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Transat BtoB

8 Imoca 60 monohulls took the start of this Vendee Globe qualifier race

lundi 5 décembre 2011Redaction SSS [Source RP]

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Linking onto the back of the recent Transat Jacques Vabre Transat Jacques Vabre #TJV2015 two-hander and doubling up as both a return to Europe race and a potential qualifier for 2012’s Vendée Globe, every one of the eight Imoca Imoca #IMOCA 60 monohulls took the start of the Transat The Transat #thetransat #ostar B to B race from Saint Barts in the Caribbean to Lorient Lorient L’actualité du port de Lorient et de sa région. on France’s West coast at 1000 hours local time (1400 UTC). Making the start line directly from the neighbouring island of Saint Maarten after completing repairs in record Record #sailingrecord time, François Gabart (Macif) confidently overhauled the rest of the fleet and barrelled onwards with a moderate east to north-easterly breeze on his northward course leaving Ile Fourchue, situated off the north-west tip of Saint Barts, to starboard before hitting the open road to Brittany.

After a blinder of a move by François Gabart (Macif) on the start line to slide through into first place in front of a very top-class fleet, Michel Desjoyeaux’ protégé showed just what he was made of and how confident he is with the recent, fairly major repairs, as well as his capacities in this his first-ever single-handed transatlantic sprint.

In their eagerness to close the gap, Safran, PRB and Virbac-Paprec 3 suffered minor impact damage as they jockeyed for position in Macif’s wake. The skipper of the former boat won his protest and Vincent Riou and Jean-Pierre Dick each had to perform two penalty turns (720 degrees). A clear indicator then of the competitive spirit that epitomises the spirit of Imoca Imoca #IMOCA racing, which bodes well for an intriguing battle of Atlantic proportions over the coming fortnight to three weeks.

Having left the only Caribbean course mark to starboard, the fleet will initially be focusing on gaining ground to the North before opting to round to the East or the West of a zone of high pressure in a couple of days’ time. Once around that particular obstacle the winter lows will scoop up the fleet. It’s still too early to have an exact idea of the chronology at this stage but 30 knot winds, gusting to over 40 knots, are expected with the passage of the first front over the 9th or 10th. As such it could be a very quick race for the leaders with a race time of under-2 weeks still on the cards right now.

It goes without saying that the two British skippers of this eight-strong fleet will be giving their all in the Transat The Transat #thetransat #ostar B to B. Mike Golding on his seriously revamped Gamesa (coachroof, rig…) will be eager for revenge and a chance to show what he and his steed are really made of after his poor weather choices in the Transat Jacques Vabre Transat Jacques Vabre #TJV2015 . Meantime, Alex Thomson on Hugo Boss will be keen to show that he can sail just as clean a course in single-handed configuration as he does double-handed, after taking a brilliant second place in the classic West-East Atlantic race.

- Info presse

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