Pathos and emotions within the Transat Jacques Vabre are endless. The 9th day of sailing in the second leg of the race (and the 18th since its first start) sees the Class40 IBSA in an excellent second position at the 2:00 pm check of November 15, but the attention is high and there is much anticipation.
On the afternoon of November 13, in fact, a large part of the fleet – those that had gained as much as 100 miles by staying west, and then lost them – began to head West/North-West following the expected formation of a depression that will bring wind to the centre of the Atlantic. Following the disappearance of the trade wind in the westernmost part of the course, the skippers further back in the rankings then took advantage of the situation, deciding on a new route that opened up almost unexpectedly.
Aboard the Class40 IBSA, Alberto Bona and Pablo Santurde del Arco, who in recent days had been rewarded so much by the Southward course, chose to continue searching for what Bona has called the ‘deep trade wind’, pursuing a strategy of more miles, but all sailed in the wind, gybing in and out of the wind (through the wind shifts induced by wind rotations) and gliding as much as possible over the waves. Each tack to the west brings them closer to their goal, while keeping in check those among their opponents who chose to bypass the orthodromic route in search of the wind and a new course; each tack to the south allows them to stay in the trade wind.
Of course, a split fleet creates new variables, as well as a situation to be kept under control, while trying to cross the 20th parallel and thus getting closer to the finish line. In a nutshell, the Atlantic becomes a chessboard, and the next few days will tell us who – between the wind chasers in the North and the more patient sailors in the South – will have made the best choice in a test that is getting more exciting every day.