Thursday, November 9, 2017


Starting with the Volvo Ocean Race with this incredible movie: that's what I call sailing a bit over the limit LOL. The race has been interesting with 5 boats inside 13nm, even if all the boats have been following about the same routing and that is a bit boring.

Maybe now that they are arriving to the doldrums they will opt for different approaches. Not surprisingly Dongfeng has been a bit better than the others and with a bold move to the west won  a lot of miles to everybody and is now leading, with a 5nm advance. All are following now its routing. Maybe if he can keep the distance the others are forced to look at different routing options?

On the Transat Jacques Vabre the 4 different races are very interesting. I will start with the smaller boats, the 40 class racers, with a video from the ones that are 2nd now (they were 3rd when the movie was made). The leading boats have been going at an amazing speed, for 40ft boats. The first passed the heavy weather with the foot down. They are making close to 340nm a day and that is IMOCA (Open 60's) territory.  At that speed no wonder that Phil Sharp/Pablo Santurde (the leaders) have overtaken the last of the IMOCA and are not far from others. Quite incredible!!!

On the Imoca (open 60's) the fight has been fierce and those on the video, even going at that speed, are only 5th, at 111nm from the first boat crewed by Jean-Pierre Dick/Yann Elies, but because among the first there are many different routing options, the distance between them has not the same meaning as if they had all gone for the same routing, like on the Volvo. Here, due to different routing options it is easy to win or lose many miles.

On the video above Lagraviere/Peron, that are 3rd, are experiencing some heavy weather. They are the ones more to the East, with many miles of lateral separation from Dick/Elies but I don't think it is going to be a good option. It seems that the way to go is all to the west. We will see and that is half the fun of it, trying to understand routing and the different options and seeing the results.

The fastest Imocas have been able to sail at about the same speed of the Multi50 and only on the last day the two fastest Multi 50 went away. And went away because they have been on an huge fight and are sailing really on the limit. They have exchanged positions several time and it is one of the hottest fights on this transat. First now is Roucayrol/Pella (on the video) but Leroux/Riou are at only 12nm and much more to the West. I would say that they are going to be much closer tomorrow.

On the Ultime class there are only 3 boats and one of them has already been overtaken by the two Multi 50 and also by the fastest IMOCA. They probably have problems but the other two are batlling hard and going very fast. For most of the race Josse/Rouxel led but some days ago Coville Nelias, going much more to the West were able to overtake them. Since then, on about the same routing, Josse/Rouxel have being able to recover, bit by bit and are now at 42nm. They are now the ones more to the West and they are approaching the Doldrums where routing is paramount and where many miles can be won or lost. Great races going on on this Transat!

And at last the Mini Transat that is far from being the less interesting race, even if on the Proto class (Prototypes) Ian Lipinsky, that has won already the first leg (video above) went away and has a big advantage over everybody (over 100nm). Riechers, the 3rd, has made a bold routing move, going all to the South. I think he has a good probability of being successful but not to the point to catch Ian. Another story is catching the 2nd, Kostner, and regarding that I believe it is going to be a very interesting fight.

But in what regards fights the one that has been great on this race is the one for the leadership on the serie class (production) where Clarisse keeps on pursuing Erwan even if she has been losing some miles. For catching him she needs to outclass him in routing. We will see what she can do about that. Both are making a fantastic race and are among the first Protos!!!

And just to remember that these little 22ft boats can reach fantastic speeds, a look at an already old movie, but still a favorite of mine:

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