Besieged from the North and the South by the Class40s of the Transat Jacques Vabre, Martinique awaits the arrival of the crews with great patience and very little wind, in a slow-motion – but truly enthralling – finale. Indeed, the showdown between the teams that chose the Northern route and those that chose the Southern one has now begun, with Martinique all wrapped up in a bubble of calm. At the 12:00 pm check of November 22, the Class40 IBSA is in sixth position: the good news is that the gap to the leader has been significantly reduced; the less good news is that the calm in the next few hours will shuffle the cards once again.
“It’s not easy to navigate like this”, commented Alberto Bona. “The Southern option was the best for us, and when you make radical choices, you have to follow through. We are in the leading group and we have to maintain the pace, but the scarcity of wind doesn’t favour us. However, we are giving our best, so that IBSA can develop the greatest possible speed in relation to the weather conditions. Everything is fine on board, both Pablo and I did a lot of manual steering. Now anything can really happen; this race will be decided in the last few miles, and the rule is to never give up and play it to the end”.
Meanwhile, the routages indicate that we have entered the last 24 hours of the race, to be followed with great attention through the tracking tool. Alberto and Pablo are heading South as much as possible, to stay in the wind and not fall into the calm.
Meanwhile, IBSA’s “welcoming committee” has landed in Martinique and, as per tradition, is waiting to embrace the skippers of its very own Class40. Yesterday they inspected Rock Diamond, a 175-meter basalt rock – an ancient fort from the Napoleonic era, which allowed navigation between Martinique and the island of Saint Lucia to be blocked, in order to have control of the area. Rock Diamond will also be a strategic point for the Transat Jacques Vabre: the boats must pass through a sort of gate between the rock and the mainland, thus starting the final phase of the regatta.