Thursday, 12 November 2009

TJV: Caffari and Thompson in the leading pack in the Transat Jacques Vabre

Dee Caffari and Brian Thompson. Image copyright Chris Ison/Press Association.

by Kelly Russell

Despite an unpleasant third night in the Transat Jacques Vabre, spirits remain high onboard Aviva as Dee Caffari and Brian Thompson continue to hold their own within the leading pack, currently in fourth place.

The Open 60 fleet has split into two distinct groups with the leading five boats, including three British entries (Mike Golding Yacht Racing, Aviva and Hugo Boss) favouring a more aggressive northerly route. It remains to be seen which tactics will prove to be advantageous but with more cold fronts forecast, Caffari and Thompson have been enjoying the steady winds while they can.

Harry Spedding, Aviva Ocean Racing Campaign Manager added:
“As the front approaches the wind will build and the temperature will drop. Once in the front, the freezing cold and stinging rain will be coming in nearly horizontally, intensified by the fact that they are racing directly into it. As the front passes over the fleet the wind will move from South Westerly to Westerly, and this is the time for the teams to tack and head south.

“The front passes through and the low pressure moves in behind it. The wind will start to build again, and by mid morning they will be sailing in 35 to 40 knots from the west. The danger now will be the size of the waves, as the skippers will try and find the compromise between boat speed and survival. The first team to be out of the low pressure and accelerating again will make a good gain on the rest of the fleet. This low will be just one of a few to head their way.”

The 10h00 race ranking positioned Dee Caffari and Brian Thompson, onboard Aviva, in fourth place, 41.3 miles behind race leader BT.

Dee Caffari and Brian Thompson’s latest diary entry received on 11 November 2009 at 07h25 GMT:

“Yesterday we were sailing downwind under Code 3 with Groupe Bel joining us for breakfast. We gybed away from her to go west with the leading pack and I see this morning we are still together.

“The downwind conditions are all over for a while for us as when the darkness descended the wind direction changed and we are now sailing upwind. Life at an angle and bouncy too makes even the simplest of things difficult. The sail changes have been plentiful and we are close to being as small as we dare, three reefs in the mainsail and the staysail up. Walls of water are crashing over the boat that feel icy to exposed hands. The most wind we have seen has been 40 knots in a squall but the wind is pretty steady at 25 - 30 knots. Today’s big plans are to tack and finally get to head south for a while. I hope the temperatures warm up and also for a little less wind to make conditions pleasurable once more.”

Aviva Ocean Racing
Transat Jacques Vabre

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