2009 Imoca World Championship
1. Marc Guillemot 362pts
2. Michel Desjoyeaux 357pts
3. Armel Le Cleach 338pts
4. Samantha Davies 321pts
5. Vincent Riou 304pts
6. Dee Caffari 295pts
7. Arnaud Boissières 292pts
8. Brian Thompson 281pts
9. Steve White 250pts
10. Richard Wilson 220pts
11. Raphaël Dinelli 210pts
12. Norbert Sedlacek 200pts
13. Kito De Pavant 59pts
14. Loïck Peyron 52pts
15. Yann Eliès 44pts
16. Roland Jourdain 39pts
17. Mike Golding 36pts
18. Jérémie Beyou 33pts
19. Yannick Bestaven 32pts
20. Alex Pella 30pts
21. Pachi Rivero 18pts
22. Guillermo Altadill 16pts
23. Jean-Pierre Dick 8pts
24. Marc Thiercelin 4pts
25. Unai Basurko 0pts
26. Jean-Baptiste Dejeanty 0pts
27. Derek Hatfield 0pts
28. Sébastien Josse 0pts
29. Jean Le Cam 0pts
30. Jonathan Malbon 0pts
31. Bernard Stamm 0pts
32. Alex Thomson 0pts
33. Dominique Wavre 0pts
The weather forecasts confirm that not only is deliverance from the 35-40 knot gusts and big seas due by Friday early afternoon, but then strategic decisions need to be taken over the following 24 hours which could have a lasting effect on positions up the Mediterranean.
Perennial leader Estrella Damm has a lead of just over 30 miles, and they still have no options but to press on flat out. Both teams well know that the miles up the Mediterranean are likely to be in light to moderate, variable headwinds and that in those conditions, the tables could be turned and W Hotels is acknowledged by most as having the potential speed edge.
As Estrella Damm’s vastly experience Project Manager Jan Santana (ESP) noted after this afternoon’s live audio and video conference with the boats, Pepe Ribes, Alex Pella and Stan Schreyer recognize that over three or four days from Gibraltar even a small speed deficit can quickly consume their 30 miles lead. Add to that the fact that some compression is inevitable, where the chasing boat stays with the better breeze when the lead boat has emerged into lighter going, and all predictions are for this remaining a close challenge.
On board both boats spirits are reported to be high, in spite of the challenging conditions. W Hotels could not be contacted, but Estrella Damm’s Alex Pella remarked that the thought of being so close to what will feel like the homeward stretch feels especially good.
Pella, Ribes and Schreyer are not having any significant problems except for routine small things that are an occupational hazard in the robust conditions, which they have been dealing with. On W Hotels the situation is similar although they had their hands slightly full when the videoconference was taking place this afternoon, as they were undertaking a repair to the compression bar and the part of the blade control mechanism of the windward rudder after it was damaged by a wave.
The W Hotels trio has had to throttle back to make the repairs, but the three co-skippers were confident in their ability to make good a relatively routine, but nonetheless annoying repair. The repair time was estimated to be around three or four hours which should allow W Hotels to return to optimum speed in five or six hours.
Boat speeds through last night and today have been impressive, averaging just under 20 knots and swallowing miles to the south of the Azores, rapidly approaching the improving conditions.
And then, probably on Saturday morning, comes the decision when to gybe, probably between 0800hrs and midday. Certainly for the Spanish crews that will feel like the turn for home.
Pachi Rivero (ESP), Co-skipper W Hotels (ESP): “Approximately 1 hour ago we got a damage in the windward rudder of the boat. I was on deck and a wave shook the boat completely and covered it in water. Once out of the wave I noticed a noise at the stern and it was the rudder hanging. Anyway after evaluating the damage (we have dismounted the rudder) we are already fixing it. We are still in the Record” in an e-mail to Record Control HQ.
Alex Pella (ESP) Co-skipper Estrella Damm (ESP): “We are going very well, with 20-30-32 knots of wind and so the work is still hard, we are happy, but it is reefs in and out because the wind is up and down and quite shifty. We are very concentrated and looking forward to when to gybe. The mood is up and we have no large jobs for the shore team when we get back, just small things and we have generally dealt with them as they happen.”
Jan Santana, Project Manager, Estrella Damm (ESP): “They (Estrella Damm) are pushing as hard as they can because they want to gain as much as possible now, because they know that when they pass Gibraltar the winds will be lighter.”
“You know that you have to prepare for different conditions and our boat is very good like that and upwind and for strong winds. If we are now at 30 miles in front of them, we know only too well that in 24 hours we can lose 20 miles. Now the forecast says that in three or four days the wind will be from the NE, very variable and light, between eight and 12 knots.”
“Both crews are working very hard, the skippers are very high level and the boats are pretty similar and so I expected it to be so close. The options are all pretty similar, and we have run the routings maybe ten times, sometimes with different programmes, and most of them have given exactly the same course that they have done. They don’t want to gybe too early because they go back into the low, and too late and the wind will be too close wind in 12 hours time. When they pass to the east of the centre of the low pressure the wind will change quickly.”
Stu McLachlan boat captain W Hotels (ESP): “I have been really impressed with how close it has been, clearly both teams are working very hard, Pachi, Toño and Peter have being going really well. Both Pachi and Toño have sailed together a lot in the past but they clearly have good chemistry and they have been able to make the boat go fast. Our job is to build in reliability and we have made good progress since last year with the boat. That reliability needs to be completely across the board and in all weathers, it is possible to have gear failures in light winds as well as big winds.”
Standings at 1300hrs GMT Thursday.
1. Estrella Damm (ESP), Ribes, Pella, Schreyer: 1272 miles to finish
2. W Hotels (ESP), Rivero, Piris, Becker: 1303.2 miles to finish (+ 31.2miles)
The two IMOCA Open 60’s pass into their second week of the New York to Barcelona Transoceanic Record Sailing Challenge battling with the toughest conditions of the passage so far.
Since the end of the day yesterday the first boat of the Istanbul
Europa Race fleet has entered the Atlantic, leaving the Mediterranean
in its wake. One by one, on the same single tack, the crews have
followed in the tracks of leader Michel Desjoyeaux, who has been
leading the way towards Brest for more than the last 24 hours. Though
all are making modest speeds, the passage of the Straits of Gibraltar
has mixed up the competition on this third leg more than ever,
particularly among the boats vying closest to take on the leader.
Veolia Environnement and Groupe Bel have been having quite a battle,
which Paprec Virbac 2 is doing its utmost to join. Further back, the
Spaniards aboard 1876 have been contending with a mast problem which has slowed them down, while the Mediterranean has yet to finish with the men of DCNS…
For its first edition, the Istanbul Europa Race has the pleasure of presenting a fleet of around fifteen boats, helmed by the top sailors of our time. The trust the sailors display in the organising company, together with the scale of the event and the course on offer, greatly appeal to sailing professionals.
In terms of image, the skippers are perceived as adventurers, sacrificing everything for their passion and a far cry from overpaid stars. In addition they practise a sport which, though given a lot of media coverage, is sheltered from the numerous excesses you can observe in other sports (structured finance, doping), and benefits from a ‘clean’ image in every sense of the word.
As such these top level offshore racers have expressed a desire to accept the invitation to what is to be an unmissable race in their professional career. Among them we can already mention:
The Istanbul Europa Race, in the prestigious IMOCA class, is the latest great sailing race in the yachting calendar. Its long course through Europe is to make it a major sporting event from its very first edition. In the great tradition of stage races, the Istanbul Europa Race will bring together a fleet comprised of some of very best sailors of our time, taking them on an ideal course and offering a genuine invitation to travel.
A human, competitive and cultural adventure, the Istanbul Europa Race has a wealth of assets to bring to the table. A public, comprising amateur sailors and enthusiasts alike, is bound to come out in force to view the spectacle, to witness this new encounter between man and the natural elements, at the forefront of which are the waters of the Mediterranean, as well as the Atlantic Ocean and the English Channel. The excellent line-up of sailors offered, the original aspect of the race ports and the course together with the public presence, all go to ensure massive, international media coverage, given the infatuation that is prompted by sailing.