Drag race north

Transat B to B solo IMOCA 60s heading in the direction Bermuda to avoid high pressure

Wednesday December 7th 2011, Author: James Boyd, Location: none selected

Chart above courtesy of Expedition/Tasman Bay Navigation Systems and PredictWind

Pos Skipper Boat Latitude Longitude Spd Crs Spd VMG Crs Dist DTF DTL
          1 hour   Between scheds     24 hrs    
1 François GABART MACIF 25 59.26' N 63 19.71' W 14.5 352 15.5 9.3 354 210.4 3068.7 0
2 Armel LECLEACH Banque Populaire 24 49.02' N 62 37.48' W 15.3 347 16.3 8.4 348 210.9 3072.1 3.4
3 Marc GUILLEMOT Safran 25 04.32' N 62 33.29' W 14.7 351 15.4 9.1 353 203.8 3074.2 5.5
4 Alex THOMSON Hugo Boss 25 13.42' N 62 47.82' W 15.5 345 16.2 8.5 349 199.5 3077.8 9.1
5 Mike GOLDING Gamesa 25 14.24' N 62 52.76' W 15.4 356 15.9 7.5 346 189.8 3080.6 11.9
6 Vincent RIOU PRB 25 18.64' N 62 57.29' W 15.3 347 16.3 7.8 346 197.2 3080.7 12
7 Jean-Pierre DICK Virbac-Paprec 3 25 41.62' N 63 34.43' W 16.7 342 15.3 7.4 346 202.7 3090.2 21.5
8 Louis BURTON Bureau Vallee 24 34.61' N 63 06.33' W 15 348 13.8 7.8 351 182.1 3112.4 43.7

Although at the latest sched the tracking doesn't show the latest positions for Banque Populaire and Bureau Vallee, it appears that the two latest VPLP-Verdier designs have taken the lead in the IMOCA 60's singlehanded Transat B to B race from St Barts back to Lorient. This situation has changed since the last sched yesterday when Armel le Cleac'h on Banque Pop was leading from Mike Golding's Gamesa, which held pole at the 1600 update. 

Common across the fleet is that all the boats are heading more or less due north, even through the direct course from St Barts to Lorient is 046°. This is because the direct route is at present upwind thanks to an area of high pressure situation due north of them (centred currently just north of Bermuda). While this area of high pressure is set to move east over the next 24 hours, by tomorrow morning it looks like the 60s will still be on much the same course towards Bermuda and will have their pedal to the metal to get north since the forecast has the western extremity of high potentially blocking their way on Friday. It looks at present that the boats will all just about scoot through and into the favourable southwesterlies allowing them to point their bows east, before the door closes...

However as Mike Golding says below there are differences between GFS and European models - not so much the major features, but in particular the orientation of the high tomorrow.

Out on the water the boats overnight have been tackling squalls and lightning.

Overnight Mike Golding on Gamesa reported: “It has been a bumpy ride in a horrible sea with a lot more wind than I expected, 28-30kts, and so I am a bit put out by that and I have had a few little problems, I was not as prepared as I would like to have been. But it is fine. A problem I have to deal with a little further down the track is that I seem to have lost oil out of the engine. I am fortunate that the bilge [sump above the keel] is otherwise dry and so it is not sloshing about the boat, but at some point I am going to have to clean it and get it back in! It is not major, however. As far as the weather goes there is still a difference between the two models and so I just need to keep on top of their evolution as we come to make decisions. As far as I can see that will be a little bit further along and at the moment everything is OK. It is good to have all the boats in a line. I have maybe lost a little but I am pretty happy to have been able to hold on to the likes of Banque Populaire and MACIF over these first couple of days, and so that is heartening; something I must admit I was a little worried about. That is very positive for me; good news. So now we have to muscle on through the next few days. At the moment I am looking forward to getting my head down. It's been busy but we are generally in good shape. A bit messy in parts, with little problems I could do without, but fundamentally all is good."

Race leader this morning François Gabart on MACIF reported: "I was well-prepared and if anything I was carrying less sail than normal in such conditions. I was ready to tackle a windy night. One hour after sunset, there was lightning every which way: thick with small stormy squalls. The wind went from 10 to 30 knots, then from 30 to10 in a matter of seconds. I’m trying to slalom between the squalls but it has to be said that our slight differences in course aren’t doing much: we’re at their mercy. The lightning worries me. Two years ago on Groupe Bel during the IER, we lost all the electronics in the Mediterranean with a lightning strike. I REALLY don’t want another taste of the delights of sailing ‘in the dark’. No, not now. Not now... The squalls are becoming calmer but we still have wind and the seas are beginning to pick up. I’m really easing off the pace. We could go faster but at what price? It’s too risky. As a result, the second half of the night is somewhat cooler all of a sudden. Thank you to the automatic pilot. On today’s menu we have a siesta, thorough check of the boat, siesta, thorough check of the boat, etc. I haven’t been counting the number of circuits I’ve made like that but it must be a fair few. In fact, it’s time for me to do another one!!! Have a good day, François.


Latest Comments

Add a comment - Members log in

Latest news!

Back to top
    Back to top