Strong trade wind vibes
This Transat Jacques Vabre 2023 clearly has its fair share of surprises and contrasts. After an intense start to the race in rough weather, the five duos which make up the ULTIM line-up had to demonstrate both patience and self-sacrifice in their negotiation of the Portuguese archipelago of Madeira to traverse a ridge of high pressure barring the way for their journey southward. Released from the clutches of the anticyclone late yesterday morning, the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild and her rivals were quick to put pedal to the metal and dramatically up the tempo. Since then, the fleet of maxi-multihulls has been embroiled in a drag race through the trades as they head towards Cape Verde. Following a great option as they negotiated Madeira, the Maxi Banque Populaire XI is leading the troops at a rapid pace. On the attack in their wake, on port tack, Charles Caudrelier and Erwan Israël are sparing no effort in their bid to defend their current second place. On this long leg towards the doldrums and the next course mark of São Pedro e São Paulo, concentration, trimming and precision piloting are punctuating the watches aboard the leading boats in the Coffee Route.
On the pace at Cabo Verde

After five days of racing, the fleet of maxi-trimarans is finally hotfooting it southward at high speed. There is a sense of liberation for the Charles Caudrelier / Erwan Israël duo and their fellow rivals in the Transat Jacques Vabre, after having to battle their way around Madeira for hours on end, caught up in a ridge of high pressure.  The co-skipper of the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild, for whom this is his first double-handed transatlantic race in the ULTIM class, gave us an insight into the past few nerve-racking miles: “The negotiation of Madeira was a pretty stressful situation, as we had to deal with precious little breeze and a wind shadow. There were several options, one of them being to pass to windward of them like Banque Populaire, which would mean shifting across to the north and putting in a series of tacks, or dipping under them. Ourselves and SVR opted to pass to leeward of the islands, leaving some distance between us and the land and we didn’t suffer too much from the wind shadow, which was a bonus. However, Banque Populaire reaped greater rewards for her option between the islands…”  


Playing hard-to-get initially, the trade wind is now settled nicely in position with the ULTIMs set to pass the Cape Verde archipelago later today. Pushed along by this solid NE’ly breeze, established at around 20 knots, the crews can really get their steeds firing on all cylinders. Aboard the five-arrow giant, Charles Caudrelier and Erwan Israël have racked up over 756 miles in 24 hours, which equates to an average speed of 31.5 knots at the 15:00 UTC position report. These numbers may well get the imagination going, but such a pace is only possible through hour upon hour of trimming and helming. And being able to maintain this tempo is important because Gitana 17 and her rivals will be embroiled in a veritable drag race as far as the doldrums.  

The joys of racing

This 16th edition of the Transat Jacques Vabre – Normandie Le Havre is certainly not lacking spice! Since the start, last Sunday at 12:05 UTC, the men on the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild have been through their entire sail wardrobe decorated with artist Cleon Peterson’s powerful warriors. Upwind with one or two reefs, reaching and now downwind, the race currently being played out on the Atlantic is proving to be fabulously diverse and intense.

Indeed, though Banque Populaire has gained the upper hand and stolen a march on her rivals since passing Madeira and harvesting the fruits of her option, there is still a very long way to go with over 5,000 miles ahead of their bows. In second position, Charles Caudrelier and Erwan Israël are getting the most out of their Verdier design and know only too well that their fifty-mile deficit in relation to the leader can be swallowed up in a matter of hours. On the hunt for the top spot, they’re sailing in convoy with SVR-Lazartigue, which is a convenient way to really push back the limits of their performance.   

The content that appears on this website is protected by copyright.
Any reproduction or representation is strictly forbidden.

For further information, please refer to the legal notice section.
Enter at least 4 characters...