The latest race news from the race

Sodebo Ultim’ show control as they set sail for victory

Sodebo Ultim’ show control as they set sail for victory

With ten miles to the finish, Sodebo Ultim’ is expected to cross the line at sunrise in the Bay of All Saints in Salvador de Bahia, Brazil at 06:30 local time / 09:30 UTC and win the Ultime class of the 13th edition of the Transat Jacques Vabre. But they face a nerve-jangling slowdown in the last two miles to the finish. 

Thomas Colville and Jean-Luc Nélias, the skippers of Sodebo Ultim’ showed that it was possible to control their pursuers, Seb Josse and Thomas Rouxel, on Maxi Edmond de Rothschild, who have seen their chances of victory fade with every minute that brought them closer to Bahia. The Maxi Edmond de Rothschild is now 60 miles behind.

Control is also the question behind them, with some more successful than others. In the middle of the Doldrums, FenêtréA-Mix Buffet is back in a battle with Arkema, whose position slightly west allowed them to find the trade winds for longer and close a lead of 93 miles to just 17. In the Imocas, we have seen a ballet of the gybes. The leader St-Michel Virbac covered those behind is still 58 miles ahead but now slightly east of SMA. And in the Class40, it’s a three horse race with V and B, edging past long-time leader, Imerys Clean Energy, who have shifted east. Now the hunter becomes the hunted.

 

Ultime: A new race record

Both giant trimarans should pulverize the previous race record by two days, coming home in under eight days. The previous mark was set by Franck Cammas and Steve Ravussin on Groupama 2’s in 2007 (the last time the race finished in Salvador) in the 60ft multihull class with the then astonishing 10day 0h 38min.

In solid north-easterly trade winds the two tandems whipped along the coast at 30 knots, with peaks at 37-38 knots. Despite a 40, growing to 60-mile cushion, Coville and Nélias cannot relax. “There will be 25 knots up until two miles from the harbour. And then two knots. In Bahia you can really find yourself stuck. If they’re going at 35 knots behind us, they will be on us in an hour ,” Nélias cautioned in the early morning.  

Multi50: The elastic contracts

“It's always a lucky dip in the Doldrums," Vincent Riou said, clearly a little tired having been dramatically slowed as they hit the first clouds of the Doldrums. Behind, Arkema was still whipping along and eating the miles. No two squalls are the same and there is no guarantee they suffer like FenêtréA-Mix Buffet. We will only know tomorrow in the late morning if the elastic stretches in both directions.

Imoca: How far west is best?

At  16:30 UTC yesterday, Des Voiles et Vous! was the first to gybe and invest in the west. Less than two hours later, SMA and St Michel-Virbac did the same. The leaders are keeping an eye on everyone behind, they do not have to wait for the rankings, they can check the website, which is updated every hour. Nobody wants to miss a shift west, which will be profitable tomorrow with the approach to the Doldrums, but how far is too far?

Class40: A new leader

After almost a week in the lead, the Anglo-Spanish duo of Phil Sharp and Pablo Santurde (Imerys Clean Energy) have been passed by the French boat, V and B and Aïna Enfance et Avenir are now right behind with 11 miles between all three. In fourth place, TeamWork40 is struggling to keep pace.

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