Juanpa Cadario: TJV, Safran y el riesgo de navegar sólo con piloto automático

TJV, Safran y el riesgo de navegar sólo con piloto automático

Foto copyright Safran

Fuente info Safran

Transat Jacques Vabre

No pit stop for Safran

Marc Guillemot and Yann Eliès have in the end decided not to make a pit stop in the Dominican Republic, as they had been planning since Sunday. They want to fight it out all the way across the Caribbean to get as well placed in the rankings as they can and are expected to finish this weekend.

On the telephone this morning, Marc Guillemot kept it short, but was very clear explaining his decision, “We have passed the geographical point, where we would have been able to carry out the planned pit stop. After giving it a lot of thought, we finally decided yesterday evening not to stop. This was no easy decision considering all the organising that has already taken place. But weighing up the pros and cons, we realised that heading for the place we initially planned would take at least 5 or 6 hours on top of the repair work. So we have cancelled the pit stop and are continuing on our way, as it is highly motivating to tell ourselves that we can still aim for sixth place or even fifth place in Costa Rica.”

“The fight is far from over”

The skipper of Safran, who has never retired from a race aboard this boat, wants to fight. Never giving up. With Yann Eliès, he is therefore taking the risk of sailing the final miles in the Caribbean aboard a boat that is steered uniquely by the autopilot and without the possibility of having the best sails up for the conditions. “The boat can offer 85% of her normal potential,” declared Marc. It is true that yesterday overtaking Gamesa (Mike Golding) and Mirabaud (Dominique Wavre), was very motivating for Marc and Yann. The two sailors on Safran are certain that they have not yet had their final say as far as Groupe Bel (6th), and even Bureau Vallée (5th) are concerned. “Groupe Bel is faster than us today, but the battle isn’t over,” insisted Marc Guillemot, “In particular we are going to have to deal with a tropical low forming over Costa Rica for the final stretch. So there are bound to be opportunities between now and the finish…”

A calculated risk

Aboard Safran, Marc Guillemot and Yann Eliès, are remaining vigilant watching closely every little wind change. They only have one tool at their disposal, the remote control for the autopilot, as it has been impossible to steer by hand since the damage occurred. This is very stressful in these strong trade winds, blowing at 25 knots, but which are irregular in the squalls: the slightest delay in reacting or error made in pressing the buttons on the autopilot (+10 degrees, -10 degrees, etc.) can immediately have serious consequences. Marc and Yann are accepting this risk, which is real but calculated. If everything goes well Safran is due to finish in Puerto Limon on Saturday night. In what position? Wait and see…

In the 1000 GMT rankings (1100 CET) on Wednesday 16th November, Safran 7th, sailing at 17°50 North and 69°12 West, 50 miles south-west of Mona Passage and 30 miles directly north of the leeward coast of the Dominican Republic. Distance to the finish: 931 miles. Speed: 16.7 knots.