The rankings are changing quickly in the Transat Jacque Vabre as the multihull fleet got underway from Le Harve in very light conditions.
The changeable conditions and shifting positions mean nothing should not be taken for granted over the next few days. Monohulls and multihulls currently are trying to find their way amid challenging weather conditions in the Channel. The crews have to deal cautiously with a high-pressure system in the Bay of Seine and beyond to avoid losing ground. The pinpoints on the map charting the race show that several options were taken overnight by the monohull skippers to get out of this trap: head northwards around the system; stay on a direct course through it; or head south in an effort to pass beneath it.
Monohulls (IMOCA and Class 40)
There are only 10 miles between the first and last boats of the IMOCA fleet. So far, boats of different generations are sailing together.
From yesterday and today's 16:00 ranking, Brit'Air
(LE CLEAC'H/TROUSSEL) took a radical northern option, sailing along the British coast "above" the rest of the fleet. Between Brit'Air
and the direct route, Artemis
(DESJOYEAUX/LE BORGNE) and Safran
(GUILLEMOT/CAUDRELIER) headed more to the west. This group is now tracking south to southeast reaching.
(DE PAVANT/COL), Gitana Eighty
(PEYRON/LEVAILLANT), Cheminées Poujoulat
(STAMM/CARIOU), and Generali
(ELIÈS/AUDIGANE) were sticking closer to a direct route while VM Matériaux
(LE CAM/MORVAN), which was in the same pack, was heading south. Roxy
(DAVIES/GRÉGOIRE) and Aviva
(CAFFARI/KING) were also in this group, a bit behind the newest boats but among the top ten.
Surprisingly, the fleet of 40-footers is on the heels of the IMOCA 60, benefiting overnight of the turn of the tide with gusts of up to 16 knots, shifting from northeast to east. These boats are opting for a direct route and their ranking moved dramatically between 12:00 and 16:00.
The 47 monohulls are now level with the tip of Brittany. The fleet is choosing among the same options and is spread between France and Britain with Pindar 40
(ROYLE/BARRIER) the closest to the English coast.
The monohull fleet should expect to be caught up overnight in another high-pressure system, offering lighter winds and change in direction from east southeast to west northwest. Getting out of the Channel is going to be longer and harder in these conditions, meaning more manoeuvres overnight. The lack of sleep will increase with only short naps of 20 minutes to 1 hour
Multihulls (ORMA, Class 50)
The starting gun fired at 13:02 sharp for the start of the multihulls race. With a northerly wind of 3 knots, Brossard
(Y. BOURGNON/J. VINCENT) and Crêpes Whaou !
(ESCOFFIER/FAUCONNIER) crossed the line first in their respective categories. Contrary to the rough conditions typical for this time of year in the area, the wind has been playing a game of hide and seek. The high-pressure system hanging over Seine Bay provided light gusts that should benefit Groupama at the start. At 16:00 the ORMA fleet was at the level of Barfleur, Groupama
(CAMMAS/S. RAVUSSIN) leading shortly in front of Banque Populaire
(BIDEGORRY/Y. RAVUSSIN), Gitana 11
(LEMONCHOIS/GUICHARD) 3 miles away from the leader in front of Sopra
(BOURGNON/VINCENT) was last 5.5 miles away from Groupama. The boats were showing nice average speeds of 7 to 10 knots, sailing in north northeast wind of 10 to 12 knots.
The first eight Class 50 were only 100 miles away from Brossard
with Crêpes Whaou !
leading, followed closely by Laiterie de St Malo
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