On their way to the West Indies, the Transat Jacques Vabre yachts, and especially the monohull classes of the event, Imocas and Class40, have been sailing for a few days along the African shores of Mauritania and soon Senegal. The fault, as far as the 12.19 m monohulls are concerned, is the menditory passage point of the island of Sal, in the east of the Cape Verde archipelago. The fault also lies with a vast zone of calm that has been extending over the archipelago for several days, leaving only a narrow windy passage to the south along the Mauritanian Traffic Separation Scheme. It will therefore be necessary, and in the eminently strategic perspective of the passage to Cape Verde, to put some west on the road, as the impressive leader of the fleet, Redman, is doing with great success. The two men, inspired by their smooth passage through the Canaries yesterday, have built up a small cushion of about thirty miles ahead of their most successful rivals, Banque du Léman (Gautier-Koster) and Edenred (Le Roch-Quiroga), This is enough to trigger the gybe this morning without any pressure, which will send them on the road to Cape Verde, destination Sal, which will mark the beginning of this great Atlantic Ocean crossing towards the Caribbean and Martinique.
25 Class40s will terminate by mid-day the crossing of the Canary Islands. The 20 other boats are starting a descent due south in the northwest of Madeira after having nicely dealt with the last miasmas of the Portuguese trade winds. Among them, the two escapees in the west, Serenis Consulting (Galfione-Péron) and E. Leclerc Ville-La-Grand (Olivier and Antoine Magré), continue to capitalize on their risky investment. Having left the Devil's Eye, Serenis Consulting is eyeing with appetite this morning the 26th place of the Kervarrec family (Samsic E. Leclerc). A new gybing battle is starting for the leaders, in a wind that will take more and more North as they go down, while weakening significantly. Downwind in medium wind, which will put back in the saddle the last generation of frontrunners, less typified for the crosswind breeze and which will find again these next hours enough to compete with the latest scows. Lamotte Module Création (Berry - Nebout) and La Manche#EvidenceNautique (Loison-Jossier) have not said their last word, spurred on by the Lipinski-Pulvé duo (Crédit Mutuel) who are patiently waiting for their time and who are coming back strongly on the Club des 6, in the lead since the entry into the Atlantic.
Nine women are competing in this 15th edition of the Transat Jacques Vabre, either as a duo or as a mixed team. Three crews are 100% female and among the most seasoned of them, the organic La Boulangère Bio of Amélie Grassi and Marie Riou, is brilliantly in the Top 10 of the event. The two sailors have obviously found and understood the controls of their 2021 Max40 which, combined with clean and error-free sailing, allows them to compete with the best. A little lower in the ranking, but not at the bottom, the two other women's duos, Julia and Jeanne Courtois, 35th on Saint James - Biscuiterie de l'abbaye and Morgane Ursault-Poupon associated with Julia Virat (UP SAILING Unis pour la planète), are delighting observers with their joy of sailing, their ability to find resources whatever the difficulties, and their talent for sharing a journey with initiatory overtones, made up of discoveries and reflections on the things of this world. Clara Fortin shares the helm of Randstad-Ausy with Martin Louchart. The two young skippers are sailing this morning side by side with perhaps the most experienced sailor in the race, Sébastien Audigane (Entrepreneurs pour la planète). It is an understatement to say that the young duo from Normandy is at ease in their race. Performing since the beginning, the Franco-Japanese duo of Milai counts with Anne Beaugé another woman of the event. Ranked 14th with co skipper Masa Suzuki, Anne testifies from the open sea and with a lot of humour about her pleasure to be at sea. The only non-French woman, the Canadian Melodie Schaffer is sailing with Ryan Barkey and is the lowest ranked woman in the race, 42nd this morning on board Stormtech.
Performance of the day : Avanade - Maxime Cauwe - Jules Bonnier. One of the oldest boats in the fleet, the N°98, a Verdier design from 2010, is knocking on the door of the Top 10 of the race today. Max and Jules are in twelfth position, a gain of 4 places in the last hours.
Quotes of the day :
Redman - Antoine Carpentier - Pablo Santurde
"We had three different options, the passage of the Mach40.4 (Banque du Leman, Edenred, and us) in the middle, the passage of the Max40 Volvo to the west, and the passage of the old generation boats (the Normans and Lamotte) to the east. For the moment I feel like saying that our passage was the best. We will see who will arrive first in Cape Verde. The day has been good, since we hit the wind first, so we managed to dig a little with our closest pursuers. On the other hand, the weather seems to get seriously complicated as we approach Cape Verde, as if the doldrums were coming our way. I think we have ideal conditions for our boats, 20 knots of wind and a fairly flat sea with a 1.5 meter swell.
Edenred - Emmanuel Le Roch
"A word from the night, or at least the morning! After a difficult Sunday when our 2 friends largely distanced us, yesterday and last night put us back in the game! From surfing to surfing under big spinnaker with lightning behind us! magic! Edenred is doing well in these conditions. He likes this pace! ...us too! And so we have Banque du Léman on sight."
E. Leclerc - Ville - La - Grand - Olivier Magré
"A good day for the class40 E.Leclerc VLG today! Speed, sunshine and distance covered in the right direction! We are heading due south towards Cape Verde (well, there are still 1,244 nautical miles to go but it's better than yesterday!) We had the last light airs this morning and now we should have air until Friday when we will approach Cape Verde (we hope that the weather phenomenon that creates this invisible barrier will calm down a little! the gribs are all blue (that means no wind, like last week LOL...) On board the guys are fine, we eat well, we enjoy the temperatures which are rising quietly. The only downside is that the ankle is swelling a bit so I'm keeping an eye on it."
Exploring Tech for good - Enguerrand Granoux - Victor Jost
"At the time of writing, the plan went pretty well, we gybed south at 21:30 UTC and now we're pretty much on our way to SAL! Finally, it is cool! Only 5 days left of straight on a tack... well, it's never going to happen like that! But it's nice to be on a very close trajectory! Today it was also our first day where we didn't eat anymore the dishes of the chef Ronan Kervarrec who had prepared all our meals since the beginning! And at the end of the day we had the right to a rather incredible moment, the sun was already set and the full moon well raised. We took turns at the helm for quite a while, there was wind, still under big spinnaker. A really crazy moment!"
UP SAILING Unis pour la planète - Morgane Ursault-Poupon - Julia Virat
"Everything is going well on board Up Sailing which is still making 15-20 knots downwind. The beanbag (in which we sleep) and the helm station don't get a chance to cool down: we alternate methodically between the two of us, always with a little more haste in one direction than in the other. It's great to have the moon with us most of the night, it helps to keep the course and makes the atmosphere much more friendly.We continue our descent towards SW and the temperatures are rising nicely: we are almost not obliged to put on a jacket anymore, even at night."
Leclerc Samsic - Simon Kervarrec
"Everything is going well on board, the boat is sliding well and the pressure is back, which should take us to the Canaries in 24 to 36 hours! In order to be presentable when we stop for a beer there, we showered and it feels really good! Yes, I begin to dream of a good cold beer with my friends... The nights are warmer and warmer and it is also very pleasant. No more hat, hood and gloves!"