Tuesday, February 13, 2018


On top, Bepox 900
Another look at the Transaquadra, particularly at the first leg that was raced last year in July, but first an explanation about why there is such a big interval between the two legs (7 months).

This is an amateur Transat on relatively small boats so the organization looks for the best sea and weather conditions to sail it, but there is a problem, the time for best conditions from Madeira to Martinique is not the same as from Brittany to Madeira.

If the entire race was done on a single leg the best time would be November but making the Golf of Biscay in November, on light 30ft boats with amateur small crews and solo sailors, is taking a lot of risks, so they opted for a smart solution: first leg in July, when the conditions from Brittany to Madeira are optimal and second leg from Madeira to Martinique in February, when the conditions are good for the crossing.

In the meantime the boats pass the winter on the hard, in Madeira, where they have found a nice spot to leave them, under the airport runways that are partially suspended. A less bright solution was found to allow the owners that have the boats on the med to participate on this race: there are two different starting points, one from Lorient (Brittany) other from Barcelona (Catalonia).

Above JPK 1080, below Sunfast 3600
This means that there are two different classifications on the same race and that just does not make sense.

It would make much more sense to separate the race in two different races, a coastal one with two different classifications, from Barcelona to Lisboa or Lagos, from Lorient to Lisboa or Lagos and from there an offshore race, a Transat with a single classification divided in two legs, one to Madeira and other one from Madeira to Martinique.

So, in what regards the first leg to Madeira we have two different classifications, one from the race that starts in Barcelona and another one that starts in Lorient. Traditionally the reputation of Brittany sailors only has as parallel the one of New Zealander sailors and the tradition rings true on this race with the boats coming from Brittany being faster than the ones from Barcelona. This edition was not an exception.

But what was really incredible this edition was that on the first leg two solo sailors beat all duo sailors!!! Hard to understand how that was possible and that has nothing to do with the boats because there are similar boats racing with duo teams. It has all to do with an incredible performance from those two sailors, one racing a JPK 1080 other racing a Bepox 999.

Above, Sunfast 3200, below JPK 1010
No, neither of them is a professional racer, far from that, the fastest, just for a bit more than 3 hours, was Alexander Ozon. He is a computer technician and director of a small company; of course he is also a great amateur sailor with good results and wins on French IRC races, but not even an ex-professional sail racer.

Relatively young for this race where all have to be over 40 years of age (early 40’s) he is racing a 15 year old design and that for this race is quite an old boat. Old but obviously very advanced for its time and still very competitive, a Bepox 999, a David Reard design, built in Plywood epoxy, a sort of lighter RM with a much lighter and simpler interior. Average speed on the 1st leg 8.0kt, not bad for a 33ft boat LOL.

The other one with an incredible solo performance was Jean-Pierre Kelbert, a very well known boat builder, in fact the owner of the brand that has more boats racing on this Transat, the JPK and I find truly spectacular that, with 54 years of age, he is able to out race all of them, duo sailed or solo. Obviously this guy knows everything, not only building boats but also about racing them!!!

He is sailing one of his boats, a JPK 1080, a very fast sailboat that has already won everything there was to be won, from this race to the Middle Sea Race, the Fastnet (in its division) and the Sydney Hobart (in its division). Jean-Pierre has competed in all those races, most of the time as crew on client’s boats. They invite him to race with them (we can understand why LOL).There are several identical boats competing on this race, duo sailed.
Above A35, below J11S
These two have diminished the performance of all others. After them and with duo crews, there arrived another JPK 1080, a SunFast 3600, a JPK 1080, a Sunfast 3600, a JPK 1010 a JPK 1080, a A35, a JPK 1010 an A35 a JPK 10.80, a J11s, an A35, a Sunfast 3200, a JPK 1010 (3rd Solo), a JPK 1080 , a Sunfast 3600 (4th solo).

All these boats were fast and the last of these made an average speed of 7.6kt. Jean-Pierre Kelbert is not the only famous member of the nautical community here, more incredibly we will find racing, just for the fun of it, Patrick Roseo, well in his 60’s, far from the last and at the middle of the classification. He is racing a Pogo 30, a boat that has an interior designed by him.

He was one of the first designers specialized on boat interiors and one that designed many production boats' interiors. Another one that is not only a designer but a very good sailor and knows very well what he is doing when he designs boat interiors, not only nice, but practical and adapted to the sea.

Just a word regarding the 2nd leg, just to say that Ozon continues sailing solo is Bepox in an incredible way and left already everybody behind. Nobody, duo or not seems able to keep up with his pace. Surprisingly (or not) that follows behind is another solo sailor, Jean-Pierre Klebert on his JPK 1080.

Bepox 990
Very near to JPK follow the 3 first from duo crewed, a JPK 1080, a racing Figaro II and a J11s. A word about the J11s that is just a J111 adapted to short crew sailing. One of the two is Aymeric Belloir not much over 40 years of age, an ex professional that 4 years ago won the Mini Transat (series).

This give a measure of the performance of Ozon and Kleber: it is not the others that are slow or their boats particularly fast, it is them that are making an incredible race!!!



  1. Now is interesting that such an old boat, the bepox 990 is on the lead. Its designer David Reard has some interesting boats you have mentioned sometime before, but I don´t know if you have never spoken about the Walkabaout 39 which seems to me a quite remarcable boat: http://www.walkabout.it/en/
    Quite impressive also the data when they compare it with other boats: http://www.walkaboutyachts.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/Confronto-Dati-barche-concorrenza.pdf
    It´s price seems very reasonable given all its features and, as seen on this video, they are very concerned about safety and fast cruising in comfort ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vSk7S07zP1o&list=PLv6NtAqRq6cRVW64tScdUYiyrNKxd69Oj )
    I don´t know whats your opinion about the way the keel is bolted to the boat. Is it really safer? (I mean otherwise may be you loose the keel but not necessarily the whole boat, but its only my uninformed guess of course)

    1. Hi,
      Yes the Walkabout seems to be a great boat and I did not talk about it here but I have talked about it 6 years ago on the previous "interesting sailboats", then a thread at sailnet: http://www.sailnet.com/forums/815056-post1865.html

      At the time there was a 43 and a 37. It seems that the 39 is an evolution of the 37. Unfortunately I don't think they have made many boats and honestly I thought they had disappeared.

      I see that the 39 is a new boat (2017) but they are making a lousy promotion with few pictures on the net and no movies or test sails. I did not have heard about it till your comment.

      One of the problems with the Walkabout in what regards sales is that boat is made in Italy and, as they say, it would be a very interesting boat for circumnavigate or for sailing on the trade winds but not the best design for sailing on the med or for handicap racing, that is what the Italians that like fast performance cruisers do with their boats. Maybe that's why the boat did not sell.

      I hope they have better luck with this one because it seems to be a very interesting sailboat.

      Regarding hulls the Bepox 999 has some similitude with the Walkabout 39 but also many diferences. The Bepox has a moderate beam, one that can be compared with other IRC derived performance cruisers, while the Walkabout is more of a downwind boat, a bit less beamy than the Pogos but proportionally a bit more beamier than a JPK 38, that is probably the closest boat around that curiously is not on that comparison on the link you posted.

      I don't understand your comments on the keel of the walkabout. It seems to be fixed to the boat in a conventional way (it seems well done).

      The only thing that is not conventional is a floor over the structure that seems a good idea in what regards boat structure but that raises a lot of problems in what regards keel structure inspections.