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Monohulls Continue to Thrill in the Transat Jacques Vabre Race

28th November 2021
Charal's arrival completes the IMOCA podium in the Transat Jacques Vabre Race
Charal's arrival completes the IMOCA podium in the Transat Jacques Vabre Race

Charal's arrival completes the IMOCA podium but the racing rages on, especially for 4th and 5th between Initiatives Coeur and Arkéa-Paprec. The front of the Class 40 remains incredibly close with the current leader now just 600 miles from the finish. The Ultimes are now all safely in port.

A third-placed finish for the third time running for Jérémie Beyou and Christopher Pratt.

The pair crossed the line in the early hours following a titanic cat and mouse chase with Apivia who finished second earlier in the day. The all-French crew also finished third in 2013 and the 2019 edition of the Transat Jacques Vabre race.

Charal and Apivia spent much of the time within sight of each other. It was only in the last 1,200 miles in the gybing battle along the Brazilian coastline, that Charlie Dalin and Paul Meilhat began to stretch ahead on Apivia.

Beyou and Pratt took 19 days 14 hours 59 minutes and 36 seconds to cover the 5,800 theoretical miles from Le Havre at an average speed of 12.21 knots, but they actually covered 6,574.22 miles at 13.96 knots. Her gap to the winner, LinkedOut, was 1 day 13 hours 38 minutes and 26 seconds.

Beyou said, "You have to be satisfied with a podium finish when there are great winners like Thomas (Ruyant) and Morgan (Lagravière), big congratulations to them. The gaps between the boats don't necessarily reflect the differences in level, the weather made things very difficult"

IMOCA fleet still thrilling

Can Briton Sam Davies in her 2010-built boat reel in the faster, newer Arkéa-Paprec to claim fourth place? That's the big question as the two boats race to the finish. Sébastien Simon and Yann Elies have a 20 mile advantage on Inititiatives Coeur with only 120 miles to the finish line.

Just a little further back in sixth is Davies' partner Romain Attanasio, who is in turn locked into a three boat battle with Italy's Ginacarlo Pedote on Prysmian Group and Corum L'Epargne.

Ultimes - and then there were five

The final Ultime competing, Sodebo Ultim 3 crossed the finish line overnight. It marked the end of a difficult and frustrating race for Thomas Coville and Thomas Rouxel. The huge multihull hit an object north of Madeira and despite stopping for repairs its co-skippers had to nurse the boat all the way across the Atlantic.

The pair took 19 days 14 hours 32 minutes 41 seconds to complete the race covering 9,573.33 miles at an average speed of 20,35 knots. The finished 3 days 12 heures 43 minutes 25 seconds behind the winning boat.

Class 40 - nailbiting stretch to finish line

The leading pack is keeping us on the edge of our seats. In the lead, Antoine Carpentier and Pablo Santurde Del Arco (Redman) have 600 miles to go to the finish line. The leading four boats are within only 40 miles of each other. As they approach Martinique the current angle of the wind will force the leaders to gybe. Benoit Hantzberg (Volvo) explains: "It's tricky because gybing is like going backwards, it takes us further away. We're going to head for Martinique as much as possible, because the first to gybe leaves the others free to take the podium."

The north-easterly trade winds are forcing the chasing pack to make a southerly course so that they too can gain some angle on the climb to the finish.

Published in Offshore
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