Transat Jacques Vabre
Guillemot & Caudrelier first to Carribean sea
1300 milles to go to reach Puerto Limon in Costa Rica
vendredi 20 novembre 2009 –
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Increasingly it is looking like a duel to the finish between Safran and Groupe Bel with the 47.2 miles which separates Safran, leader since Thursday 12th, from their pursuing compatriots. According to leader Marc Guillemot today that lead feels OK for them, but in the quick downwind conditions which are expected, routing on long gybes along the coast, there will still be plenty of opportunities for upsets. And the weather picture is not entirely clear with some malicious squalls still lurking close to their track.
Guillemot told the Paris radio session today that they had passed close enough to Guadeloupe to see the lights, but mostly they were concentrating on the huge squalls which punctuated their night and morning. The gain of Groupe Bel during the night was actually less than was feared by the Safran duo, who finished second on this race in 2007 to Michel Desjoyeaux and Manu Le Borgne.
But, this evening they were easing away again from Kito de Pavant and Francois Gabart on Bel.
In third Mike Golding admitted that he was back in the bowels of his IMOCA Imoca #IMOCA Open 60 Mike Golding Yacht Racing, repairing a second similar problem to that which had affected them the previous night. But despite the fact that the British skipper admitted that he had everything all over the place, and had taken to wearing rubber gloves to avoid sustaining any further electrical shocks, he and Spanish co-skipper Javier Sanso were making good speed today and have stabilised their losses to the leading duo.
“Despite all this, the conditions are much signed up for, sunshine, blue seas, consistent winds and last night was just perfect clear skies with the Milky Way visible, altogether very very pleasant sailing, the TJV we signed up for and not the one of the first week.” Golding said.
The British IMOCA Imoca #IMOCA Open 60 remains 150 miles behind second placed Groupe Bel and 254 miles ahead of fourth placed Michel Desjoyeaux and Jérémie Beyou on Foncia, whilst 1876, with Yves Parlier and Pachi Rivero, have just over 200 miles of cushion on the very tightly matched threesome who are tussling over sixth to eighth places.
In seventh Dee Caffari and Brian Thompson had spent much of yesterday racing at slow , sticky speeds on Aviva within sight of Veolia Environnement Environnement , eventually losing a small handful of miles to the French pair Roland Jourdain and Jean-Luc Nelias today but the British duo have been racing on minimal electrical power for the last week, unable to run their generator. They have made the decision to slow on Sunday, re-routing close to St Lucia where they will accept delivery of a new control panel for their generator.
Aviva’s project manager Harry Spedding confirmed that they anticipate losing around 10-15 miles, a price worth paying for being able to race the final 1300 miles at something closer to full capacity. Caffari confirmed they have had minimal instrumentation and weather routing for some days now.
Marc Guillemot, FRA, Safran : "I’m exhausted ! Since yesterday evening we haven’t stopped carrying out manoeuvres. I can see the islands of Les Saintes, so we’ll be gybing back again shortly. We’ll really only be out of here in three or four hours, once we’re far enough away from the islands where the trade winds aren’t being disturbed. It doesn’t really affect me a lot leaving the Atlantic behind. It’s not like when you round the Horn, as nothing really changes and we’re still in the trade winds.”
Mike Golding, GBR Mike Golding Yacht Racing : “We spent the last 48 hours with limited power and could not get the engine started, and actually six or seven hours with no power at all. We could not get the engine started. The battery bank had dropped out completely. But we managed in the end to get the engine started but there was not enough power to excite the alternator and get them charging. So yesterday was a frantic time trying to do all that. And even now as I speak, I am buried in the battery box and the engine bay, trying to reconnect the battery box so that I can re-start the engine a couple of more times. But it is bad, but a pain in the neck, but we will manage to get ourselves to Puerto Limon no problem.
We are a bit dictated by the wind as to the direction of approach. We are still on downwind sails and downwind angles, and whatever gap comes up you need to just avoid a high island, so it will be between Gaudeloupe and one of the two islands to the south, you would certainly not want to go to the north of Guadeloupe. It is a pretty tall island. And then, a quieter zone on the other side, but then basically downwind VMG sailing all the way to the finish, with the routing encouraging us to the south of the Caribbean sea and on to the Brasilian and Venezuelan coasts.”
Dee Caffari, GBR, Aviva : “Yesterday was so frustrating but it gave us hope because we were within sight of Veolia all day and they were having the same kind of frustrating day as us. It was reassuring because if you are struggling alone then you spend the whole time thinking ‘ I bet they are sailing, I bet they are fine, I bet we’ve lost loads…..’ and so to see them there doing exactly the same, it kind of takes the pressure off.”
We are all converging in this hunting pack which will only speed up as we get into the Caribbean, and then a fight all the way to the finish. It will be cool. We did really well ticking off all our jobs off the list but the one job which has beaten us us is the power charging. We have no computers, no instruments, no chartware and we get weather off the charge, we have no routing, nothing. And it is very tiring on us having to drive all the time.
So the plan is to pick up a part as we drive through the Caribbean islands. There is no way we would give up now, not after what we have been through.”
Classement à 17 heures
Multi 50 :
1 Crêpes Whaou ! (FY Escoffier – E Le Roux) à 1269,8 milles de l’arrivée
2 Guyader pour Urgence Climatique (V Erussard – L Féquet) à 1395,5 milles du premier
3 Région Aquitaine Port-Médoc (L Roucayrol – A Alfaro) à 1542,6 milles du premier
1 Safran (M Guillemot – C Caudrelier) à 1203,8 milles de l’arrivée
2 Groupe Bel (K de Pavant – F Gabart) à 55,9 milles du premier
3 Mike Golding Yacht Racing (M Golding – J Sanso) à 205,3 milles du premier
4 Foncia (M Desjoyeaux – J Beyou) à 459,3 milles du premier
5 1876 (Y Parlier – J Sanso) à 556,3 milles du premier