The Azores this evening
Leaders since the very first few hours of this 13th edition, Sébastien Josse and Thomas Rouxel are still heading the Transat Jacques Vabre fleet as it makes for Salvador de Bahia. Aboard the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild, the duo negotiated the passage of a cold front to perfection last night and is now heading southwards towards the NE'ly trade winds. They boasted a 66-mile lead over their closest rival, Sodebo Ultim', at the 15:00 UTC ranking. Having covered some 950 miles since the start in Le Havre and set to leave the Azores archipelago abeam of them tonight, Gitana 17 is keeping up the pace planned by the Josse-Rouxel duo when they cast off.
Already two nights have passed since the race start in Le Havre on Sunday at 12:35 UTC, and both of them have proven to be rather lively for the 37 duos competing in the Transat Jacques Vabre, particularly so for those competing in the Ultime category, which is logically leading the way towards Brazil. After the English Channel, which saw them punching into heavy seas, last night the crew of the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild had a rendez-vous with the first cold front of this transatlantic sprint: We've had another rather lively night with the front rolling through and big seas of 3.5 to 4 metres and winds ranging from 30 to 35 knots and more in the gusts. In the strongest breeze we recorded 38 knots. It was tough-going in the two hours after the front rolled through; we were slamming a lot and in these conditions the boat suffers a bit. Our course is in line with the routing we had at the start and now we're on the right side of the weather system. It's a good thing it's behind us; we don't like this type of passage as you're up against shifty winds and heavy seas, which prevent you from being able to slip along. We had to be on our guard, but it was all over pretty quickly. That's the advantage of being in a multihull! highlighted the skipper of Gitana Team.
Getting into the Atlantic rhythm
After 48 hours at sea, the duo made up of Sébastien Josse and Thomas Rouxel has really got its bearings aboard the latest addition to the Gitana fleet, as Sébastien admitted to us at midday: Despite the bracing conditions of the start of the race, Thomas and I have quickly got into a good rhythm. As planned, we are doing all the manœuvres and sail changes together. The rest of the time, we have relatively short watches and between us we're managing to get some good rest. In terms of food, as always it's great thanks to the dishes cooked up by Julien Gatillon.
The low-down on the ranking
Credited with an 18-mile lead over the Coville-Nélias duo at 15:00 UTC yesterday, this Tuesday at the same time, the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild was some 66 miles ahead of Sodebo Ultim'. Completing the trio making up the Ultime category, Prince de Bretagne is struggling somewhat with a 295-mile deficit in relation to Gitana 17. This figure can be explained by the differences in size and the technology aboard the two trimarans, but also the crew announced this morning that they'd snapped the mainsail halyard as the front rolled through. This damage isn't damning for the next stage of the race, but Lionel Lemonchois and Bernard Stamm will be handicapped over the coming hours.
Focus on the 2 Michelin star dishes aboard Maxi Edmond de Rothschild
Since 2014 and the Route du Rhum, the Gitana Team has been working closely with Julien Gatillon, the two Michelin-starred Chef of Le 1920 restaurant in Megève. This establishment is none other than the flagship of the Mont d'Arbois domain, which has been owned by the Rothschild family for nearly 100 years. As with every race, the Chef has devised a series of recipes and specially designed some meals for Sébastien and Thomas to enjoy at sea. This association is a real guarantee of performance in the eyes of the skipper of the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild, given how essential the diet is in the daily lives of these top-level athletes.
Photos from out at sea sent by Sébastien Josse and Thomas Rouxel
Ranking at 15 :00 UTC, Ultime category Tuesday 7 November
1 Maxi Edmond de Rothschild 3,410.6 miles from the finish, 28.7 knots
2 Sodebo Ultim' 66.5 miles behind the leader, 26.3 knots
3 Prince de Bretagne 295.6 miles, 22.3 knots