Published Monday, Tuesday, Thursday
29 October 1999
Issue # 81
Transat Jacques Vabre
Developments in the multihull fleet are the top news from the Jacques
Vabre transat. One, the multihulls have had 150 miles lopped off
their course. Rather than heading to an island waypoint off
Nicaragua the trimarans will head south to Barbados before finishing in
Columbia. This should keep them away from a developing tropical
storm. Second, Fujicolor is sailing with tremendous pace. For
the last 360 miles they have averaged 22.5 knots. Their lead is 78
miles over Foncia. Foncia should be making a pit stop to repair
damage to her starboard float today. This stop is expected to be a
couple of hours in duration. With Groupama only 49 miles back Foncia
has little margin for error.
The monohulls are still led by
Whirlpool with a 125 mile lead over Sobedo. Whirlpool's lead seems
steady. Catherine Chabaud is still pushing Whirlpool hard saying,
"During the night I had hallucinations. Luc and I change position at
the helm every hour and a half at night so as to stay effective."
However, Herve Jan on 2nd place Sobedo says, "But now the game is
wide open and we might catch her." So far, there have been no
signs of this prediction occurring.
Up to 3rd is Sill Enterprises.
From Sill, Jean Le Cam says, "We now have two boats to catch up with
but there's still a long way to go." In 4th place is Marc Thiercelin's
Somewhere. Thiercelin has noted a disturbing trend: "Only one
thing sure, I'm starting to get a bit demoralized when I see the
performance of my boat. As soon as I go back to France I will put the boat
back in the yard for a complete overhaul." Thiercelin maybe onto
something as Jean Le Cam reports that Sill Enterprises passed Somewhere
under main only. Thiercelin goes onto comment, "Today it's my 39th
birthday and like two years ago in this same race and last year in the
Around Alone, I'll feast it at sea. I've done this since 1989!"
A year ago Thiercelin was sailing Somewhere in the Around Alone on Leg
1. He was 3rd, 47 miles back of the leader.
One of the boats ahead of Somewhere was
Team Group which in this race trails Somewhere by 53 miles. Next is
Aquitaine/Kingfisher. Ellen Macarthur reflects on the race saying,
"I contemplate how we have progressed to find freedom and not through
technology, but through the simplest things in life, through human
endeavour." The final Class I boat is Gartmore/First Call 802
miles back of the leader. From Gartomre Alex Thomsen reflects that
their southerly push was wrong. He gives insight into how a wrong
decision came to be made: "We were so sure that we were doing the
right thing, it didn't occur to us that we could be wrong. We were both
very tired at that point from the pre race build up and the first 4 days
racing, however be both should know better and are sorely disappointed."
Class II is now led by Pindar by 98
miles over Spirit of the Race.
Soon both fleet leaders will be under
1000 miles to the finish. Earliest finishes are not expected
until1 November. With many of the boats close together, a crew
that can shake fatigue think clearly and sail fast can still do some
ISAF Women's Match Racing
Currently underway this regatta is
being sailed in J-22's in Genoa Italy. 24 teams are sailing.
Defending champion Betsy Alison of the USA is attempting to defend her
Top performances in the first round
robin are as follows. Group A: Shirley Robertson 4 points, Mane Klek
4 Points. Group B: K. Zuiderbaan 4 points, Sharon Ferris 4
points. Group C: Dorte Jensen 5 points, Malin Kallstrom 4
points. Group D: Betsy Alison 5 points, Paula Lewin 3 points.
Racing continues with Round Robin
2. After this the field will be cut to 8 boats for the
Note that both Robertson and Lewin are
nominees for the Torresen Sailing Site Sailor of the Year award. You
may cast you vote for this award by clicking
Playstation= Code Yellow
Steve Fossett and his Playstation crew
remain code yellow to start.
This means favorouable weather to break the Atlantic record is expected in
4 to 6 days. Current predictions are that 1-5 November is the general
weather window, while 3 November is the specific date looked at.
Next Wednesday NW-NNW winds of 20-25 knots are expected which would get
Playstation off strong. Should
Playsation change to Code Green we should expect a departure within 48
The postponement rule that caused so
much trouble in Round 1 was slightly amended at a meeting the competing
yachts. Now competitors may still request a 45 minute postponement
if they become disabled. Such delay is subject to inspection by
officials, and supposedly can't be protested if denied. This was not
the case in Round 1 as two races were resailed when postponements weren't
The change to the rule is that a yacht
can't request postponement once the 5 minute to start gun has been
fired. This would also prevent a team facing a bad start from trying
to gain a postponement.
At least one challenger, America True
put forth a proposal to do away with the postponement clause. This
The bottom line is that this clause is
unusual for sailing and will not exist as a fall back during the actual
Cup match. Only Stars and Stripes and Prada sailed all races in
Round 1 without a breakdown. If the challengers expect to win, they
will need to significantly improve reliability or face the prospect
returning to New Zealand as challengers. America One skipper Paul
Cayard seems to realize this saying, "It's gonna be rough out here in
the next four months and we have to be able to sail in conditions like
today and yesterday without having damage if we intend to win the Louis
Vuitton Cup and the America's Cup. It's facing up to reality."