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Transat Jacques Vabre - Fleet prepare for the front

If the first night of the 13th Transat Jacques Vabre was tough, the second night will wash away the memory in brutal fashion for the 37 boats and 74 crew.

The TJV fleet will meet winds gusting up to 45 knots and 5-metre waves as they begin to cross a cold front off Cape Finisterre from this evening (Monday).

In a different way to the trilas of negotiating ridges of high pressure, as the fleet did today, the big conditions test seamanship, stomachs and partnerships to destruction.

The race has started with record-breaking weather forecasts but these are boat-breaking conditions where it is more about seamanship and survival rather than speed.

The upwind conditions will be tough for all four classes, and momentarily negate much of the advantage of the foiling boats across the fleet, even that of the 32-metre long leader in the Ultime class, Edmond de Rothschild.

Class40: between a rock and a racing current

What a battle. Just 15 miles between the first 7 boats with newly-launched boat Aïna, Enfance & Avenir (Chappellier/Le Vaillant) leading and Britain’s Sharp in fourth and Miranda Merron (Campagne de France) in fifth.

They will reach the front tomorrow.

Imoca: What a battle II

Just 13 miles between the top eight. Des Voiles et Vous, SMA, St-Michel Virbac lead a fleet, which slowed by the ridge this afternoon, is slowly accelerating.

The SMA duo (Meilhat / Gahinet) have given nothing to the foilers. But the more upwind conditions in big seas suit them.

As soon as they pass the front (around 01:00 UTC), the foilers should make their reaching speed count.

Multi50: Arkema set the pace

Lalou Roucayrol and Catalan’s Alex Pella on Arkema managed the difficult first night of sharp downwind racing expertly and stayed true to their pontoon plan of a quick start to be best placed for the front.

The Multi50s are all heading due west, towards the front they will reach in the evening.

All except Réauté Chocolat (Tripon / Bernaud) who have opted for a safer southern route at the cost of miles in what will be the toughest boat in the fleet to manage these conditions.

Ultime: Maxi Edmond de Rothschild escaping

After a crazy night with speeds of 40 knots, the Josse / Rouxel duo is making more than 20 knots, over 20 miles ahead of Sodebo Ultim’ and beginning to feel the grip of the cold front.

1 - Aïna Enfance & Avenir
2 - Carac
3 - V and B

1 - Arkema
2 - Réauté Chocolat
3 - FenêtréA - Mix Buffet

1 - St Michel - Virbac
2 - SMA

1 - Maxi Edmond de Rothschild
2 - Sodebo Ultim'
3 - Prince de Bretagne

Technical stop

Eärendil (Class40): after breaking the hoist line for the staysail, Catherine Pourre informed the Race Office that she will stop at Camaret-sur-Mer (Brittany) Monday night (around 24:00) to repair it.

According to the Sailing Instructions, she will not be able to leave until four hours after her arrival.

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