romain Attanasio has just returned after six days of solo sailing in tricky conditions on his Sixième Océan. Next up, he will weigh the boat, carry out the righting test and continue to search forn partners to complete his budget. With a similar problem, Jean le Cam and a few other sailors are also busy looking for sponsors. They all have one goal: to qualify as quickly as they can to be in the best of shape for the start in Les Sables d'Olonne on 6th November. So in 200 days from now!
Having started a day late and trailed the fleet by 300 miles, debut Irish IMOCA 60 skipper Enda O'Coineen has moved up into third place as the seven boat fleet pass the Azores. O'Coineen now has a potential finsih time of as soon as this Sunday.
The fleet leader, Sebastien Josse, is already finished with a dominant display. On crossing the finish line off the Linuen Est mark, at the entrance of Port la Foret harbour, this Wednesday 16 December, at 20hr 18mn 17s GMT, the skipper of IMOCA60 Edmond de Rothschild won the transatlantic race in style after dominating proceedings from beginning to end, only giving up the head of the race for the first six hours to SMA skipper Paul Meilhat.
His race time is 10d 05hr 18mn 17s. and his average speed along the great circle route (3,375 miles) equates to 13.76 knots. He covered some 3773 miles over the ground at a speed of 15.38 knots. In so doing, he qualifies for the Vendee Globe 2016.
Meanwhile, on Kilcullen Voyager, O'Coineen sent Afloat.ie the following update:
Being honest, I was scared. Through the early morning, it blew up to 40 knots – I ran off before it. The waves trundled after us, sometimes as high as double-decker busses and predictable like the 7A - However it’s the odd rogue wave, against the flow - that catches you unaware.
Eventually last night’s storm abated. I dozed off to sleep and awoke about 90 minutes later. The miserable grey dawn had arrived - like a black and white movie – now the days are so short they morph into the night that it's hard to tell the difference. The wind had dropped back to 15 knots. Like getting a thrill being the very last on a plane, or doing something that’s against the rules - its living on the edge which brings the kicks - and somehow I am not sure if that’s healthy, even if I have survived, so far as my hairs get greyer.
This morning, I had three tasks on sunrise. Which order was the issue. One being my ritual bow of porridge, the other a sail change and a the third to have a dump - though the least said about this the better. However I should reference one, seldom mentioned fact - which in my humble view has revolutionized ocean racing – it is the arrival of the biodegradable plastic bag and wipes – not invented when I was a lad.
Anyway, I went for the sail change first. This involved dragging the large headsail on deck and other preparations. Then when ready to go I had my porridge – which was just as well, since within an hour the wind was backup to 25 knots plus, so I abandoned the sail change.
Now my mood has moved to survival. Not much succour for romance and poetry. Overhead the rain pounds like pellets, I have never seen as much in one dump from the heavens. From tropics, through autumn and now winter, we have had three seasons in 10 days - so Spring must be just around the corner? Could it be Port La Foret?
Rankings on 16 December at 22h (UTC) and ETAs in Port-la-Foret
1. Edmond de Rothschild, Sebastien Josse: Finished on 16 December 2015 at 21h 18' 17" - Winner in 10 days 5h 18' and 17"
2. Newrest / Matmut, Fabrice Amedeo, 818.3 nm. ETA potentially Saturday 19/12 am
3. Currency House Kilcullen, Enda O'Coinnen, 1098.0 nm. ETA potentially Sunday 20/15
4. Le Souffle du Nord, Thomas Ruyant, 1128.4 nm
5. O Canada, Eric Holden, 1190.2 nm
6. Safran, Morgan Lagravirre, 1210.5 nm
Abd. SMA, Paul Meilhat
He started with a 24 hour disadvantage due to engine problems but after a week at sea Irish solo sailor Enda O'Coineen has hauled himself back into the Transat St Barth – Port la Foret race and now trails the fleet by only 55 nautical miles. In seventh place, the Galway Bay sailor is closing in on Canada's Eric Holden. It's been a great debut performance for the IMOCA 60 Kilcullen Voyager and it looks like there will be more gains for the Irish yacht due to the injury of the fleet leader. Paul Meilhat is currenlty awaiting airlift by helicopter.
Yesterday, Meilhat was seriously injured during a manoeuvre. At the time, IMOCA60 SMA was sailing downwind under mainsail alone and two reefs, around twenty miles to the south-west of the Azores archipelago, in 50 knots of wind and 8 metre waves. Paul immediately contacted his team to alert them about the incident: he has pain in the ribs, the hip and the right leg.
Race Management for the Transat Saint-Barth / Port La Forêt and the MRCC in Ponta Delgada (Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre) were alerted straightaway. Initially, Paul and his team decided to find 'shelter' for the boat in the lee of the island of Sao Miguel.
At 15:30 GMT, when Paul confirmed that he was having considerable difficulty moving himself around the boat, the emergency services were triggered. The patrol boat from the Portuguese navy, Viana Do Castelo, heads to the zone. However, the weather conditions are such that it is not possible to envisage an airlift by helicopter or a vessel to come alongside in the immediate future.
SMA is currently barepoled and is drifting offshore at around 6 knots, escorted by the navy patrol boat, which will remain alongside him throughout the night. Paul is in permanent contact with his team and with the medical department in Lorient, Brittany.
Today, Tuesday, once the low currently plaguing the zone around the Azores has shifted over to the East, the weather conditions will improve and Paul can be airlifted by helicopter. SMA's team is on its way and will be in Sao Miguel at around lunchtime local time tomorrow, Tuesday.
Dubois, who also partnered Mike in the 2007 Transat Jacques Vabre, will join him once again for the legendary French race from Le Havre, France to Puerto Limon, Costa Rica.
Golding, who recently signed a two year sponsorship agreement with Gamesa, a global wind power technology leader, has been overseeing a major optimisation of the yacht that will be dedicated by HRH The Princess Royal at the Southampton Boat Show on Tuesday 20 September 2011.
This will be Golding's seventh consecutive participation in the double-handed Jacques Vabre Race which takes place every two years and is considered the first major event in the Vendée Globe preparation cycle.
"Bruno and I have known each other for many years and I trust him completely as co-skipper on this my first race for Gamesa. As our sailmaker, Bruno and his team at North Sails France provide the real "engines" for Gamesa by providing hi-performance sails that are 'at the same time' fast, efficient and yet strong enough to race around the world. He has a totally unique perspective and knowledge, which I value greatly. As our unofficial 'sail coordinator' his knowledge of the boat and my style of sailing will have a direct impact on our potential in the Vendée Globe."
Always in the upper rankings and many times on the podium, a win in the Transat Jacques Vabre race has eluded Golding. "Clearly we are competing against some new boats this year plus we have been away from the IMOCA circuit for the past two years – however I remain confident that with our newly optimised boat and our combined experience onboard we will be a serious contender for a win in 2011." commented Golding earlier today.
Dubois, who is the Managing Director of North Sails France, commented, "It is a great pleasure for me to sail with Mike again. We have done many races together over the past 10 years including the 2007 TJV. We know each other quite well and do not have much work to do to get along on an IMOCA 60."