The Transat Races: Broken Rudders, Dismastings and Sharks, Oh My!

Long known for testing some of the top sailors in the world, this year’s Mini Transat and Transat Jacques Vabre have lived up to its reputation.
Author:
Publish date:

Long known for testing some of the top sailors in the world, this year’s Mini Transat and Transat Jacques Vabre have lived up to their reputations. Besides facing severe weather delays, several sailors fell victim to dismastings, including co-skippers Gabart and Michel Desjoyeaux of MACIF, and U.S. sailor Jeffrey MacFarlane. Others, such as Brian Thompson and Mike Gascoyne, sailing Caterham Challenge, caught a shark in their starboard rudder. They were far from being the only sailors with rudder trouble, however. British co-skippers Ned Collier Wakefield and Sam Goodchild aboard Concise 8 were forced out of the race because of rudder damage, while other sailors made pit stops to make repairs.

3JML8953
 "Oman Air"

"Oman Air"

The races are beginning to wrap up, though, with French sailors Vincent Riou and Jean Le Cam aboard Open 60 PRB crossing the finish line first on Sunday. They sailed 5,450 miles from Le Havre to Itajaí in 17 days and 41 minutes. “It was a bit of a race for hard-headed nuts. You just never had time to stop and think—it was incessant keep your head down, and it was wet from beginning to end,” said Cam. The MOD70 fleet finished their course on November 19, with Edmond de Rothschild winning over Oman Air – Musandam.

Multi 50 sailors Erwan Le Roux and Yann Elies have claimed victory, and Yves le Blevec and Kito de Pavant placed second. Meanwhile, mid-fleet Class 40 skippers are sailing through the notorious Doldrums, which had brutal weather last week, leaving sailors with broken mastheads and battens. Still, the rest of the fleets are battling on, as trailing Team 11th Hour enters the Doldrums.

Life aboard the Mini 6.5s has been no less difficult, thanks to unstable trade winds and squalls building from the northeast. This race, however, is tight, with only a small distance gap between skippers Giancarlo Pedote and Benoît Marie, both fighting to cross the line first.

Photos courtesy of Jean-Marie Liot

Related

TOTW_PromoSite

SAIL's Tip of the Week

Presented by Vetus-Maxwell. Got a tip? Send it to sailmail@sailmagazine.com No chafe, safe stay  If you’re leaving the boat unattended for a longish period, there’s a lot to be said for cow-hitching the shorelines, as this sailor did. They’ll never let go, and so long as the ...read more

belize600x

Charter Special: Belize

It would be hard to imagine a more secure spot than the Sunsail base on the outskirts of the beachside community of Placencia, Belize. The entire marina is protected by a robust seawall with a channel scarcely a few boatlengths across. It’s also located far enough up Placencia ...read more

DSC00247

DIY: a Top-to-Bottom Refit

I found my sailing “dream boat” in the spring of 1979 while racing on Lake St. Clair in Michigan. Everyone had heard about the hot new boat in town, and we were anxiously awaiting the appearance of this new Pearson 40. She made it to the starting line just before the race ...read more

01-oysteryachts-regattas-loropiana2016_063

Light-air Sails and How to Handle Them

In the second of a two-part series on light-air sails, Rupert Holmes looks at how today’s furling gear has revolutionized sail handling off the wind. Read part 1 here. It’s easy to look at long-distance racing yachts of 60ft and above with multiple downwind sails set on roller ...read more

HanseCharles

Video Tour: Hanse 348

“It’s a smaller-size Hanse cruiser, but with some big-boat features,” says SAIL’s Cruising Editor, Charles J. Doane. At last fall’s Annapolis Boat Show, Doane had a chance to take a close look at the new Hanse 348. Some of the boat’s highlights include under-deck galleries for ...read more

amalfitown

Charter Destination: Amalfi Coast

Prego! Weeks after returning from our Italian flotilla trip last summer, I was still feeling the relaxed atmosphere of the Amalfi Coast. It’s a Mediterranean paradise, with crystal-clear waters, charming hillside towns and cliffside villages, plenty of delicious food and wine, ...read more

image005

Inside or Outside When Sailing the ICW

Last April, my wife, Marjorie, and I decided to take our Tartan 4100, Meri, north to Maryland from her winter home in Hobe Sound, Florida. This, in turn, meant deciding whether to stay in the “Ditch” for the duration or go offshore part of the way. Although we had both been ...read more

MK1_30542

SailGP: There’s a New Sailing Series in Town

San Francisco was the venue of the biggest come-from-behind victory in the history of the America’s Cup when Oracle Team USA beat Emirates Team New Zealand in 2013, so it seems only fitting that the first American round of Larry Ellison’s new SailGP pro sailing series will be ...read more