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Class40s in the Transat Jacques Vabre Day 13 - Rififi at Cape Verde

by Denis van den Brink 19 Nov 21:43 GMT 19 November 2021
Antoine Carpentier and Pablo Santurde in the Transat Jacques Vabre © Redman

By diving due south very early, "lay line" as the sailors say, that is to say in direct approach and on one tack of the passage mark prefigured by the island of Sal, the group of 11 immediate pursuers of the leaders since the entry in the Atlantic of the Class40 fleet has just shattered the rankings and the hierarchy of the race.

Only the Franco-Spanish duo Antoine Carpentier - Pablo Santurde (Redman) is preserving its leadership this morning, having, after much thought and cogitation, opted for a passage as close as possible to the direct route and in the heart of the Cape Verde archipelago.

If we are happy to see Axel Trèhin and Frédéric Denis (Project Rescue Ocean), back in second place after their stop in Cascais on November 12th, and the girls from la Boulangère Bio Marie Riou and Amélie Grassi at the foot of the podium occupied by the happy duo Charles-Louis Mourruau and Andrea Fantini (Guidi), it is in the South of the archipelago that we observe the intriguing positions taken and the choice of route of a number of former leaders of the fleet. Thus the Belgian-French tandem Jonas Gerckens - Benoit Hantzperg (Volvo) has deliberately chosen to forget about the general ranking for the time being in favor of an investment that will take them this morning around the southernmost islands of the archipelago, Maio and Santiago, diving far from the ortho at 90 degrees from the road, along Edenred (Le Roch-Quiroga) and the Vikings of Lamanche#EvidenceNautique (Loison - Jossier) clocked this morning... in 18th place.

The main leaders of the race for the last 12 days have disappeared from the top of the rankings, Crédit Mutuel (Lipinski - Pulvé), Lamotte Module Création (Berry - Nebout).... to the benefit of newcomers with renewed ambitions, Attwell- Kostelic (Croatia full of Life), Suzuki - Beaugé (Milai), Chateau-Mion (Seafrigo-Sogestran) or Ducroz-Sineau (Crosscall). 2,200 miles from Martinique, the Cape Verde interchange is reshuffling the cards !

It's hard work on board the Class40s! Let's remember here that routing from land is forbidden in Class40. It is with the computer means on board and with the help of the Grib files received by Internet that the sailors define their route choices. The computerized routing, which rotates according to the weather files, plunges the tandems into an abyss of reflection, as the proposed route choices sometimes seem to diverge completely. We'll have to wait a few days to understand who will have the right idea: the supporters of the crossing in the middle of the archipelago, or those of the big bypass to the south. "Afterwards, if our files are wrong, we'll be wrong too... that's the hard law of offshore sailing!" said a philosophical Antoine Carpentier (Redman).

Several factors seem to oppose each other in these two philosophies of route. The wind strength is very uneven on the archipelago where the trade winds seem to be gradually taking over. The peaks create large windless cones to the west of certain islands, San Felipe and Mindelo. The wind angle, which is currently very easterly, will also force the "islanders" to consider a series of gybes that are not very favorable to gains on the route. By investing in the South, the supporters of Volvo's choice will certainly lengthen the route, but once oriented towards the mark, they will find an angle favorable to speed. Compromise, difficult choices, a call for luck... so many components that make up the charm of ocean racing, and which spice up the Jacques Vabre Class 40 race in a unique way...


After the one yesterday of the duo Kito De Pavant - Gwen Gbick 'HBF-Reforest'Action, it is unfortunately the tandem Tanguy Duchatelet - Fabrice Edouard (Lenzi-Lanternes de Paris) who throw in the towel at La Palma in the Canaries, victims of spinnaker damage and bowsprit.

Quotes from the sailors

Anna Beagé - Milai: "It was a funny day, sliding and swinging on a track that was not straight. First we had to go down the stairs, and find the moment when the track would have the right inclination until the approach of Sal. We were a bit shy and a bit in a hurry, as a result MIlai has a less steep runway than his friends from the west, but it could have been worse. The wind is still weak and capricious, so we are mainly glued to the spinnaker, but again, considering the mic mac without wind, it could have been worse! Tonight, the naps will take place at the front, with the bags. Hood open to look at the spinnaker lit by the big full moon, once again... there is worse".

Simon Kervarrec - Leclerc Samsic: "That's it, we have passed the Canaries! Soon, it's blinking on the right, towards the finish! But there's still a little way to go! I have to finish it quickly, because I have only one pack of Tagada, two of chouchous and one caprisun, sniff... I think I'll be short..."

Antoine Carpentier - Redman: "Another day spent under the grey sky. As a result, the panels have hardly loaded... Especially since the routings are not very reassuring with ETAs close to the beginning of December, so it's going to be long! The passage in the Cape Verde islands will be done after a very long hesitation in the islands and not in the South of all the islands as the routings of yesterday morning indicated it to us. Indeed, we modified our plans, the Northern fleet should pass to Sal hardly three hours after us, they have the wind in their sails. Otherwise, on the landscape, we saw dolphins, bigger than those of us! The flying fish pullulate, I hope that we are going to catch some this night, that will make a meal! We have just crossed in front of Volvo which left him for the South... we shall see in two three days who was right! Still moments of stress at each pointing. "

Jules Bonnier - Avanade: "Everything's going well on board Avanade. To say that we are going faster and faster is saying a lot, but we are going less and less slowly, less and less in the wrong direction... It's not so bad. So we are far from being unhappy. The pilot does not continue not to walk. It's still not very unpleasant not to sail in oilskins. The flying fish are less and less not numerous. In short we do not see the life of the bad side at this moment. Soon the islands of Cape not blue."

Julia Virat - UPSAILING Unis pour la planète: "The wind has risen crescendo to a constant 25 knots with gusts to 30.We are in warrior mode!Especially since we have our friends from the boat Freedom right next to us, 2 nautical miles away, we see each other and we talk on the radio. So we don't let go, we steer, we steer, we steer and we move forward elbow to elbow. It's exhilarating. I have just steered a surf at 20 knots, you can imagine the smile on my face, it's great! Pure gliding like I like it! Life on board is a bit sporty at this speed, it's whistling, banging, squealing, banging, accelerating and slowing down, in short: it's shaking."

Cedric Chateau - Seafrigo Sogestran: "We are approaching Cape Verde and in two hours, we will have to choose which exit we will take... Either, like most of the leading group, we take the outer ring road, or like Redman, THE leader, we choose to go through the island center. Ahh if Waze could work, we could pause our two neurons! But for the moment, those are concentrated to make advance the Seafrigo-Sogestran in very changing conditions which will not have allowed us to rest well this night. But in war as in war, everyone is housed in the same boat. After our right turn, it will be the last chuss towards Martinique, terminus of the line."

Calliste Antoine - Croatia Full of Life: "Damn! we finished the bread... it is quite ironic when " La " Boulangère Bio is just in front of us. Quiet day, the pilot is doing his job, the repair of the second big spinnaker is almost finished, as long as the other one is holding up. The grey tape stitches give a nice Frankenstein look! Tomorrow we'll have 4cl of Kalva Karver (thanks Alois) and a gift (chocolate) for the occasion. "

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