It was a tough year for the 2013 Transat Jacques Vabre (TJV) and Mini Transat races, thanks to a series of storms that churned their way through the Atlantic at the same time as their scheduled starts in late October.
It was also a particularly tough year for U.S. Mini 6.50 skipper Jeffrey MacFarlane, and U.S. sailor Rob Windsor and British sailor Hannah Jenner both sailing in the TJV aboard the Class 40 11th Hour Racing.
For MacFarlane, who was dismasted mere hours after the start of the Mini Transat in Douarnez, France, having to drop out was an especially bitter pill because he’d also lost his rig a few months earlier during a qualifying passage off the coast of Spain.
Although Windsor and Jenner were forced to seek shelter in Lorient, France, to repair a broken forestay after it also failed early on, they were still able to finish the race, albeit toward the back of the fleet.
Other standouts in the double-handed TJV crash-and-burn category were the Multi 50 trimaran Arkema, which capsized off the coast of Portugal; French superstars Francois Gabart and Michel Desjoyeaux who lost their rig aboard their Open 60 Macif even as they were closing in on a win in the IMOCA 60 class; and the crew of Caterham Challenge, which at one point had to slow down in order to disentangle their starboard rudder from a six-foot shark.
Winning the biennial Mini Transat—which was not only delayed, but had to be diverted to Sada, Spain, after which it was condensed from its usual two legs to a single 3,700-mile leg to Pointe-a-Pitre, Guadeloupe—was Benoit Marie, of France.
First to arrive in Itajai, Brazil, in the 5,450-mile Transat Jacques Vabre were Sebastien Josse and Charles Caudrelier aboard the MOD70 Edmond de Rothschild.
Winning the 26-boat Class 40 division—which in addition to the delayed start was forced to make a brief “weather stop” in Bloscon, France, to avoid a severe gale in the Bay of Biscay—were Sebastien Rogues and Fabien Delahae aboard GDF Suez. For complete results visit transat-jacques-vabre.com and minitransat.fr.
Photos courtesy Transat Jacques Vabre of Christophe Launay/MC2 Catamarans