Tuesday, 10 November 2009

TJV: Major Depression Forces Sam and Sidney to Re-Think Transat Jacques Vabre Strategy

30 knots under gennaker: Artemis Ocean Racing hones along

Artemis Ocean Racing after the start of the 2009 TJV. Image copyright Mark Lloyd/Lloyd Images.

by Artemis Ocean Racing media

Nearly twenty-four hours into the Transat Jacques Vabre race from Le Havre to Costa Rica, Artemis Ocean Racing is heading west out into a dangerous Atlantic: “Looking at the weather ahead there is quite a serious depression coming through,” reported Sam Davies to her shore team this morning. “The files show there could be 50 knots and although our ideal route takes us through that depression, it is not something we really want to do because it could be real boat breaking conditions. So although it’s the optimum route we’re looking at the weather to see what our other options are. We’re happy with our position - we’re kind of in the middle of the fleet - a little bit frustrated to be a tiny bit behind the leaders, as you can imagine! Now it is just a matter of trying to get across this little ridge of light airs that we’re negotiating right now and into the new wind the other side.”

Large depression ahead. Supplied image.

Latest reports show Artemis is already in the new southerly breeze of 15 knots which will now steadily increase. At the 1300 GMT ranking, Artemis Ocean Racing is still in 7th place, 13 miles from the leader Foncia. The first night of the double-handed 4,730-mile TJV, the 14 IMOCA monohull fleet spread out in a line advancing westwards after a full on fast reaching night in the English Channel.

Sam, famous for her ‘happy’ emails sent back during her solo Vendée Globe, is continuing this trait as she sent this email this morning: “Yeeeee haaaaa! What a slingshot out of the channel! Artemis has been flying and we have had some great adrenalin thrills already as we hooned along under gennaker in 30 knots of wind and crazy waves! Things have calmed down slightly now. Little sleeps only as there has been a lot of manouvering to do, so both pretty tired as expected. As I write, the jet-boil is heating water for porridge and honey... Lovely end of night under a starry sky, but a little bit chilly! Drying out as the wind is dropping. All is well on board Artemis!”

Artemis ploughs along. Image copyright Mark Lloyd/Lloyd Images.

The race claimed is first victim overnight that saw the Open 50 mulithull ‘Actual’ pitch-pole off Cherbourg, skippers Yves le Blevec and Jean Le Cam are safe: “It was pretty wild for a while especially off the top of the Cherbourg peninsula where we had some quite interesting waves and we were thankful we were on an IMOCA 60 and not an Open 50 trimaran. We had a bit of a fright when we heard Actual had capsized but luckily they are okay from what I hear,” said Sam.

Sam continued: “It was a pretty windy and wild first night - a bit of a baptism by fire! Although we had 30 knots which is quite a lot, it was nice to have 30 knots downwind instead of upwind! But it was pretty full on, we were doing speeds of up to 25 knots and averaging 20 knots over 4 hours - it was pretty crazy. We enjoyed it though - full on with lots of traffic around in the English Channel and not much visibility with all the spray and rainsqualls. So we were working really hard to sail as fast as possible and I think everyone has come out pretty close after the first night so it’s a good race still.”

If the first night was ‘a baptism of fire’ the Artemis duo need to work out the best way to avoid the storm force conditions forecast for Wednesday and, importantly, to keep with the top half of the fleet in these fast conditions - Artemis has already covered nearly 300 miles of the course - and challenging opening stages of this 16-18 day race.

Artemis Ocean Racing
Transat Jacques Vabre

No comments: