The Maxi Edmond de Rothschild heads to the line for a boisterous start
For this late October showdown, Europe is being swept up in a succession of powerful autumnal depressions. It is in these boisterous conditions that the 16th edition of the Transat Jacques Vabre Normandie Le Havre will set sail this Sunday 29 October.

However, in the past few hours, the scenario initially forecast has changed. Yesterday, Francis Le Goff and Race Management announced that the Class40s were making a stopover in Lorient to preserve the fleet and avoid a very significant storm due to hit the French coast this Thursday. Since then though the weather forecasts have deteriorated and it has been decided that the Ocean Fiftys will also stop off in Lorient, whilst the IMOCAs will sit it out for a few more days in Bassin Paul Vatine in Le Havre.  For the ULTIMs, whose speed potential is different to that of the other classes with which it shares the bill for the Coffee Route, the problem is not the same since the five competing duos may well already be to the south of the depression, which is forcing the organisers to review their plans.   

Positioned outside the Bassin de l’Eure since Friday to ensure a safe passage through the lock and thus facilitate their journey to the start line, the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild cast off shortly before 09:30 UTC. 

First out on the racetrack, the Charles Caudrelier – Erwan Israël duo and their ULTIM adversaries will set sail for Martinique at 12:05 UTC.     

Charles Caudrelier, this Sunday morning, before climbing aboard the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild : 

“We’re expecting SSW’ly winds of between 20-25 knots at the start. This is a favourable wind direction here in Le Havre as the seas will remain practicable for the start phase. We’ll be slightly protected initially, but that won’t last long. As soon as we reach the Raz Blanchard (Alderney Race) and we’ve passed the tip of the Cotentin peninsula, we’ll be right in the teeth of the weather system.   The first two days are shaping up to be breezy, but above all there will be a great deal of instability. The first night is going to be lively with heavy seas – 4 to 5-metre waves are expected in the English Channel – and squalls. It’ll be important to strike a balance between speed and safety.”  

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