A complex situation lies on the Atlantic and in front of the pack of Class 40s who have excitedly begun their great ocean crossing. Vast zones of high pressure, with little wind, stretch from the Caribbean arc to the coast of Africa, bordering the route ideally followed by the competitors in the Class40 category of the Transat Jacques Vabre. The strengthening of the east-northeast trade wind is expected, and of its timing and virulence will depend the route choices of the duos. Some, like Edenred (Le Roch - Quiroga) and Banque du Léman (Gautier-Koster), have plunged radically to the south from Cape Verde, investing massively away from the direct route, but in favor of a wind that is better established in strength and direction. Others, like Crédit Mutuel (Lipinski-Pulvé), are flirting with the calms windward of the fleet. Very inspired and for the time being generously rewarded by a median choice, Redman (Carpentier - Santurde) is controlling with great mastery the assaults coming from all sides. The Mach 40.4 launched last year resists the urge to go south, and favors the direct route, 1 600 miles from Fort de France.
For a long time, Crédit Mutuel was in seventh place, unable to catch up with the « Club des 6 », which led the race from the tip of Brittany to Cape Verde. She took advantage of a good breath of fresh air as she passed the Cape Verde archipelago to once again assert its legitimate claims in this Transat Jacques Vabre. "When you want to get to the head of the fleet, you have to attack," explained Ian Lipinski. "We pushed along Morocco and Mauritania, and it worked out pretty well for us. The timing was pretty close, but we managed to get through. It's a good thing we made that gain, because on Thursday and Friday, the fleet came back from behind. But we earned the right to have intermediate and attainable goals that help us mobilize at every moment." One of the fastest boats in recent hours, the round-nosed Max 40 came within 36 miles of leader Redman, occupying the third step of the podium. Ian Lipinski and Julien Pulvé, rightly touted as potential winners, are back in business and no one doubts that it will now be difficult to dislodge them from the runner-up spots.
Unless the South ends up triumphing. Guidi (Mourruau - Fantini), ranked 3rd yesterday, Legallais (Cazenave-Péré - Bloch), Emile Henry - Happyvore (D'Estais - Le Draoulec) or Tquila (Thompson - Richardson) are diving to the South, momentarily abandoning the direct route, proof of the mistrust that the duos have today regarding the capacity of the high pressure to evacuate to the North. Eighth in the rankings, Emmanuel Le Roch and Pierre Quiroga (Edenred) have been riding at a good pace downwind of the leaders, along the Mach 40.4 Banque du Léman (Gautier - Koster), which is just as fast. The two "southerners" have the best average speeds of the whole fleet. They benefited from an excellent wind angle to get back to their rhythm as close as possible to the leaders. The compression of the fleet as they passed the archipelago also allowed for a few discreet, yet impressive, comebacks. One remembers that Serenis Consulting with the duo Galfione - Péron was at one point over 550 miles behind. If not at the head of the fleet, at least in the first group, and this morning they are in 18th position, 148 miles from the leader. A position more in line with the quality of the boat and its crew.
The procession of Class40s in the heart of the Cape Verde archipelago will continue all day. After the passage this morning of Equipe Voile Parkinson (Gueguen - Auffret), there are only 5 boats that have not yet started the Atlantic crossing.
Quotes of the day :
Stan Thuret - Everial
"We've been at sea for 14 days on the Transat Jacques Vabre. Today we are finally off the Cape Verde towards Martinique with an ocean horizon ahead of us. I'm lucky enough to live on the water. To see the sun, the moon, the wind. Dolphins and flying fish. To simply live at the rhythm of nature. And it is only now that I start to feel time. The long time. The one we all lost in our everyday lives. The one of contemplation, of questioning, of listening to one's body and emotions.
The ocean allows this emptiness and this appeasement."
Olivier Magré - E. Leclerc - Ville-la-Grand
"A good first day and night since Cape Verde, despite the lack of trade winds. We still have some wind and we're managing to move in the right direction without having to gybe to go south. Unfortunately, that will change today with several gybes scheduled over the next 24 hours before we start a long tack south tonight and tomorrow to avoid a zone of calm that will be on our route on Wednesday."
Manu Le Roch - Edenred
"Beyond the race, it's great to be at sea! How lucky we are to be in warm latitudes, to make night slips under spinnaker with a full moon that lights up as if in broad daylight, with a starry sky, in shorts, the happiness of being at sea where our only occupation is to make the best progress with our machine! It is true that this race is longer than expected, that it poses worries not envisaged like the rationing but we must recognize this chance to be on the water with our magnificent machines! On board Edenred we are savoring these moments! We are in great shape to attack this last week of racing!"
Enguerrand Granoux - Exploring Tech for Good
"We are just in front of the last island of the archipelago. Our last land before Martinique. We still gybe to go looking for a site effect at the tip of the island, it is a success, we debouch at the exit of the archipelago full ball with a strong acceleration of the wind and a super favorable angle! We make all the same a big bulk just before the last gybe, our biggest since we have the boat. Nothing very serious but rather impressive more especially as we take a few minutes to recover straight. Our computer mouse flew somewhere in the boat, we found it but it lost the ball... we look for it somewhere in the boat. On the next tack we beat our average speed record over one hour since the beginning of the race (14,1 knots) and we are at this same point the fastest boat of the fleet. Anecdotal but quite thrilling on the moment for us! We are going to reproduce this feat of being the fastest boat two points later. We'll celebrate with a little kinder".
Frans Budel - SEC Hayai
"What do you do on a lazy Sunday? Apart from sailing, not much to do! Everything is in good shape and works normally. So we make pancakes! Delicious with sugar!"
Antoine Carpentier - Redman
"That's it, we're in the sargasso! Since this morning, it's quite often, maybe two or three times an hour that we remove the seaweed that gets stuck in the rudders, it's quite simple, we have a tool, a seaweed rod that we slide along the rudder to remove the seaweed. We have a seaweed rod top compet', we could call it "strike that a blow" so much it is effective, a single pass is enough! Thanks to my friend Tual and his Crazy Lobster team! It's light and stiff at the same time, it's so easy to handle... For the seaweed that gets stuck in the keel, it's another story... either we pass a piece of rope called a knot rope, or we make the boat heel hard so that the top of the keel comes out of the water... In terms of strategy, our little move in the islands was beneficial from a sporting point of view, as we were 4 miles ahead of Volvo before taking this option, and last night we were 20 miles ahead of them... a good gain... on the other hand, in terms of stress, it was not easy... but in the end, we can only be happy."