The latest race news from the race
· No autopilot or wind data for 5 days
· Helm seat ripped off
· Stopover in Mindelo (São Vicente) arriving tomorrow, early in the morning
Thierry Bouchard and Oliver Krauss made the decision last night to stop briefly in Cape Verde to try to solve the electronic and computer problem that have handicapped them for several days during their descent to Brazil. Ciela Village, the first Multi50 designed with foils, was launched just five weeks ago. Getting it race ready for the Transat Jacques Vabre has been a challenge.
“We really wanted to do this Transat Jacques Vabre, even though it was a huge challenge for us,” Bouchard said. “We knew at the beginning that all the facilities on board were not reliable, but we’re really happy to be here today. The idea is to stop for as short a time as possible in Mindelo and to leave 100%.”
The first 48 hours of racing demonstrated the potential of a well-conceived boat, which Bouchard and Krauss were working out how to handle. Then the autopilots gave up the ghost.
“The boat started to make big swerves. It became uncontrollable with the autopilot,” Bouchard said. “So, since Tuesday, we’ve been helming 24 hours a day. It’s very difficult to wake each other up when you have to manoeuvre on the deck but not let go of the helm for a moment. We can’t adjust the boat or manoeuvre when we’re alone, especially since the boat is super responsive and the conditions have been pretty fierce from the start with a lot of big seas.”
Wind data is essential, especially at night
On Wednesday, the mast angle sensor broke. “So we are not getting reliable wind data,” Krauss said. “Especially at night, we don’t know where the wind is coming from. In these conditions, it is difficult to be perform well, we are not moving forward. It's really frustrating to have a fast boat and not be able to use it 100%.
“The computer screen also exploded after being hit. The boat is therefore no longer receiving weather files, and we can communicate only by phone with our router, Xavier Macaire. “We’ve organised ourselves well like that, it's more complicated but that's not why we’re stopping.”
Finally, the port helm seat was torn off. “We helmed standing up all night, clinging as best we could, to the winch, to the helm. It really was really shaking. And we’ll be staying on this tack until Brazil.”
The good news is that the boat is going very fast. “It’s behaving very well and going fast. We only noticed some slight damage on the gennaker tack - we’ll make a more precise inventory in Cape Verde to ensure that it’s not structural,” Bouchard, who finished 2nd on the last Transat Jacques Vabre with Oliver Krauss, on board Drekan Groupe, the boat which capsized on Wednesday night. “They are not the same boats. Our new one is much more responsive, more powerful. We have to learn how to use it and we need all the tools to be able to attack and tobe able to make it reliable.”
In Mindelo, Bouchard and Krauss will be welcomed by Antonio Pedro da Cruz (a Capverdian and former Figaro sailor), who helped them during their stopover in 2015. Fred Bonnet, the boat assistant and Michel Milanese, the electronics engineer, will be in Mindelo tonight. Ciela Village is expected to arrive in the Cape Verde port early tomorrow morning.