Juanpa Cadario: Transat Jacques Vabre, la seguridad como prioridad

Transat Jacques Vabre, la seguridad como prioridad

Foto copyright Alexis Courcoux

Fuente info TJV

Transat Jacques Vabre D - 7 : Big wins and little wins.

- Safety Briefing for competitors of the Transat Jacques Vabre
- Class 40 : the forces involved
- The weather is beginning to occupy the minds
- Mike Golding looks back on a record of six TJV's in the IMOCA Class and forward to his seventh.

Four days before the start of the tenth edition of theTransat Jacques Vabre, the biennial Transatlantic race from Le Havre to CostaRica, the weather picture for the crucial early days of the course is increasingly starting to preoccupy the minds of the 36 duos (13 IMOCA,16 Class 40, 7 Multi 50) which will compete. As is often the case with the North Atlanticin November stormy conditions seem increasingly likely. After a quiet couple of days, some taking time away from Le Havre, though the Autumn sunshine painted a perfect picture over the still waters of the Paul Vatine Basin, the skippers' had to turn their attentions to the issue this afternoon's extensive safetybriefing.

Memories of the rescue of Sebastien Josse and Jean-Francois Cuzon off the Azores during the 2009 race are a reminder that such briefings have a vital practical value when required. Some will have sat through a dozen such briefings but accumulating the knowledge to ensure that procedures and processes become second nature is appreciated by even the most experienced skippers. And, building the safety knowledge of the crews significantly increases thesafety and security of the professionals who undertake such rescues in very difficult conditions. Such were the messages delivered today from representatives of the CROSS (Centre Régional Opérationnel de Surveillance et deSauvetage) Jobourg, crew of 24F (aircraft) and 32F (helicopters) all delivered informativeand practical information covering every aspect of search and rescue, from whatskippers can reasonably expect to detailed accounts of interventions indifferent conditions, films of rescues and practical advice. Race medic DrJean-Yves Chauve also offered key advice of avoiding accidents.

Class 40, the battle between the new and the established designs.

The competitors agree among themselves. In Class 40, there is a difference of potential between the firstgeneration designs and the latest designs in the class. So much so that thecompetitors have set among themselves a totally unofficial category,"vintage" to describe the crews who, unless gifted an exceptionalcombination of circumstances, don't really expect to step on the podium.

Within this subgroup are several teams such as Jean-Edouard Criquioche andStephanie Alran (Phoenix Europe Express) or Eric Galmard and Francois Scheek(Avis Immobilier). On board Phoenix the experience of Jean-Edouard, withseveral transatlantic Class40 is complemented by the passion of Stephanie, aformer top athlete who has taken up offshore racing, will be needed to counterthe attacks of Galmard and Scheek who have accumulated enough miles together totake on this course with complete confidence. Do not forget either, DamienSeguin and Yoann Richomme (ERDF - Des Pieds et Des Mains), a formidable duocombining a Paralympic medalist and a regular from the world of the Solitairedu Figaro.

Top Class seeds, a blessing or a curse?

Well maybe it is not so good to be afavorite, after the mishaps which struck Yannick Bestaven and Eric Drouglazet (Aquarelle.com) who has just arrivedafter repairing rudder damage, it is now Tanguy de Lamotte (Initiatives - Alex Olivier) who has been forced to make a late co-skipper substitution after injury to SebAudigane. Eric Peron has replaced the vastly experience Audigane.

But there are a top group for sure, such as Bureau Veritas - DunkerquePlaisance (Stéphane Le Diraison - Thomas Ruyant), Comiris Pole Santé Elior (ThierryBouchard - Gilles Berenger) and the young British pair on Concise 2 (NedCollier Wakefield - Sam Goodchild).

Others see themselves as outsiders such as Picoty Group (Jacques Fournier -Jean-Christophe Caso) Partouche (Christophe Coatnoan - Etienne Laforgue), Solo(Norway's Rune Aasberg - Simen Lovgren) or even 40 Degrees (Hannah Jenner –Jesse Naimark-Rowse) ...

For still others, the Transat Jacques Vabre will be mostly the opportunityto build experience and step up a level: Hip Eco Blue (Italy's Andrea Fantini - Tommaso Stella) as Lecoq Cuisine (Eric Lecoq - Eric Ironsides), Gust Buster (Anna- Maria Renken - Jacika Jesih) or 11th Hour Racing (Nick Halmos - HughPiggin) all start with strong ambitions and high hopes.

The Bay of Biscay in their heads.

The early days of racing could cast the die for the race. Though the first twenty-four hours seem topromise a peaceful exit from the Channel, the situation will deterioraterapidly. A deep depression in the Atlanticapproaches which will give very strong winds and rough seas. Going straightinto these conditions the duos must quickly must establish a good rhythm or be left behind or even sufferbreakages the material. So where to set the cursor, setting the initial pace isa fundamental skill.
The transition from land to the ocean is not always simple.

A pack of six: Mike Golding looks back and forwards.

When he arrived in Le Havre to compete in his first Transat Jacques Vabre in the Autumn of 1999 Mike Golding had already completed three circumnavigations, having won a crewedround the world race and also sailed solo non stop around the world against theprevailing winds and currents.

But the IMOCA Open 60 was a new challenge, as was racing short-handed.

Since then Golding has raced in every subsequent Transat Jacques Vabre finishing on theTJV podium four times with a best finish of second in 2001 racing with MarcusHutchinson as co-skipper. In 2009 he finished second with Spain's Javier 'Bubi' Sanso. Thisedition he races on his Gamesa with Bruno Dubois who he raced with in 2007.

So Golding,racing three different generations of designs over the years has been at theforefront of the changes in the IMOCA Open 60, has enjoyed the benefits andchallenges of the significant advances in communications and navigationtechnology, and been at the heart of the evolution from a race with manyamateur and Corinthian skippers to the modern day highly professional sport.

The First

"The firstrace it was still very young as an event but there were still many, many peoplecame to the start, but the race was one of many others. And a lot has changedwith Le Havre,then it felt like you were in among a lot of dark buildings and now it reallyis such a thriving place with so much regeneration going on. The first time Iraced with Ed Danby and it was to Cartagena in Columbia. In fact theracing was very similar to now. There was less corporate involvement and muchless communication on the water, the technology has changed so much butfundamentally what is nice is that the race remains the same."

The Best

" The bestrace was the one with Marcus when I think it felt like every thing just clickedand kept clicking and we felt like we were on a roll, but also the last race Idid with Bruno, in 2007, was very enjoyable even if the boat was new and Ispent half my time upside down with my head in the engine and we seemed to havequite a lot of technical problems, but we had a good time together."

Most fun and least fun

"I reallyenjoyed going to Salvador in Brasil a lot, andthe race to Cartagenawas not dissimilar. But the reality is that this course to Costa Rica is very different and ithas changed the weather and the strategy a lot. Before, you crossed theDoldrums and the Equator and mostly it was a race to get south quickly. Thisyear, and the last edition, you are essentially going into the North Atlantic in Novemeber and that can be a littlescary.

In essencethe last race there were three options, one north, one middle and one south andthat is divisive in terms of the fleet, but I suspect that adds fascination forthose watching from the land. But here we now have a Transat Anglaise typecourse in November, not June and that is at the ragged edge of what can bedone. But, equally, it very much is a real test of boat and team, but there canbe outcomes like in the last edition where boats were lost."

Evolution not revolution

"It is interesting how the boats have evolved. They are so much more powerful nowwhich is good when it is going well, but they can be nasty when it goes wrong.We have taller rigs, higher power to weight ratios. For example in the firstrace I did we had rod rigging and now we are all carbon fibre rigging. In thosefirst races we only had Standard C which was a telex based system viasatellite. We could download a small, simple weather file and otherwise weatherwas from shore radio stations via fax over radio.

Now of course we have fleet broadband, which is quick and easy. Weather is quick andeasy and we can send much more imagery, live video footage. So the 'job' haschanged a lot. The boats are very complex and it is much more about managingthe systems. It is much easier to use the technology. And we have always beenearly adopters of new technologies. That is certainly one of the attractions ofthe class, the ability to innovate."

Changed days

"Once there was a nice naivety, more of a mix of professionals and amateurs, now theprofile is almost entirely professional which is good from the point of view ofsponsors, but some of that camaraderie, that spirit is lost."

"In a funny sort of way the old boats were easier to control. They were less powerful butwere extremely fast. The changes have been incremental. Then we had fourballast tanks, now we have ten. Then we had a 25 metres mast, now it is 30metres and so there is so much more power. The boat is a pretty lively animal when the breeze ison.

But this time we are so much better protected from the elements. On Group 4 there was noprotection in the cockpit from the elements, you were either wet or dry, youwere either inside or outside, sometimes even getting wet inside the boat. Nowyou can sail the boat to its maximum in relative comfort. With our newcoachroof protection you feel like you could light a candle in the cockpit itis so well protected."