Transat Jacques Vabre preview

James Boyd Photography /
Evil Monday night ahead; the Class 40 where Team Concise is flying the flag for the UK
For the 46 boats taking part in the doublehanded Transat Jacques Vabre that sets sail from Le Havre tomorrow bound for Itajai, Brazil, it will be a case of 'calm before the storm'. The forecast has been changing wholescale all week, but the main focus has been on a severe depression cruising in from the mid-Atlantic (as is normal at this time of year). At present the centre of this low is measuring an ear popping 968mB… Rather than beating seven bells out of the competitors as they head down the Channel tomorrow night, instead the depression and its associated fronts have been held up by a giant area of high pressure, that, come start time tomorrow, is forecast to be centred over Le Havre. However this high is scheduled to shift east rapidly tomorrow with SSEerlies filling in behind it. Despite this, the depression (and its associated fronts) are forecast to remain halted to the west of Ireland and the GRIB files are showing the boats having to take on 40+ knot winds before they can break through the fronts and the wind veers into the northwest, enabling them to tack south. Start time... However as Edmond de Rothschild skipper Seb Josse explains, it is not the wind, but the waves, that are going to be heinous: “The conditions forecast for 36 hours after the start are very bad for our boats. Overnight on Monday and through into Tuesday, we’re going to cross a depression. Prior to this, there will be a southerly wind, while afterwards it will kick in from the north. This change will happen so quickly that the seas won’t have time to reorganise themselves - that means the heavy southerly sea with 7-8m waves will continue and then be transformed into a cross sea and finally a northerly