Fuente info TJV
Ultime 1 Doldrums 0 as another boat abandons and the race hots up
The reverberations from a tough first week continued today with another duo abandoning and two more making pit stops. But after six days of “living like animals” as Servane Escoffier (Bureau Vallée 2) said today – more specifically living like fish, so deluged by water have the skippers been at times – there was some relief today. As the temperatures rose and the sea flattened, the skippers were able to get out of their dry suits and fleeces, eat normally, and catch up on some DIY and sleep.
Estimated first arrivals (UTC)
Ultime: Monday, November 13, end of the afternoon
Multi50: Thursday, November 16th
Imoca: Friday, 17 November
Third abandonment (after Campagne de France Class40 and Drekan Groupe Multi50)
Early this afternoon, the Class40 Carac (Louis Duc and Alexis Loison) informed the race office that they would be abandoning. The duo arrived in Funchal (Madeira) last night after diverting because of serious knee injury to Duc. Duc is currently being treated at the hospital of Funchal and should be able to return to France in a few days with Loison.
“This is a huge disappointment,” Duc, who finished third in 2015, said. “We had worked hard to be ready for this transat and had high hopes on this first big race (for the new Carac), but it give us experience to come back better. It may be necessary to think about adding some padding on the boat…I want to thank Alexis who had to cope with this and did it very well.”
The newly-launched Carac, with its distinctive and powerful bow, had been one of the main challengers to Britain’s Phil Sharp and Spain’s Pablo Santurde (Imerys Clean Energy), who have held the lead after taking it on Tuesday late afternoon.
Enel Green Power (Class40): The Italians, Andrea Fantini and Alberto Bona arrived at 02:00 in Cascais (Lisbon) to repair their starboard rudder and a hole in the stern.
Ciela Village (Multi50): Thierry Bouchard and Oliver Krauss will make a stopover in the port of Mindelo in Cape Verde tomorrow morning to fix multiple technical problems: No antenna, no autopilot, port helm seat torn off and a crack in the hull level with the gennaker tack point.
Doldrums? What Doldrums? Rather than being swallowed by dreaded Intertropical Convergence Zone, the two giant trimarans at the head of the race, ate them up in one bite. Jumping from one squall to the next they passed through last night and this morning in a matter of hours, were soon into 12-15-knot south-easterly tradewinds. They now at 18:00 have just over 1,000 miles of drag racing in what will build to 15-20 knots to the finish. Maxi Edmond de Rothschild closed but Sodebo Ultim’ still held a 10-mile lead.
“50 miles in a Multi50, it’s nothing, it doesn’t worry us,” Lalou Roucayrol on Arkema said at noon. But by the evening they were 100 miles behind the favourties, FenêtréA – Mix Buffet, whose westerly strategy paid out and they are extending away in better breeze as they emerge from the disturbed area north-west of Cape Verde. They could pass the Doldrums – which looks like being not very active for another 72 hours – in about 30 hours time.
In lighter airs further east of the stormy depression than the Multi50 around them, St Michel-Virbac’s lead has been shortened a touch. AT 18:00 they were 40 miles ahead of SMA, continuing to astonish in a boat without foils. And watch out for Des Voiles et Vous! who have found extra pressure further east. Between them, Britain’s Sam Davies with Tanguy de Lamotte on Initiatives-Cœur remain right in the chasing pack in 7th, 140 miles behind. Which way will they go?
SMA are clear about that. “We’re really happy because the forecast was maybe more for the foilers than the boats with daggerboards,” Paul Meilhat, the skipper of SMA said. “We’ve pushed the boat for the last three days. The problem is that Virbac-St Michel, the guys are good and their boat is faster. But we’re looking forward more than behind us. I think the weather conditions are going to be better for us until the Doldrums. I think we’re cross the Doldrums in 3-4 days. St Michel-Virbac have the best position, we need to be more to the west.”
Imerys Clean Energy have held their 11-mile lead steady over the new 24-hour record holders, V and B all day. Tellingly, they have extended away from Aïna Enfance et Avenir and TeamWork, who are now 30 and 60 miles behind respectively.
The area of weak winds that slowed the classes ahead of them (St Michel-Virbac, a 60ft monohull is only about 400 miles further down the track) is shifting west and will therefore open the door to a stable trade wind. The conditions are clearly improving, especially the state of the sea. They could have nice smooth schuss to the Doldrums.