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Le Départ Dramatique de Tangier in The Globe40

by Andy Rice 26 Jun 21:30 BST 26 June 2022
The Globe40 Race fleet departs Tangier, Morocco © Jean-Marie Liot

What if you were told there was a French boat and a Moroccan boat who had just set out on a brand new round the world race? Who would you guess was in the lead, and who was last?

Well, much to the excitement of the people of Tangier, leading the 30,000 mile Globe40 Race after the first 10 miles was the Moroccan team of Omar Boussikouk and Simon Bensenddik. Seven doublehanded crews on Class 40 keelboats set out from Tangier on Sunday afternoon on the first leg of this new race around the world. First stop: the Cape Verde islands, estimated to be about seven or eight days of fast downwind sailing via Madeira and the Canary Islands.

Fast downwind sailing, that is, if you can fly your powerful headsails. That requires a bowsprit. Unfortunately for Eric Grosclaude and Nicolas Boidevezi, just a few minutes into the race as the fleet was trading tacks upwind in 18 knots of westerly breeze, the French crew failed to notice that they were on a port-starboard collision course with the Canadian team of Melodie Schaffer and Gary Jacques. With the French on port, the bowsprit of The Globe en Solidaire snapped in half as it struck the side of the Canadian boat, Whiskey Jack.

While the Canadian boat is believed to have got away mostly unscathed, the French have returned to the Port of Tangier to weigh up their options for repair or replacement of the carbon fibre bowsprit.

Meanwhile the rest of the fleet powers on towards Cape Verde, with the Moroccans holding a surprise lead over their vastly more experienced rivals on the other teams. Aside from the aforementioned crews there is a team from the Netherlands, Japan and two from the USA.

Veteran weather router for the Vendée Globe and Volvo Ocean Race, Christian Dumard, warned the seven crew to watch out for a large amount of commercial traffic on the first leg. No one had anticipated a collision between two of the boats in the race, and it's an undesirably dramatic start to the Globe40 as it seeks to establish itself as a new event in the offshore racing calendar.

Another Vendée veteran as well as of many Olympic Games is race director Christophe Gaumond who also warns the Globe40 competitors of fishing nets creating invisible obstacles below the surface. Indeed on the prologue race from Lorient to Tangier just over a week ago, the Dutch boat Sec Hayai was unfortunate to hit a net with its keel and do some minor damage to the leading edge.

Even worse was to strike the Japanese boat Milai as it was approaching the finish of the prologue at the head of the fleet. But we'll save that for another update from the Globe40.

To follow the race, and to find out more about what the Globe40 is all about, go to www.globe40.com

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