PredictWind GFS model for Sunday start time
PredictWind GFS model for Sunday start time

Transat Jacques Vabre - possible start delay

Weather models not conforming

Saturday November 2nd 2013, Author: Andi Robertson, Location: France

Originally scheduled on Sunday, 3 November at 1202 UTC, the start of the 11th Transat Jacques Vabre may be postponed due to the difficult weather situation forecast for the first night at sea for the Class40 and IMOCA 60 monohulls. The decision as to when the start will take place will be announced tomorrow late morning, the skippers were informed at their briefing this morning, by the organisers of the Transat Jacques Vabre.

In fact part of the reason for the uncertainty is that the three main weather models which were presented by Météo France’s Richard Silvani, Arpeggio, GFS and CEP, do not concur on the timing and exact track of the Atlantic low pressure which is due to pass up the English Channel. If it tracks close to the Channel, as some models suggest, then it will be winds averaging 35 kts, gusting to 50 knots, but if it tracks further to the north then winds will be a more manageable 20 knots.

And so the organisers have chosen to wait until the next update of the weather models and decide after tonight. This decision will also affect the decision to hold the prologue race for Multi50 and MOD70 multihulls.

Manfred Ramspachers, Sports Director of the Transat Jacques Vabre said: "We will take the time to consider all potential situations. A major depression will pass this weekend and the ideal weather window will be difficult to pinpoint. Our goal is to preserve the fleet at what can be the most sensitive, difficult phase, after the race start. The Transat Jacques Vabre is a test of professionals but also of amateurs who have made their own sacrifices to make the start. We want to see the maximum number of boats reach the finish in Itajaí. We don’t want to see damage to the fleet on the first night."

Sylvie Viant, Race Director of the Transat Jacques Vabre added: "The U.S. weather model gives a more favorable prognosis for the night from Sunday to Monday status. And if that model prevails the the monohulls could leave on Sunday as planned, performing a coastal prologue or heading directly to Itajaí. Otherwise the prologue could be canceled and a start set for the monohulls and perhaps Multi 50 on Monday. The start of the MOD70 could be given Thursday or earlier. In any case, it does not seem reasonable to send off boats upwind in gusts up to 55 knots into shipping traffic and strong currents. Safety and security considerations are the key to our decision."


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