Britain’s Alex Thomson looks forward to England playing in the Rugby World Cup final on Saturday morning as some respite from an increasingly unfavourable position in the Transat Jacques Vabre.
It was no Halloween horror show but day 5 of the 14th edition of the Transat Jacques Vabre may prove to have been a decisive upwind blow to the chances to the six – including two the latest generation foilers – who went west.
Given the worsening position for the IMOCA60s that chose the western option, Thomson would probably settle for the excellent second place he took in 2003.
Pressure is on Thomson and co-skipper for this race, Neal McDonald, as they try to mend a torn reaching sail that they will need in about 30 hours.
“Yes, the routing doesn’t look very good now; it looks terrible actually,” Thomson said. “but with regard to what we’re trying to do, things are going very well really, couldn’t be happier. It’s a bit of a shame that this western option doesn’t look very nice anymore, but c’est la vie.”
Britain’s Samantha Davies (Initiatives-Cœur) has jumped two places to third, with PRB dropping back after having to complete a 1h 30min penalty for inadvertently breaking an engine seal.
But perhaps ominously, the two of French latest generation foilers have opened up a small gap of 30 miles in just eight hours. In the morning just 15 miles separated the front five.
The westerners are mostly beginning to tack south this morning and face 25-30 knots south south-westerlies on a route east of the Azores.
The split in the Class40 is almost invisible by IMOCA standards, but it still could be significant for the fleet.
Kito de Pavant, racing in his 10th Transat Jacques Vabre, with co-skipper Achille Nebout, had taken the lead by Thursday morning after tacking south while the overnight leaders.
But Aïna Enfance and Avenir (Aymeric Chappellier / Pierre Leboucher), and Britain’s Sam Goodchild and Fabien Delahaye headed further west and are hoping the earlier hook into the low-pressure system brings greater dividends.
Friday 1 November – Leaders at 09:00 hrs FRA
1 – Aïna Enfance and Avenir (Aymeric Chappellier / Pierre Leboucher)
2 – CrossCall (Louis Duc / Aurelien Ducroz)
3 – Made in Midi (Kito de Pavant / Achille Nebout)
4 – Leyton (Sam Goodchild and Fabien Delahaye)
1 – Charal (Jérémie Beyou / Christopher Pratt)
2 – Apivia ( Charlie Dullin / Yann Ellis)
3 – Banque Populaire (Clarisse Cremer / Armel Le Cleach)
4 – Initiatives-Cœur (Samantha Davies / Paul Meilhat)
16 – Malizia II (Boris Herrmann / Will Harris)
18 – Hugo Boss (Alex Thomson / Neal MacDonald)
22 – Campagne de France (Miranda Merron / Halvard Mabire)
25 – Pip Hare Ocean racing (Pip Hare / Ysbrand Endt)
1 – PRIMONIAL (Sebastien Rogues / Mattieu Souben)
2 – GROUPE GCA – MILLE ET UN SOURIRES (Gilles Lamire / Antoine Carpentier)
3 – Solidarias en Peloton – Arsep ( hibaut Vauchel-Camus and Fred Duthil)