Monday morning (6 Nov) 46 duos aboard their Class40 and Ocean Fifty multihiulls returned to the Transat Jacques Vabre race course from Lorient heading for Martinique.
The pairs set off in fairly typical late autumn weather with 2.5m high waves and a 20-knot WSW’ly wind. The breeze was peppered with many squalls to deal with, some bringing in heavy rain and gusts of 35-40 knots.
The fleets of six trimarans and forty monohulls are going to find it very hard work to get to the trade winds.
At 10:30hrs, the Ocean Fifty multihulls got underway with Viabilis Océan (Quiroga-Treussart) the first to cross the start line.
A quarter of an hour later, it was time for the Class40 monohulls to get back into the race via a course that will take them past Porto Santo in Madeira.
The wind eased off to 15 knots, but a huge squall on the horizon came blasting through.
At the gun, IBSA (Bona-Santurde Del Arco), Café Joyeux (D’Estais-Debiesse), Project Rescue Ocean (Trehin-Riou) and Edenred (Le Roch-Bourgnon), to the left of the start line, got off to a good start.
At the clearance buoy, it was the Normandie duo Cedric Chateau and Guillaume Pirouelle (Seafrigo Sogestran) who led the way ahead of Interinvest (Perraut-Bloch), Legallais (Delahaye-Douguet), and La Manche #Evidence Nautique (Jossier-Loison).
The Irish French duo Pam Lee and Tiphaine Ragueneau Engie DFDS Brittany Ferries had to make a rapid return to port to repair their J1 headsail but had finally returned to the race course 2-3 hours later.
French co-skippers of Dékuple, William Mathelin-Moreaux and Pietro Luciani, confirmed they would not be racing on after being unable to repair in time the damage they suffered in the first leg.
Le Havre’s record sized, 40 strong IMOCA fleet get under way from 08:30hrs UTC Tuesday morning.