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Groupama, Fujifilm & Belgacom, three green giants, streak into the lead

Protest lodged against Kingfisher-Foncia by Sergio Tacchini

dimanche 4 novembre 2001Information Transat Jacques Vabre

As the 14 giant three-hulled speed machines were towed out of the Paul Vatine Basin in Le Havre mid-morning to begin their 5,300 mile transatlantic drag race, the sky cleared, the breeze filled in from the North at 12 – 15 knots, and the sun lit up the bay off St. Adresse – all the finest ingredients for a truly spectacular start !

image 300 x 158Photo : G.Martin-Raget / Royale Production

In the final five minute countdown these giant butterflies slowly congregated towards the line, full main and gennakers ready to fly, a number of helicopters swarming over head, and a mass of spectator yachts on the left hand side. The brand new Belgacom (Nélias/Desjoyeaux) took the far left spot, with Fujifilm (Peyron/Le Mignon) standing out midway, and far over to the right Pindar Systems (Richards/Von Koskull). At the gun, the whole fleet of 14 multihulls was filed up on the line, and it was Nautica (Bourgnon/Y. Ravussin) who sprung out of the starting blocks first, followed by Groupama (Cammas/S. Ravussin) and Kingfisher-Foncia (Gautier/MacArthur).

It was a full-on start, like letting greyhounds out of their cages, as the fleet powered up to 20 knots & fled downwind towards the beach, dangerously close to each other. The first to reach the Paul Vatine buoy just 5 minutes after the gun was the green & white flash Groupama, rounding clearly before second placed Fujifilm coming up behind. Then it was pure madness, watching as at least 5 boats tried to round within seconds of each other and at extremely close proximity. Sergio Tacchini (Fauconnier/Proffit) hugged the buoy with Belgacom & Nautica stacked up next to her, and just then Kingfisher-Foncia crossed behind, to pull in to the buoy in 4th place and keep the others out, surely her bows ’interlocking’ with Sergio Tacchini’s. In the aftermath Sergio Tacchini suffered the most, unable to get moving again after putting in their tack, with so many boats rounding seconds behind & blocking her path. In fact a protest was immediately lodged by Fauconnier against Kingfisher-Foncia for not giving her enough sea room to round the buoy, which is with the international Jury right now.

Pindar Systems was also caught out, having to put in a last minute gybe behind everyone else before the mark, which naturally slowed her up, considering how long these manoeuvres take on a multihull with just two aboard. And to add further to their difficulty, after rounding 10 minutes after the leader, the gennaker started unfurling at the top and the girls had to bring the halyard down onto the deck… not what they would have wanted for starters !

Meanwhile, the three green giants were really pulling away up front, Groupama to the left, Fujifilm in the middle and the Belgacom to the right. The latter was giving it some real air time, lifting up on one hull as the wind rose to their advantage, certainly the most impressive looking machine out on the water. Before half an hour had passed this flock of birds was in full flight upwind, diminishing into the distance, Bahia bound.

- Multihull Positions at 1300hrs French time

- Postn Boat Latitude Longitude Speed Hdg DTF DFL
- 1 Groupama 49 35.24’ N 0 12.44’ W 15.1 291 5177.4
- 2 Belgacom 49 34.96’ N 0 11.16’ W 14.3 291 5178.3 0.9m
- 3 Fujifilm 49 34.80’ N 0 10.68’ W 14.0 292 5178.6 1.2m
- 4 Eure & Loir 49 35.16’ N 0 09.96’ W 14.2 297 5179.0 1.6m
- 5 Biscuits La Trinitaine - Team Ethypharm 49 35.16’ N 0 09.76’ W 14.7 296 5179.1 1.7m

- Open 60 Monohull Positions at 1300hrs French time

- 1 Sill Plein Fruit 48 18.16’ N 5 13.00’ W 12.4 223 4105.7
- 2 Bobst Group Armor Lux 48 26.20’ N 5 14.20’ W 13.5 221 4112.0 6.3m
- 3 Casto - Darty - But 48 23.12’ N 5 06.60’ W 11.2 221 4112.6 6.9m
- 4 Ecover 48 38.88’ N 5 38.52’ W 14.7 240 4113.8 8.1m
- 5 Temenos 48 30.72’ N 5 08.80’ W 14.2 244 4117.7 12m

- Open 50 Monohull Positions at 1300hrs French time

- 1 One Dream : One Mission 48 41.56’ N 4 44.44’ W 13.3 234 4148.1
- 2 Tredicci 48 51.80’ N 4 31.96’ W 12.9 240 4148.8 0.6m
- 3 Saving 48 57.48’ N 4 18.42’ W 12.2 236 4149.9 1.8m

Dans la même rubrique

TRANSAT JACQUES VABRE : Fourteen multihulls on the starting blocks

TRANSAT JACQUES VABRE : Nineteen monohulls start in light airs


Transat Jacques Vabre : Team SOLLAC Atlantique - Joé Seeten & Éric Drouglazet (mono)

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