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Top Solo Sailors Compete in The Transat CIC Race Across The North Atlantic

28th April 2024
 The Transat CIC - Of the 48 sailors who took the start, 33 are competing in the IMOCA class, 13 in the Class40 class and 2 in the vintage class
The Transat CIC - Of the 48 sailors who took the start, 33 are competing in the IMOCA class, 13 in the Class40 class and 2 in the vintage class Credit: Alexis Courcoux

The Transat CIC, the legendary solo race across the North Atlantic, commenced on Sunday with 48 sailors setting sail from Lorient, Brittany towards New York. Blessed with sunny skies, cumulus clouds, and a decent 10-15kts of Westerly wind, the sailors made a fairly smooth start with 12 to 15 knots of wind.

The fleet comprises 33 IMOCA solo skippers, 13 Class 40 singlehanded racers and two vintage craft.

Charlie Dalin on MACIF Santé Prévoyance made the sharpest, best-timed start and led the race before being overtaken by the powerful Charal sailed by Jéremie Beyou. Switzerland’s Justine Mettraux (TeamWork Team SNEF) was in hot pursuit of the top trio which included Yoann Richomme (Paprec-Arkéa), winner of last year’s Rétour à La Base solo race from Martinique to Lorient. 

The Class 40 also put on a stunning display of close racing, with pre-race favourites Ambrogio Beccaria and Ian Lipinski duelling off the line under tightly sheeted Code sails on the close reach. Beccaria, the winner of last year’s Transat Jacques Vabre, expressed his confidence and said, “For the first two days, I would like to be one hundred percent comfortable on my boat, without any major damage. The strongest wind is going to come in two and a half days and it’s the position where it won’t help us win the race but where we can lose it."

After a calm 24 hours, the sailors will have to get through an initial weather front before heading north towards Ireland. The first edition of the race since 2016 is a great testing ground for both new and innovative ideas and for existing designs. Solo racers bound for the Vendée Globe take their IMOCA60s through the big winds and seas on a route which usually takes them further to the north than they race south on the solo race round the world. 

The Transat CIC has deep roots as the original Transatlantic race, contested first in 1960 and won by Francis Chichester before French ocean racing legend Eric Tabarly took a landmark French victory in 1964. This year's race is expected to be a hotly contested one, with sailors braving the North Atlantic's unpredictable weather and challenging route to emerge as the victor. Team

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