World Tour
RDR 2022 selection
  • 1
    Sogestran Seafrigo (FRA 197)
    Sogestran Seafrigo (FRA 197)
    G. Pirouelle
  • 2
    Sign for Com (GER 189)
    Sign for Com (GER 189)
    M. Fink
  • 3
    TQuila (IRL 159)
    TQuila (IRL 159)
    A. Richardson
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Défi Atlantique, start of the 2nd leg

© P. Garenne / GPO
© P. Garenne / GPO

The entire fleet of this second edition of the Atlantic 2023 Challenge set off at precisely 3pm (French) from the jetty in the port of Horta, in the direction of La Rochelle in the Charente-Maritime. A particularly convoluted 1,300 mile course awaits the 13 crews competing. The stakes are clear for the three leaders of the current ranking, Crédit Mutuel (Ian Lipinski), Ambrogio Beccaria (Alla Grande Pirelli) and Alberto Bona (IBSA), all of whom are in a position to win the overall ranking, which will be calculated by adding up the race times of the two legs. Those disappointed with the course between Pointe-à-Pitre and Horta will of course have something to say, and the complexity of the expected weather means that the British duo Richardson - Thompson (Tquila), Axel Tréhin (Project Rescue Ocean) and Erwan Le Draoulec (Everial) will all be hoping to make up for it. It is difficult this evening to envisage any kind of arrival time, as the weather models differ so much and offer a wide range of ETAs (Estimated Time of Arrival) between 4 and a half days and... 7 days.

Mathieu Claveau's good start

In accordance with the forecasts, the passage of a front at midday, accompanied by a little drizzle, saw the wind from the west settle on the starting zone anchored on the very edge of the port of Horta. At 13:00 local time, the Race Committee released the 13 Class40s and Mathieu Claveau (Prendre la Mer, Agir pour la forêt) started the race on starboard tack under full spinnaker towards the right side of the water and the island of Pico. Only the Italians of Alla Grande Pirelli (Ambrogio Beccaria, Alberto Riva and Gianluca Guelfi) tried their luck towards Faial, promptly returning on port tack under the cliffs of the island. Very quickly, all the Class40s headed north, this time on port tack, and as they fine-tuned, speeds reached 13 and 14 knots on the way.

A road paved with uncertainties

The 13 protagonists got off to the most peaceful start, on flat seas and with a nice light breaking through the clouds. The Class40s glided along at a comfortable 13 knots at portable speeds. A start that everyone will appreciate, as 1,300 miles of a complex route lie ahead. There is no doubt that from now on, each sailor will be avidly consulting the screens on board, in order to prepare the strategies to be put in place. Between the strengthening of a low to the North, the weakening of a high pressure system to the South, and numerous high pressure cells on the way, the trajectory to be drawn towards La Rochelle is proving to be one of the most nebulous as the Class40s leave the welcoming Horta.

Christian Dumard, weather expert: "A very tactical race"

The official meteorologist of the Atlantic Challenge gave his latest weather analysis to the racers this morning: "The race is shaping up to be very tactical, with many possible route options. There will be a lot of action and we risk seeing the fleet split up fairly quickly. The start will be very gentle, after the front passes through at the end of the morning. 8 to 12 knots of W'ly wind are expected in the area, accompanied by a little rain. The front is moving slowly eastwards and the Class40s will remain in its wake. To the north of the fleet, a low-pressure system will be building from Wednesday onwards, while the Azores High moves up towards the archipelago. It is in the vicinity of Cape Finisterre that the weather models are currently diverging, offering very different scenarios.

Source / GPO

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