After champing at the bit for nine days in the port of Le Havre to protect themselves from storm Ciaran, the Imoca category was finally able to set sail this Tuesday. Setting out to attack the Channel, the 40 monohulls (a record number of participants) benefited from bracing conditions with 20 to 25 knots of wind under the sun. Jérémie Beyou and Franck Cammas (Charal) immediately hit the gas to take control of the fleet ahead of another duo of favorites, Thomas Ruyant and Morgan Lagravière (For People) and the pair Sam Davies-Jacques Bouttell (Initiatives Heart).
The head of the ranking should arrive on the Channel Islands in the evening then at the tip of Brittany on Wednesday morning where a good front of 30 to 35 knots will await them. A strategic choice will then present itself, as on the Route du Rhum, with the option of a northern route or a southern route. “The one in the North requires you to go through quite harsh conditions, the one in the South, which requires you to go along Portugal then the Canaries to the Trade Winds, is for the moment longer and slower,” projects Yann Eliès, Yoann’s friend. Richomme on Paprek Arkéa.
The Vendée Globe monohulls still have a few hours to decide. Having left Lorient on Monday, the Ocean Fifty are fighting at Cap Finistère. The fight has already caused enormous damage. At 4:30 a.m. this Tuesday, Luke Berry and Antoine Joubert (Le Rire Médecin-Lamotte) informed the race management of the dismasting of their multihull 90 miles north-north-east of La Corogne. An hour later, Sébastien Rogues and Jean-Baptiste Gellée (Primonial) suffered damage to the port side float. The two navigators are safe and sound and are heading towards a port. Mid-morning it was Koesio's turn to report serious damage (to the connecting arm). Erwan Le Roux and Audrey Ogereau who were sailing in difficult weather conditions will also make a stopover. A real massacre for the Ocean Fifty category which only has six boats.
The breakages did not spare the Class 40 either, these small 12 meter long monohulls which left Lorient on Monday just after the Ocean Fifty. Renaud Courbon and François Champion announced on Monday, a few hours after departure, that their boat The Sea Cleaners - Univerre, had dismasted. The pair Ambrogio Beccaria and Nicolas Andrieu (All Grande Pirelli) occupies the lead of the race at midday.
For the Ultim category, the only class to be authorized to leave despite the wild weather conditions on October 29, the sea of the northern hemisphere is already only a distant memory. The battle rages and nerves are put to the test as they approach the small island of Ascension lost in the Atlantic Ocean. Armel Le Cléac'h and Sébastien Josse, on Maxi Banque Populaire Maxi Edmond de Rothschlid completes the leading trio, at 98 miles. Trifles for these giants of the seas which are currently traveling at more than 20 knots. The final sprint towards Fort de France, once around the island, promises to be as uncertain as it is breathtaking.