Please select your home edition
Edition
Highfield Boats - Sailing - LEADERBOARD

Défi Azimut - Day 1: Clean start for the 17 IMOCAs

by Défi Azimut 10 Sep 22:39 BST 10 September 2020
A clean start for the 17 IMOCAs competing in the 48 Heures Azimut © Jean-Marie Liot

To look impressive and steal the show, nothing can beat nailing a start! Heading the fleet this afternoon offshore of the Pointe du Talud for the 48 Heures Azimut, Damien Seguin (Groupe Apicil) was soon being hounded by the pack of new IMOCAs led by reigning champion Charal. Indeed, as was demonstrated in yesterday's speed runs, the boats with daggerboards and the new foilers clearly aren't punching at the same weight....

In any case, the entire fleet put on an absolute showstopper this afternoon with the IMOCAs virtually aligned in an established medium breeze and glorious sunshine once again off Lorient. Unfortunately, there were two no-shows with Newrest-Art et Fenêtres and Bureau Vallée II confined to port due to insurance problems...

Passing Pen Men at the northern tip of Ile de Groix, Jérémie Beyou's black foiler was still leading the way, with Arkea Paprec hot on her heels, whilst the skipper of L'Occitane en Provence had managed to shake off the chasing pack to quickly complete this first provisional podium.

The foilers have the edge in the first two sections of the course

Prior to the start, all the skippers were in agreement that the first stretch of the course to the Azimut 1 waypoint in this 48-hour sprint would be a drag race in which the latest generation foilers would be able to excel. "The leaders will get richer as the breeze will gradually flesh out and the first racers to gain westing will be able to reap the benefits. We'll gybe at the mark and then we'll switch onto the other tack with roughly the same angle", explained Kevin Escoffier (PRB), positioned in 7th place this evening.

Already powered up at 18 knots, the top foilers will see the wind lift and strengthen before gradually shifting round to the North. The gennakers and other FROs (the new large genoas that are all the rage in IMOCA) will be out in force to further pick up the pace in this rapid 143-mile flight to the first course mark.

The second half of the night and tomorrow morning will give the skippers a chance to ease off the pace a little, which will doubtless please the leaders who won't have had time to get much shut-eye. This short break will likely lead to some bunching up of the fleet too.

An uncertain finale

The second half of this 48-hour sprint is shaping up to be more random, as noted by Charlie Dalin, fourth on Apivia: "The final section will be quite long, close-hauled with some changes of tack. The finish is still uncertain as there's a chance we'll encounter a windless zone". As such, Race Management has given itself until 20:00 hours tonight to announce a possible course modification to the competitors, which would likely consist of moving the Azimut 2 mark to a different latitude.

In the meantime, Sébastien Simon took the top spot off Jérémie Beyou for a few minutes, the first five boats bunched within a two-mile radius with fierce racing at every stage of the ranking.

Comments from Armel Tripon (L'Occitane en Provence)

"It's an interesting course. Conditions are summery but they'll enable us to really size up the competition. On the first stretch to waypoint 1, which we'll likely negotiate at dusk, my boat should be able to make good headway and everyone will be flat out. However, upwind, conditions will be less favourable as the scow bow on L'Occitane en Provence lacks waterline length. Today, we don't really have any reference compared with the others. That'll make for a very interesting climb up to Lorient as we launch onto a beat with the wind becoming lighter and lighter. The downwind VMG in light airs is not very good for me either and there may well be some of that at the end of the second stretch.... It's going to be interesting as I don't have many good references in terms of the weight of the boat in relation to the others."

Comments from Kevin Escoffier (PRB)

"The first section promises to be a drag race. The leaders will get richer as the breeze gradually fleshes out and the front runners will be able to reap the benefits. Added to that, the breeze at the start is not very strong and those boats with large foils will be able to take off earlier than PRB with her 2018 foils. It will be more favourable for me at the end of the second stretch where the wind is set to ease on the climb back up to Lorient, which when PRB performs very well. Upwind, inevitably there will be some strategic choices to be had and the potential separation between the boats may enable some miles to be made up."

Comments from Charlie Dalin, Apivia

"There will be 13-15 knots for the start. We'll be on a near reach on starboard tack. It'll be quick after that as the wind is set to pick up to around twenty knots. We'll have some good peaks of speed. Next up, there will be a gybe at the Azimut 1 mark, then we'll switch up a gear on a reach, but then the wind is set to ease. The final section will be quite long, close-hauled with some changes of tack. The finish is still uncertain as there's a chance we'll encounter a windless zone. In any case, the first stretch will be great. My goal over this 500-mile course is to continue to get in some practice and some manœuvres, work on my trajectories and get in some training as it's the last competition before the Vendée Globe".

Comments from Benjamin Dutreux, OMIA - Water Family

"These 500 miles are shaping up to be pretty good! It will be my first race manoeuvring the boat singlehanded. It will also be an opportunity to get some first-hand experience. Conditions will favour the foilers. On a personal level, I'm going to try not to look at what the others are doing and just focus on my own navigation. I'm really itching to get back into racing solo. I'm keen to up my game and sail in contact with the others. The different sections will be interesting as there will be lots of tactics and lots of choices to be made."

Comments from Miranda Merron, Campagne de France

"It's likely to take me more than 48hrs, but I'm very happy to be competing in this 500-mile sprint. It's the last solo race before the Vendée Globe. We won't do much sailing after this. We still have a lot to do as we're a small team. My goal is not to break anything. I still have a fair few things to validate and I need to check all the chafe points on my boat. One thing for sure is that I'm very happy on my boat. She's old but solid."

www.defi-azimut.net/en

Related Articles

2020 Vendée Globe on course to be exceptional
The official press conference was held on Thursday in Paris The official press conference for the ninth edition of the Vendée Globe was held on Thursday, September 17 at the Palais Brongniart in Paris. Posted on 18 Sep
Alex Thomson Racing Up to Speed: September 2020
Installation of the new foils complete on IMOCA Hugo Boss British Sailor Alex Thomson brings us up to speed on the completion of the final service of the HUGO BOSS boat before the Vendée Globe, the installation of the yacht's new foils and the schedule from now until the race start on November 8th. Posted on 16 Sep
The cream of the crop at Foiling Week Gurit Forum
Moving online and free to watch on Foiling Week social channels Each year at Foiling Week forum everyone marvels at the increasing reach that foiling projects have in the marine industry: from boards to ocean going vessels, from high end racing yachts to more commercial marine applications. Posted on 16 Sep
Annual Sail for Hope race around Conanicut Island
The event marked the 19th year of the 'round-the-island (Conanicut, RI) race Newport, RI delivered perfect sailing conditions for the annual Sail for Hope race around Conanicut Island Saturday. The race is a yearly fundraiser that started in 2001 after the 9-11 attacks. Posted on 15 Sep
The Azimut Challenge taught us a lot
As the start of the Vendée Globe gets ever closer The tenth Azimut Challenge finished yesterday with victory going to L'Occitane en Provence (Armel Tripon) in the runs, Charal (Jérémie Beyou) in the 48-hour race and PRB (Kevin Escoffier) winning the race around the island of Groix. Posted on 15 Sep
Défi Azimut sets the scene for the Vendée Globe
Showcasing the fastest boats with the latest foils Weather conditions may not have been as powerful and the imagery perhaps not as dramatic as in previous years, but the annual Défi Azimut regatta provided the perfect hors d'oeuvre to this year's Vendée Globe solo round-the-world race. Posted on 14 Sep
North Sails Weekly Debrief
Keeping Up With Charlie Enright, Save The Date, Last Call, Trusting In North North Sails Caught Up With the 11th Hour Racing Skipper on His Transat Delivery and Prepping for The Ocean Race Summit in Newport, RI. Posted on 13 Sep
Défi Azimut: An incredible finale
Composure and an element of luck required The utmost composure and an element of luck was required to take the win in this 48-hour Azimut. Still anyone's game right to the wire, race victory for the second consecutive year finally went to Jérémie Beyou (Charal) Posted on 13 Sep
Vendee Globe: Hugo Boss completes final tests
As well as servicing the boat, the team also undertook a 90 degree test of righting ability British sailing team Alex Thomson Racing has completed the final service of its IMOCA 60 racing yacht, Hugo Boss, ahead of the highly anticipated Vendée Globe race, which begins in less than two months' time. Posted on 11 Sep
MailASail OSTAR and TWOSTAR race announcement
8 months to go to the 'original' With eight months to go, the Royal Western Yacht Club would like to formally invite all past competitors and as many new adventurers to enter and join us as we formally celebrate the 60th anniversary of the first race. Posted on 10 Sep