Transat Jacques Vabre Situation Report

Michel Desjoyeaux and Jeremie Beyou have lost little time in demonstrating their reputation as pre-race favourites, leading out of the inky black of the first night at sea. Quickly getting into a rhythm thanks to the miles that both have sailed already on the Farr design Foncia, which won this race in 2007, and more recently triumphed in the Istanbul Europa Race with co-skipper Beyou on board.

Foncia was leading the pack out of a ridge of high pressure early this afternoon, in close company with Groupe Bel - which has remained resolutely south since the start yesterday – Akena Verandas, which has on board Arnaud Boissieres partnered by past Vendee Globe winner Vincent Riou. Record breaking British double-circumnavigator Dee Caffari with Brian Thompson is placed on Aviva in fifth.

Ahead for them is the first nasty weather system of a sequence of depressions which are forecast to bring them 40-45 knots and big seas on Wednesday. Such weather is standard fare for this time of the year in the Atlantic, but by Friday – the 13th – they should be through the worst of it and negotiating the Azores archipelago.

Foncia's lead was 3.1 miles over Kito de Pavant and Francois Gabart on Groupe Bel on the 1700hrs (1600hrs GMT) standings, making just over 12 knots.

Whether it proves more of a brave, long term strategy or a simple matter of getting free of the ridge quicker will remain to be seen but the group to the north is emerging faster, not least Alex Thompson and Ross Daniel, whose routing on Hugo Boss took them north of the Sicily
Isles but the British duo were quickest late this afternoon, along with Seb Josse and Jeff Curzon on BT who had also strayed a little further north than they planned.

The British duo on Aviva, Caffari and Thompson, continue their strong start. Third on the early morning ranking, they were 5.4 miles off the double Vendée Globe winner's pace lying fifth in the 14 boat IMOCA Open 60 fleet.

While Crepes Whaou leads away in the Multi 50 class, earning a cushion of 86 miles after just over 24 hours of racing, Yves Le Blevec and Jean Le Cam were back on dry land in Cherbourg this afternoon, recovering from the capsize of their Actual last night. Le Blevec told a live radio session with the PC Course in Paris today that the capsize was 'brutal and sudden'. There was nothing they could do when the bow stopped in a wave.

He refused to speculate if they had hit something more solid that water, but the damage to the bow of the new boat, which was only officially launched in Le Havre at the end of last week, is quite considerable.

Positive support from Samual Tual, managing director of the Actual Group, in Cherbourg indicated that the plans for the tri Actual will be unaffected and the boat will be made ready for next year's Route du Rhum as soon as possible.

After cracks were discovered this morning in their crossbeam Alain Maignan confirmed that they will pit-stop with FenetreA-Cardinal in Port La Foret for further investigations.

Date Added - 09-Nov-2009

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