06 November 2023

At 10:45 am on Monday, November 6 –within the best “navigable” window before the arrival of the next disturbance – the Class40s have left Lorient (Brittany) for the second stage of the Transat Jacques Vabre. After the two terrible storms that lashed the Bay of Biscay and the English Channel last week, the organisers had in fact decided to include a short 300-mile leg: the Le Havre-Lorient.

The bad weather of recent days left as a gift, for the departure from Lorient, a wave that reached four meters and which – added to a 15-knot wind blowing from 280° and the strong current – made the start very complex.

Alberto Bona and Pablo Santurde del Arco, on board the Class40 IBSA, played very well the first hour of the regatta, first with a port tack – windward in the middle of the fleet – to get away from the opponents’ wakes and sail free, before turning and setting sail in the direction of the first notable landmark of the race, that is, the passage before Cape Finisterre, in Spain.

In the first hour of the regatta, their position appears to be among the leading five but, looking closely, at this stage the major issue is not the fight with the opponents: with 3,730 miles still to go, the rule for the first two days is to be very fast, resolute and focused, in order to go past Cape Finisterre as soon as possible and clear the next low, that once again will bring heavy seas, which will be better dealt with as far away from the coast as possible.

At the 12:15 pm reading, an hour and a half after the start, the Class40 IBSA was sailing with an excellent pace, in fourth position, first among the Italians.

Fifteen minutes before the Class40s, the Ocean Fiftys also started, while the IMOCAs, still in Le Havre, will set sail on Tuesday morning, November 7. The Ultims, however, are already in the Southern Hemisphere, with Banque Popolare XI 50 miles ahead of the second, 3,800 miles from the finish in Martinique. For the Class40s, the route selected by the organisation and confirmed on Sunday afternoon includes a way-point at Porto Santo, a small Portuguese island near Madeira, to be left on the right. In this way, in the next few days the boats will be forced to follow a southern trajectory, which will allow them to avoid entering the next depression, while helping them hook up with the trade winds.

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