Anglo-Spanish pair fights French and Physics
We may be about to witness the closest finish in Transat Jacques Vabre history as the Anglo-Spanish duo of Phil Sharp and Pablo Santurde (Imerys Clean Energy) attempt to catch the two newer French boats in a three-horse race down the coast of Brazil.
Maps and ranking
As the Imoca peleton continued to arrive in comparatively relaxed fashion today, parading into the Bay of All Saints, the contest for the Class40 could barely be more furious behind them.
ETA: The leaders, Wednesday, November 22, 22:00 UTC
Locked together for the last fortnight, the three boats are passing Recife on the coast of Brazil and Sharp and Santurde have managed to stem further losses to just nine miles in the last 24 hours. At 17:00 UTC, with 325 miles to the finish line in Salvador de Bahia, Imerys Clean Energy was 17.2 miles behind the leader Aïna Enfance and Avenir, with second-placed V and B (Maxime Sorel / Antoine Carpentier), just 4.4 miles behind.
The three boats are all Manuard design, but the two French boats are version 3 of the Mach 40 design and Sharp’s, version 2 and simply slower in the reaching wind angles they have had since the Doldrums. It may only be a half a knot, but over 24 hours that is heartbreaking.
Design physics has forced them into a tactical decision to head further offshore in the search for more wind, whilst the two front boats gybe closer to the coast (they are 12 miles from land). As the trade wind begins to swing behind them this evening, Imerys Clean Energy, should be able to hold its own. But until then perhaps their best hope is that the French boats will push too hard against each other.
“This contest won’t be decided until the end,” Aymeric Chappellier, the skipper of Aïna Enfance and Avenir said. “Imerys Clean Energy is 15 miles behind now. Of course, nothing is impossible, especially as there are 350 miles to go, and it will still be complicated. There’s still a long way to go. The goal is not to get into a match-race but to sail as well as possible.”
Monday, November 20, 2017
Sixth-place Tanguy de Lamotte and Samantha Davies (Britain), on Initiatives Cœur at 20:15:39 (UTC)
Race time: 15 days, 07 hours 40 minutes and 39 seconds
Read the debrief with Tanguy de Lamotte and Samantha Davies here
Tuesday, November 20, 2017
Seventh Louis Burton and Servane Escoffier, on Bureau Vallée 2, at 04:37:58 (UTC)
Race time: 15 days, 16 hours 02 minutes and 58 seconds
Eighth Isabelle Joschke (Germany) and Pierre Brasseur, on Generali, at 13:08:01 (UTC)
Race time: 16 days, 00 hours 33 minutes and 01 seconds
Ninth Alan Roura (Switzerland) and Frédéric Denis, on La Fabrique at 14:39:16 (UTC)
Race time: 16 days, 02 hours 04 minutes and 16 seconds
Tenth Yoann Richomme and Pierre Lacaze on Vivo A Beira at 17:55:21 (UTC)
Race time: 16 days, 05 hours 20 minutes and 21 seconds
Wednesday, November 22
Newrest-Brioche Pasquier & La Mie Câline – Artipôle, 06:00
Famille Mary – Étamine du Lys 14/15:00
As well as courage and intuition, ocean racing is all physics and mathematics; from the design of the boats to the autopilot algorithms and analysis of weather and routing. But for Tanguy de Lamotte and Britain’s Samantha Davies on Initiatives-Cœur, there were other calculations to consider as they crossed the Atlantic. They finished sixth yesterday (Monday) in a powerful field, but overacheived even more in their other mission.
Their unique campaign raised enough money for 25 children from around the world in need of heart operations to have them in France. At the start in Le Havre they were aiming for 15. De Lamotte, who started working with the charity in 2004, is now handing over the helm of both boat and campaign to the capable hands of Davies.
Read more here
Les mots des partenaires
Aymeric Chappellier, skipper, Aïna Enfance and Avenir (Class40)
“We have a dozen knots at the moment. The wind will start to favour us and we’ll be able to go under the big spinnaker by the end of the day. This contest won’t be decided until the end. Whether you’re in the lead or second, it doesn’t change much in the immediate future. The advantage is it means we’re in the game. But we can’t rest on any laurels. We’re on the lookout for the slightest flurry of breeze, the slightest change in wind direction, anything. We’re trying to think of all the possible scenarios and to do everything we can do until the finish to try to stay ahead. Imerys Clean Energy is 15 miles behind now. Of course, nothing is impossible, especially as there are 350 miles to go, and it will still be complicated. There’s still a long way to go. The goal is not to match-race but to sail as well as possible.”
Isabelle Joschke (Germany), skipper of Generali (Imoca)
“It was demanding, it was difficult, and sometimes a little scary, we went to find the limits of the boat and our own limits too. This was a race where we exploded out of the blocks and then came to a complete standstill in the Doldrums. That was really difficult because we hoped to finish the race with the leading boats, who we’d been fighting with since the start. In the Doldrums, all those hopes disappeared. But it motivated us to give the best of ourselves. It was three races in one: before, during and after the Doldrums.”
Sam Davies (Britain), co-skipper of Initiatives-Cœur (Imoca)
“It was an amazing race. It was really intense, especially the first week – but for me that was kind of my favourite bit as well; I love it when it’s full on and windy and rough. I can’t wait to sail again. We’re learning a new boat, there are bits that we missed that the leaders knew – they did an amazing job – Jean-Pierre (Dick) and Yann (Eliès), and Paul (Meilhat) and Gwénolé (Gahinet) had an amazing race, hats off to them. I’m going to use them as an inspiration The welcome in Salvador is brilliant. For me, there are memories from 2001, I did my Mini-Transat and that was the first time I’d come to Salvador.”
Tanguy de Lamotte, skipper of Initiatives-Cœur (Imoca)
“The circle is complete; I came by Mini to Bahia some years ago (2004), and I now I’m finishing in Bahia. The boat is top; it was the first foiler for both of us, and it adds intensity in everything. It feels natural that Sam should take the helm of this boat (Davies will the boat and campaign into the 2020 Vendée Globe). We have two objectives: sport and solidarity and we’ve been able to save a lot of children, that’s 150 since we started the project, that’s huge!”
Les mots des skippers
Première réaction de Tanguy de Lamotte et Sam Davies (Initiatives Coeurs) à leur arrivée à Bahia
First reaction of Sam Davies after his arrival in Bahia