Transat Now Set to Leave Normandy After Weather Delays

Photo: Jean Marie Liot

Photo: Jean Marie Liot

Some of the world’s top sailors are preparing to leave Normandy at last for the Transat Jacques Vabre ocean race after the start was postponed from Sunday due to bad weather.

The high winds that have been battering Normandy and Brittany for the last few days meant that race organisers postponed the start from Le Havre to Brazil for safety reasons.

The 5,400 mile Transat race is one of the big events in the international sailing calendar and follows the historic coffee trading route between France and Brazil and is staged every two years.

The winds of 30 to 50 knots could have endangered the crews and their boats, according to race sporting director Manfred Ramspacher. ‘Our main concern is the overall safety of the crews,’ he said.

‘Our decision is based on the forecast that we could get away from Le Havre but with difficult conditions and some uncertainly at the Ras Blanchard, at Ushant, and some very difficult conditions at the start of the Bay of Biscay we took the decision to wait,’ he added.

The start is now scheduled for lunchtime on Thursday 07 November and the crews have used the extra few days in port to make sure they are prepared and skippers backed the race organisers decision.

‘It is a bonus. It is a chance to do some small jobs on the boat and get out heads more into race mode,’ said British sailor Ned Collier Wakefield who is sailing with Sam Good child in their Class 40 boat Concise 8.

The double handed race has 44 entrants, representing 12 countries, competing in four different classes; Class40, Open 60, Multi50, and MOD 70.

The 2013 race is the 11th and the race itself is celebrating its 20th anniversary. Starting the race in November is always challenging due to the low pressure systems that are prevalent at the time of year.

The fleet is made up of very fast boats in the MOD70s class, intermediate boats in the Multi 50s class and the IMOCA 60s and then the Class 40s which are a bit slower with mixed amateur and professional crews.

Ramspacher said that it is for this reason that safety has to be paramount. There needs to be a small window of opportunity for the boats to get out of the English Channel and on to Finisterre and through the Bay of Biscay.

About Ray Clancy

Ray Clancy has 20 years experience in journalism including contributing articles to print and on-line publications such as PropertyWire.com, Property World Middle East and websites for estate agents. She has also written for the Daily Telegraph and Mail on Sunday.

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