Quotes from skippers

Sam Goodchild (Britain) - Leyton (Class40)

We’re 40 minutes from the turning mark, which is 4.6 miles in distance terms. We lost quite a few miles yesterday in some big rainclouds in the morning, which was frustrating and a bit worrying for us. We’ve now got 30-35 miles on Aïna and ten miles to go, so we’re hoping that the odds are with us.

We had 12 knots ten minutes ago and now 8 knots  and dropping. There are some models that say it’s going to be a complete wind shutdown and we’re going to stop and basically wait for the other. We’re trying to not believe that one and get round the corner and into the Bay and then we can relaxt a bit, but at the moment we’re still a little bit nervous. 

Adrien Hardy (France) - co-skipper, Crédit Mutuel (Class40)

We’re on the last day of sailing before arriving; it's lovely, we’ve got ideal conditions, a flat sea, 10-15 knots of wind, and with the moon, we can see the coast in the distance leeward. With some fishing boats here and there, we hope we won’t slow down too much today. We hope to cross the line early in the night. We’re under gennaker, we were under spinnaker, the wind shifted, we were a little bit off road, our pace dropped, we did a manoeuvre and were back up to speed. 

In a few hours, we’ll have it back and we’ll put the spinnaker up again. It's nice to go to the front. It's not been very favourable for 4-5 days now. I’ve got memories of Mini Transat where the wind was up, we found ourselves under spinnaker, but here, until last night we were upwind - the trade winds are further south. We’re still making the most direct route.

For Ian, these are great moments, his project started a year ago and we are going over the strong and weak points of the race, the mistakes and the good points. From the point of view of a journey, it's awesome, and we know the crossing that we’ve made - to Fernando de Noronha and now the coast. To arrive on the coast like this by boat, it’s the best way to travel ... It's amazing; there is the competition and the journey, each race is different from that point of view. Our ETA? We expect to arrive around 2-3 UTC, which is midnight local time.

Samatha Davies (Britain), Initiatives-Cœur (IMOCA)

The conditions were lighter. I don’t think I’ve ever done a Transat and not taken two reefs in. A low-wind transat. The Doldrums weren’t easy and the other difference this edition is that now it is a real competition. For the first time there were 29 boats and it’s more like sailing at the level of the Figaro in terms of competition. To have a real regatta, all the way across the Atlantic in these machines is amazing. That’s the massive difference and hopefully that continues. 


Valentin Gautier (Switzerland) - Banque du Léman (Class40)

We’re beginning to have the unpleasant feeling of being the butt of a joke that has lasted for three days now. Mostly, we’ve been calming our nerves by saying that it's the same for everyone, except that now, that's not the case! Our friends in the west, who we’ve been hunting, seem to have passed  through without much trouble, and us hunters have become the hunted without even realising it.

Sébastien Simon (France) - Arkema-Paprec (IMOCA)

We got out of the Doldrums reaching on a port tack, with 16-20 knots of wind, flat sea, so we said ‘these are our conditions, let’s go, it’s time to put our foot to the floor’. We were starting to think the podium was possible but two hours later the foil broke, without warning. So, we’re in a sailing without foils. There’s not much left of her!

Now, we have a bit of breeze, so it's nice. We need to send up the big downwind sails, but the boat is unbalanced by the loss of the foil, so we will take out the spinnaker a little later. Other than that, it's going ok, it's very hot, it's difficult to stand being below when charging batteries! We should arrive tonight (Sunday) or tomorrow in the morning in the Bay of All Saints.

Charlie Enright (USA) - 11th Hour Racing (IMOCA)

Hope this is the last one!

Best night of trip...

12-15 knots of flat water reaching

Thanks for all


Charlie Dalin (France) - Apivia (IMOCA)

(72 miles from the finish)

We don't want to declare victory before the finish, it's not our style. We're not thinking much about the arrival, we're still in our transatlantic rhythm. It is a beautiful day for sailing, the boat is gliding effortlessly, the sea is smooth.

Charlie Dalin (France) - Apivia (IMOCA)

“(The wind) has just softened. So far we’ve had 15/16 knots of wind, we’ve been making 13 knots; we’re slower but the conditions are good, it's smooth. We passed a lot of fishermen during the night, they don’t have AIS, just a small white light, so we spent the night on lookout. We crossed paths with a few cargo ships as well.

“I haven’t made the calculations yet, but I think that after midnight UTC we’ll be outside the bay. We’re trying to look after the boat, but we’ll just play the wind that we get during the day; we’ll stay in race mode until the end! We passed the point where we are closer to the finish than the second boat is to us.

“[overnight] Am I having fun? Yes, I am indeed. These boats are fun to sail compared to all my years in Figaros. You don’t sail Figaros for the fun of the boat, more for the tactics, strategy and trying to improve your sailing level. Here, the IMOCAs are performance boats and at the top of what you can do with a monohull. I’m still amazed at how fast we can sail. Right now, I’m sailing at 22 knots, answering your questions in 16 knots of breeze. It’s just crazy.”

Charlie Enright (USA) - 11th Hour Racing (IMOCA)

Home stretch

all good

16 knots


Charlie Enright (USA) - 11th Hour Racing (IMOCA)

It’s good, we’re just blasting along, this is obviously what everyone remembers about the race when they win it, but the first few day weren’t like this. 

(The Doldrums) started OK for us but we got dropped by Apivia, were we neck-and-neck. But it was horrid for Charal, every sailor has that at some time in their lives. I feel bad for them, but anybody who knows anything knows (it can happen). 

We hope so (to get on the podium). We’ve got a pretty good chance and there’s some pressure on these guys in front.

Gilles Lamiré, skipper of Groupe GCA – Mille et un sourires (winner of Multi50)

It’s a long and difficult road, we knew before the start that it wouldn’t be easy. I still felt apprehensive before we left. We had an incredible adventure, the level in Multi50 is super high. 

It's my first big race with the boat. Antoine is a great sailor, he helped me a lot to get the best out of the boat. I’ve already started to look at our track, it unfolded like beautiful illustrated book. We’ve got some great pictures, like in the Canaries with the gennaker filled with 35 knots of wind. The race with Primonial, where we were bow-to-bow, was amazing! We had great weather strategy from Christian Dumard. He was superb. He must be very happy because we went exactly the way he told us. We made an extraordinary visit to Cape Verde. We knew we could lose everything in the Doldrums, but we were lucky, and Christian told us where to go. It went really well! We’re really happy to have arrived in Bahia in front!

Miranda Merron (Britain) - Campagne de France (IMOCA)

Last small trade wind clouds behind, vast wall of grey ahead...

Miranda/ Campagne de France

Charlie Enright (USA) - 11th Hour Racing (IMOCA)

Hi there

all good aboard

Tight reaching in 10_12 knots

3 days out

Charlie Dalin (France) - Apivia (IMOCA)

“We think an easterly flow has infiltrated the Doldrums. In this phenomenon, the wind shifts (it passes to the east) and in front of that flow, there is nothing. We made placement, we got away with it.”

Charlie Enright (USA) - 11th Hour Racing

All good onboard

Could use a little wind


Boris Herrmann (Germany) - Malizia II - Yacht club de Monaco (IMOCA)

“The entrance to the Doldrums slows everyone and we will too eventually, most likely, it’s a question of luck. Charal was really unlucky, being stopped for almost one day. I feel really quite sorry for them, seeing that they didn’t move at all last night for example, that must be quite stressful.

“We’re very happy considering where we stood three days ago, whoever gets out first from the Doldrums will extend away again.”

Jérémie Beyou (France) - Charal (IMOCA)

“We were 100 miles ahead and we are going lose them all, we have no wind, we can’t get out. We were on a good track and we caught a last squall this morning and after that, curtains.” 

Sam Davies (Britain) - Initiatives-Cœur (IMOCA)

It's great! We’ve got 18 knots of wind, we’re under code 0. Now we’re bombing, we were a little overcharged so we just turned into the wind a little!

We’re making  around 22 knots. We have our code 0 and J3.

We have an incredible autopilot fortunately. The autopilot it works so well, it accelerates the boat. The trade winds are not reliable at all, but that’s normal. What’s good is that there is some wind, but it varies a lot in strength and in direction. But that way we don’t get bored.

We are two skippers more used to solo sailing, so it's an advantage to take turns and not to be too tired. Normally, we are alone on deck, the other eats, sleeps or does the weather. Now, he (Paul) is just taking a shower.

Regarding the Doldrums, we will look at the info pretty carefully; we know we will be there in around 2 days but it depends on where it is precisely. We are looking at the forecasts for a point of entry. It's still a little early!