The recent story of the Fastnet moving its finish from Plymouth to Cherbourg (You can read the full story from Tip & Shaft here) followed the exodus across the Channel of The Transat which changed its start from Plymouth to Brest both prove that in Ocean and Offshore Racing nothing is guaranteed. As they search for tourism and investment profile and direct economic benefits, towns and cities are deploying different strategies, some of them very proactively such as Les Sables d’Olonne which has just added the Mini Transat to a growing roster of Vendée events. Here is a look at the state of play in France and in Portsmouth, the only English waterfront city which is pressing ahead with investment in sailing events, most notably June’s Emirates America’s Cup World Series event which will see the AC75s racing in England for the first time.
After a difficult end to 2018 with the loss of Banque Populaire IX in the Route du Rhum, the 2019 season has been busy for Armel Le Cléac’h, with events in the Figaro and Imoca circuits, ending up with tenth place in the Solitaire and sixth in the Transat Jacques Vabre with Clarisse Crémer. Not forgetting the work being done with the Banque Populaire Team on the future Ultim (due to be launched in the first quarter of 2021, as they observe what is happening in the Brest Atlantiques. The skipper from St. Pol de Léon talks to Tip & Shaft about everything that is going on.
One year ago it was a disappointed Sam Goodchild who had, again, suffered a Transatlantic breakdown – losing the mast of his Class 40 whilst among the leaders of the Route du Rhum. So when he finished the Transat Jacques Vabre on his third attempt in Class 40, second place on Leyton with Fabien Delahaye felt particularly sweet for the sailor who turned 30 in November. Goodchild, whose career best on the Solitaire was 11th in 2013, confirms he will return to the Figaro for next year, racing in the Leyton colours.
The Transat Jacques Vabre was a resounding success for the Finistère ocean racing training centre, as all three IMOCAs on the podium were skippered by sailors who train in Port-la-Forêt. This was a pleasing outcome for the director, Christian Le Pape, who examines what is happening in the world of ocean racing and at the Centre for Tip & Shaft.
As they are now along Brazilian coasts, Crédit Mutuel (Ian Lipinski / Adrien Hardy) is still leading the Transat Jacques Vabre in Class40. This is already a step change performance for the scow bowed 40 footer which was only launched on August 13, showing very well against Mach 40.3, the benchmark design in the class to date. Designer David Raison talks here of the new boat’s performances but also of Maximum Team BFR Marée Haute Jaune sailed by François Jambou, which at the same time is in the lead in the Protos in the 2nd leg of the Mini Transat while his new Series built Maxis are not having it quite as easy.
The Transat Jacques Vabre started on Sunday from Le Havre. After five days of racing by Friday, the leaders were Primonial (Sébastien Rogues/Matthieu Souben) in the Multi50s, Charal (Jérémie Beyou/Christopher Pratt) in the Imocas and Aïna Enfance & Avenir (Aymeric Chappellier/Pierre Leboucher) in Class40. Tip & Shaft looks at the weather strategies chosen by the sailors with three routers, Christian Dumard, Jean-Yves Bernot and Dominic Vittet.
Fifth overall twice in the Volvo Ocean Race, on Alvemedica in 2014-15 and on Vestas 11th Hour Racing in 2017-18, Charlie Enright, 35 (Rhode Island, USA) opens a new chapter in his sailing career when he competes in the two handed Transat Jacques Vabre race from Le Havre across the Atlantic to Salvador de Bahia, Brazil. Partnered by the hugely experienced Frenchman Pascal Bidégorry aboard the VPLP-Verdier designed former Hugo Boss on which British skipper Alex Thomson finished second on the last Vendée Globe. Tip & Shaft talked to Enright in Le Havre…..
After last week’s look at the Multi50 and Class40 on the Transat Jacques Vabre this week it is the 29 boat IMOCA class which comes under scrutiny at virtually one year before the start of the Vendée Globe.
Charlie Dalin is docked this week in his original home port, Le Havre, with the dream ticket, a new Verdier designed IMOCA Apivia ready to race their first big transoceanic race. Dalin was graduated from Southampton with a degree in naval architecture in 2006 and from 2015 he has been in the Skipper Macif programme until early in 2018 Apivia, a new Macif brand, announced their support for Dalin on a four year Vendée Globe programme. After finishing third on the 2015 Transat Jacques Vabre as co-skipper to Yann Eliès, Dalin pairs up again with Eliès for the upcoming Transat Jacques Vabre. Tip & Shaft spoke to Charlie……
As before each and every major race, Tip & Shaft gathers a panel of experts to discuss who represents the best prospects to win the Transat Jacques Vabre which starts next Sunday from Le Havre to Salvador de Bahia. So here we are looking at Class40 and Multi50 classes.