Varan

Transat Jacque Vabre 2019

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23 minutes ago, Hitchhiker said:

Here is my thread contribution for the morning.  Keep posting the vids everyone.

Looks like HB may be able to the close the gap by several hours!

 

TJVcomp.JPG

Below is one done with Squid, HB and Charal only, with finish point close to Brazil coast :

capture-de28099ecc81cran-2019-10-29-acc8

capture-de28099ecc81cran-2019-10-29-acc8

 

And polar used "IMOCA 2012" at 118%

Results are similar :

Time to finish

Charal : 10d 3h 4mn

HB : 10d 5h 22mn

 

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1 hour ago, Hitchhiker said:

Here is my thread contribution for the morning.  Keep posting the vids everyone.

Looks like HB may be able to the close the gap by several hours!

 

TJVcomp.JPG

Curious how you're getting these routes. Do you have polar data or something? Thanks for sharing them either way!

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42 minutes ago, yl75 said:

Below is one done with Squid, HB and Charal only, with finish point close to Brazil coast :

capture-de28099ecc81cran-2019-10-29-acc8

capture-de28099ecc81cran-2019-10-29-acc8

 

And polar used "IMOCA 2012" at 118%

Results are similar :

Time to finish

Charal : 10d 3h 4mn

HB : 10d 5h 22mn

 

Those 2 hours could probably be made up in other areas if we assume HB takes that exact route. Same goes for Charal. Which program did you use?

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6 minutes ago, Murphness said:

Curious how you're getting these routes. Do you have polar data or something? Thanks for sharing them either way!

I put together a set of polars based on numbers from the last vendee globe and the VG VR game.  I've bumped up the numbers a bit trying to estimate for improved performance with new gen boats.  For Initiative Couer, I slow the polar down by 5%.  I think overall the polars are a bit slower than real life performance.  That said, I've been monitoring the updates and cross checking against the routing solutions hour by hour and they've been pretty close so far.  Always room to improve though!

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12 minutes ago, Raptorsailor said:

Those 2 hours could probably be made up in other areas if we assume HB takes that exact route. Same goes for Charal. Which program did you use?

I have used Squid (as written in the message ;)

First time I use it in fact, all computations done server side, a bit awkward for a sailing program.. 

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HB back up to speed and riding the ridge. They managed to catch that train by the look.

Screen Shot 2019-10-30 at 7.44.39 AM.png

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Standout performer for me so far has been Apvia 

 

Right up there with Charal and their boat is barely wet. 

No idea how Hugo Boss are doing - the fact BV2 and MQ are hanging with them says they might not have the boat quite dialled in yet. 

 

A lot of race track to go! 

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+1 with Icedtea

Sounds like a very bad joke but at some point i would have been tempted to say that AT was aiming for Guadalupe again. Wrong race mate ...

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about 700 miles/ 48 hours to the far side of the trough, which is pretty stationary. And with the SW/NE orientation, no big benefit to sailing high. 

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So there you have it. 

 

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1 hour ago, Icedtea said:

Standout performer for me so far has been Apvia 

 

Right up there with Charal and their boat is barely wet. 

No idea how Hugo Boss are doing - the fact BV2 and MQ are hanging with them says they might not have the boat quite dialled in yet. 

 

A lot of race track to go! 

Agree. Apivia is going great. Seems a very well sorted and fast boat. Macif group and Mer concept hits the ground running again. Hats off to them.

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Apivia and Charal can work thier way to cover HB, for if he ever appears in the rear mirror.
HB needs a bit of luck, a lot actually.

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41 minutes ago, jb5 said:

Agree. Apivia is going great. Seems a very well sorted and fast boat. Macif group and Mer concept hits the ground running again. Hats off to them.

And its looking like Apivia has a great chance to cross in front of Charal coming up soon.

HB starting to look all alone with that west route now as well. BV and MC have tacked south. Makes you wonder.

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BV2 and MC have bailed on HB. That'll put pressure on Alex and Neal.

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13 minutes ago, Sailbydate said:

BV2 and MC have bailed on HB. That'll put pressure on Alex and Neal.

Roland Jourdain Co skipper of MC. Total respect. If he did not think it would work out west it probably wouldn't. 

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4 minutes ago, ctutmark said:

HB has also tacked

Wow if they stick to that, that was one long detour to nowhere much 

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Just now, jb5 said:

Wow if they stick to that, that was one long detour to nowhere much 

HB are sailing at 170 versus 149 for Charal so there is a bit of shift in it for them but there is a lot of space and I expect Charal and Apivia will take another stab out to the west to take away any leverage for HB

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47 minutes ago, ctutmark said:

HB are sailing at 170 versus 149 for Charal so there is a bit of shift in it for them but there is a lot of space and I expect Charal and Apivia will take another stab out to the west to take away any leverage for HB

Reckon Jeremie and Yann might be more concerned about covering Sam, Kevin, Charlie and Armel rather than worrying about Alex!

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16 minutes ago, Hitchhiker said:

PM routing suggest that Boss should keep going west.  Maybe they think consolidate is better.

TJVcomp2.JPG

Alex may have lost his nerve. His flyers have had a habit of bitting him on the arse, although occasionally, they pay. Thousands of miles to go yet and I think Alex and Neal already know they can foot it with the fleet. So, better maybe to stay in touch.

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If Alex thinks he's going to win the VG with tactics like this he is on drugs. My opinion of him has diminished and Charal must now be clear favourites fort the VG. Throw in Alex's sleeping episode last year when he ran into an Island and you surely have a loose cannon here. His tactics do not have any clear logic. Why build the fastest boat if your not going to keep it within the fleet you competing in? 

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4 minutes ago, terrafirma said:

If Alex thinks he's going to win the VG with tactics like this he is on drugs. My opinion of him has diminished and Charal must now be clear favourites fort the VG. Throw in Alex's sleeping episode last year when he ran into an Island and you surely have a loose cannon here. His tactics do not have any clear logic. Why build the fastest boat if your not going to keep it within the fleet you competing in? 

I don't recall him making any big splits like this before he broke his foil in the VG. He did make one in the south pacific I believe, but IIRC he didn't exactly have a choice. This looks essentially to have been an attempt to catch a Western train after it has left the station. I don't see him making a decision like this in the VG. 

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So that they have no idea where and when you are faster/slower.
Really hard to compare a boat that is miles away in different weather.

 

Does not mean that that is part of his plan though. :D 

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1 minute ago, Raptorsailor said:

I don't recall him making any big splits like this before he broke his foil in the VG. He did make one in the south pacific I believe, but IIRC he didn't exactly have a choice. This looks essentially to have been an attempt to catch a Western train after it has left the station. I don't see him making a decision like this in the VG. 

He made a lot of diff choices in the last VG even before they got to CV. Then he decided to shoot thru CV. 

It ultimately didn’t decide the VG but it didn’t help. Similarly he did some bold choices during RdR. 

He has always been different and a lot of it has to do with not coming thru the same professional path other imoca skippers follow and end up converging on similar mental processes. Some say that’s a bad thing. Its the different that makes it interesting otherwise it’s kind of stupid like virtual regattas. 

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PRB setting up nicely under the fleet, but not looking good down there longer term.

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Advens has sailed back very well. They stopped for four hours and had to detour to do it. More impressive than some notables.

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On one of the last videos posted on the official website, Kevin "McGyver" Escoffier on PRB explained that they busted the water intake pipe/connection for the engine cooling. Apparently, it was also the pickup for the fresh watermaker (my assumption from his explanation) since they lost that as well... He had to get the glue and repair kits out and got everything sorted out as they were reaching the NW tip of Spain. Batteries are charged and water can is topped up.

And if you do not understand why I call him McGyver, you have to remember all the crazy repairs he did on the Volvo Ocean Race (including gluing the mast track back, at Cape Horn)...

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2 hours ago, jb5 said:

Roland Jourdain Co skipper of MC. Total respect. If he did not think it would work out west it probably wouldn't. 

I don't remember if it is Roland Jourdain or Jean Le Cam, but I believe that one of the two used to say, for transatlantic races with complicated weather forecasts:

"when in doubt, go West!!!"

 

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3 hours ago, terrafirma said:

If Alex thinks he's going to win the VG with tactics like this he is on drugs. My opinion of him has diminished and Charal must now be clear favourites fort the VG. Throw in Alex's sleeping episode last year when he ran into an Island and you surely have a loose cannon here. His tactics do not have any clear logic. Why build the fastest boat if your not going to keep it within the fleet you competing in? 

captain horatio meatpie.

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1 hour ago, Laurent said:

I don't remember if it is Roland Jourdain or Jean Le Cam, but I believe that one of the two used to say, for transatlantic races with complicated weather forecasts:

"when in doubt, go West!!!"

 

Le Cam

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HB was designed and built for one thing, and one thing only, that is to win the VG, that is reaching in strong winds. The weather conditions in this years TJV looks like being uphill and mild for most of the course. There is no way I would write Alex off for the VG just because of this current TJV.

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PRB are killing it.

 

Edit, but Charal way faster at last report. This is a fun race to follow.

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Escoffier such a stud. Even if lead is fleeting, fun to celebrate such a well-rounded sailor. Top tier in any role on a boat. Impressive... although he might also be one of those guys who spends 18hrs a day pacing bow to stern looking for a problem to solve, which is fine, if a bit stressful for everyone else on board. 

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Even the half foiler is still in the action pack, as are few daggers (3 in top ten).

Weather with a low splitting in two, Acores high taking a break at Madeira, is fairly complicated.

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5 hours ago, Rainbow Spirit said:

HB was designed and built for one thing, and one thing only, that is to win the VG, that is reaching in strong winds. The weather conditions in this years TJV looks like being uphill and mild for most of the course. There is no way I would write Alex off for the VG just because of this current TJV.

All of the Imoca boats are built for one thing only.! The VG..! So your point is..????

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19 minutes ago, terrafirma said:

All of the Imoca boats are built for one thing only.! The VG..! So your point is..????

My point is that HB is one of the most advanced of the current IMOCAs and may start to shine above the others when the wind becomes stronger and aft of abeam. Sure all of the IMOCAs are built for the VG, but not all of them are as far out there as is HB. It will be very interesting when the latest IMOCAs such as Charal, Apivia, HB and others get into the roaring forties/fifties and are truly let off the leash so as to speak.

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7 minutes ago, Rainbow Spirit said:

My point is that HB is one of the most advanced of the current IMOCAs and may start to shine above the others when the wind becomes stronger and aft of abeam.

They already had wind abaft and around 20 knots, and HB did not shine. And aft of abeam TWA is in front of abeam in AWA with their speeds.
It will all be decided on who gets foiling in the least of winds, and if that is at a cost of high speeds in more wind. And HB is one of the contenders to do well.
For me Apivia does really well, and coming fresh from Figaro where he was a top contender,  Dalin has the bulldog attitude.

This race is almost the first part of the Vendee. So mentally it is nice to do well. Though the VG start over a year, so enough time to forget.

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Apivia vs Charal is what it's about/ (And Alex should be the 3rd boat for testing). 2 of the new VPLP designs going head to head. I think Alex has his work cut out to win the VG his window may have been last year and because of his age can he now go head to head with the younger guys? 

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31 minutes ago, LeoV said:

They already had wind abaft and around 20 knots, and HB did not shine. And aft of abeam TWA is in front of abeam in AWA with their speeds.
It will all be decided on who gets foiling in the least of winds, and if that is at a cost of high speeds in more wind. And HB is one of the contenders to do well.
For me Apivia does really well, and coming fresh from Figaro where he was a top contender,  Dalin has the bulldog attitude.

This race is almost the first part of the Vendee. So mentally it is nice to do well. Though the VG start over a year, so enough time to forget.

If you wind back the tracker to where they round the first mark HB is the last of the fully foiling boats around that mark by a good way. Proving somewhat that unwind is not her best sailing point, then she overtakes all of the boats along the English coast (while reaching), take special notice that Apivia had a good lead at the mark and goes the same way as both HB and Charal.

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6 hours ago, Rainbow Spirit said:

HB was designed and built for one thing, and one thing only, that is to win the VG, that is reaching in strong winds. The weather conditions in this years TJV looks like being uphill and mild for most of the course. There is no way I would write Alex off for the VG just because of this current TJV.

 

1 hour ago, terrafirma said:

All of the Imoca boats are built for one thing only.! The VG..! So your point is..????

 

HB is an extreme design philosophy, not all of the IMOCAs have gone to that hard corner, Alex is betting hard on his style of racing, (of course in order to win the VG) and that is going to necessitate extreme decisions to validate the design, AT already said he doesn't expect to win this race.

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This race has far too much upwind sailing for HB to excel. A lot of the full foilers will be hard presed to hold back some ofthe older dagger board boats.

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1 hour ago, LeoV said:

They already had wind abaft and around 20 knots, and HB did not shine. And aft of abeam TWA is in front of abeam in AWA with their speeds.
It will all be decided on who gets foiling in the least of winds, and if that is at a cost of high speeds in more wind. And HB is one of the contenders to do well.
For me Apivia does really well, and coming fresh from Figaro where he was a top contender,  Dalin has the bulldog attitude.

This race is almost the first part of the Vendee. So mentally it is nice to do well. Though the VG start over a year, so enough time to forget.

 

HB really did shine on the second tack (after the Etretat buoy through the channel), when it went through all the fleet up to leading position.

(and maybe they did have some issues, minor or not, after that one)

Forgot what was the wind angle exactly but it was aft to abeam (more aft), and I think they still have a good chance for this race.

New routing for HB and Charal below :

capture-de28099ecc81cran-2019-10-30-acc8

 

Which gives a 5 hours advantage for Charal at the finish point above.

But if HB manages this route, they shouls be in a kind of ideal foiling conditionsfrom the point around 32° N without any jibes needed, whereasCharal will probably need some going through the Canaries/along Morocco.

(plus Charal (and the other from the pack), will have a hole to negociate on the South of Portugal)

 

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2 minutes ago, Rainbow Spirit said:

This race has far too much upwind sailing for HB to excel. A lot of the full foilers will be hard presed to hold back some ofthe older dagger board boats.

Charal and Apivia doing OK 2nd and 3rd and they are also extreme. 

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14 minutes ago, Rainbow Spirit said:

If you wind back the tracker to where they round the first mark HB is the last of the fully foiling boats around that mark by a good way. Proving somewhat that unwind is not her best sailing point, then she overtakes all of the boats along the English coast (while reaching), take special notice that Apivia had a good lead at the mark and goes the same way as both HB and Charal.

And when he overtook, the others changed gear and did the same speeds in the same winds. Around 10 hours in the race.
But it was a good few hours for HB. And I really hope he does well. HB and Apivia are brand new boats. Both showing good pace against Charal and PRB.

Thanks Yl75 for routing. At the moment 148 M  difference to the finish, only 5 hours of top speed in a direct line if the others get stuck in wind hole.

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10 hours ago, Laurent said:

On one of the last videos posted on the official website, Kevin "McGyver" Escoffier on PRB explained that they busted the water intake pipe/connection for the engine cooling. Apparently, it was also the pickup for the fresh watermaker (my assumption from his explanation) since they lost that as well... He had to get the glue and repair kits out and got everything sorted out as they were reaching the NW tip of Spain. Batteries are charged and water can is topped up.

And if you do not understand why I call him McGyver, you have to remember all the crazy repairs he did on the Volvo Ocean Race (including gluing the mast track back, at Cape Horn)...

Recall Escoffier also fixed the non-functioning water pump on Dong Feng in the VOR editions ago. He's not nearly as intense as e.g. his former teammate Pascal Bidegorry and in fact provides a lot of entertainment. For his saying savvy and Mr. Fixit skills alone, he would be the first  person I would choose to crew my boat in a race.  Professionally he is an engineer for a boat design company, or was; it looks like he is pretty much sail full time now.  He will be fierce in the VG. 

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I've cut out of the SA Forums for a bit, but come back now as getting excited about HB and competition for next VG.

Coming back - it's absolutely hilariooos how the keyboard jockey's know best, and clearly them thar competitors are all dumb @rseholes!

So, we've had a conspiracy theory that HB had broken a foil, and oh my god don't they know how to build dagger boards and their doomed for the VG.....Oh, no, they're fine.

And posts here just a day or so ago saying 'that's it for the VG, HB is doomed'.  He's gone north, he's an idiot.  We'll we are all absolutely allowed our opinions, but man!  Really!?

And to be surprised AT is tacking a bit of a flier, and therefore he's sh!t, is to have either missed the guys entire career or to be 12 years old. (Spoiler alert - he always does it!)

I'll make it simple for you.  The VG is a year away, this race has been upwind, there's all sorts of different boats at all sorts of different points in their development.  And there's 2 on board not one!  There is on thing this race so far has told us...and that is:

F@ck All.

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1 hour ago, Rainbow Spirit said:

This race has far too much upwind sailing for HB to excel. A lot of the full foilers will be hard presed to hold back some ofthe older dagger board boats.

One could actually turn the argument around and say that the new foilers, for not being upwind rockets, doing pretty well in a mostly upwind race.

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21 minutes ago, Raptorsailor said:

Makes the western route make more sense now.

Shuts every speculating gremlins mouth/keyboard here

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First: I must admit that AT always is very  good in explaining and talking to the people. Great informer and entertainer even when he´s obviously very tired.

for me the biggest surprise is Corum a boat from 2007 without foils but Le Cam always is great.

I pushed the forecast button foreward and I can´t see any reason to go west on the northern route (except sail damage like AT said). Yes,  for the southern boats there is a ridge of low windspeed around Gibraltar and some way down. But by the time the northern group will get favorable wind the others will be far enough south to get really strong air from behind. Can´t image that this will play out for the northern group.

GO LE CAM!!!

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By the way.: On sunday the real big ones will go off for Brest Atlantique and their first stop will be Rio. When and where do you think they are going to catch the Imocas?

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3 hours ago, Rainbow Spirit said:

My point is that HB is one of the most advanced of the current IMOCAs 

I would say there still a ways to go to see who ends up where.  Charal is getting new foils, Apivia for one is right up there already and there are still two more boats to be launched.

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16 minutes ago, minca3 said:

One could actually turn the argument around and say that the new foilers, for not being upwind rockets, doing pretty well in a mostly upwind race.

Agree.  This wind pattern also looks to be becoming the new normal in this part of the world at this time.  Some of the skippers commented pre-race that the classic pattern is not so evident in recent years with the north Atlantic high less stable and more upwind conditions common when heading south from France.

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5 minutes ago, ET1 said:

By the way.: On sunday the real big ones will go off for Brest Atlantique and their first stop will be Rio. When and where do you think they are going to catch the Imocas?

This is probably delayed due to expected sea conditions in the BoB.  Maybe next Wednesday.  Confirmation should come today or tomorrow.

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49 minutes ago, Raptorsailor said:

Makes the western route make more sense now.

Interesting that he publicized the fact that HB suffered sail damage. I wonder if he would do the same in the VG. IIRC, he kept very quiet about foil damage in the last VG (as mentioned in prior posts). 

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2 minutes ago, WLIS Jibing said:

Interesting that he publicized the fact that HB suffered sail damage. I wonder if he would do the same in the VG. IIRC, he kept very quiet about foil damage in the last VG (as mentioned in prior posts). 

If I recall correctly he showed video of the stump within a day, talked about plans to hang over and try to cut the rest of it off. 
 

Of all the competitors he was probably the most transparent re issues he was having on a day to day basis. It was why he had high engagement numbers. Armel on BP bottled all his emotions and issues inside until the finale. 

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The real point to notice about this race sofar is that the people in the top group of 11 boats off Portugal are almost all based at PLF or Lorient and the fact that they are  from those two schools says much of what you need to know about Imoca racing. This group of boats have quite a fair spread in terms of age and technology, and polars, not to mention budgets, but they are in the top places. What do they all have in common? The best training for this game in the world and it's probably no coincidence they have chosen similar routings.
Logically, unless someone from outside these two camps has a boat with quite extraordinary characteritics, and is a total dog upwind, if the owner is confident he has a competitive boat he might just do well to consider staying with the leading group at least in the early stages of the race. For those who say this race tells us nothing about the forthcoming VG I would say it points to the likely VG winner having the skills learned at PLF or Lorient, almost regardless of the boat characteristics. Long distance Imoca racing is about much more than just boat speed when reaching.
Another not unrelated observation is that in Imoca sailing sail preservation is also part of the game and sails fail for one of two reasons, 1) bad sail quality or 2) failure to sail within their limits. Sail damage due to a defective sail is improbable for a big budget campain where the cost of the best new sails isn't a big issue.

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11 minutes ago, staysail said:

Sail damage due to a defective sail is improbable for a big budget campain where the cost of the best new sails isn't a big issue.

That said, mistakes can and do happen, and its not impossible that a newish sail failed due to material fatigue or other deformation, unless you happen to work in the gosport Doyle loft I suspect we won't find out.

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3 hours ago, terrafirma said:

Charal and Apivia doing OK 2nd and 3rd and they are also extreme. 

Of course Charal and Apivia also are extreme, being IMOCA optimized for the VG. However, Charal and especially Apivia/Advens (the Verdier's) have been on record saying they didn't completely gave up on upwind performance and still tried to have a well rounded foiler. Alex however, has only one thing in mind: going fast downwind and in the southern ocean, and has been very vocal about it. 

So the point still stands. 

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The risk for a bad upwind boat is to be unable to catch the same weather system than the others if to get to a low you have to work your way upwind before.

You can have a freaking damned fast reaching boat after, if you are not on the same weather system you are screwed.

It seems to me that there is around one and a half week upwind to do in the VG, but at a very strategic part of the race, after the doldrums to go round helena's high and beibg first to cath a low from Argentina and rocket into the Indian Ocean.

 

The other thing is that Alex beeing brit, with a non french sponsor, the financial  returns for a route du rhum or a jacques vabres is less than french locals companies.

So they can build a boat for a single purpose, where for french sailors, to keep the helm of their boat, the sponsors are going to ask to perform well in every french starting race.

 

Anyway, back to this race !

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Is Advens making a bit of a late decision to take the western route?  They report all is well aboard and they feel they are very quick relative to their peers further up the ranking.

 

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18 minutes ago, CbrosTheDude said:

Macsf is leaving Brest right now

 

To rejoin?  Would really like to know more details on that grounding.  Sponsors must be very unhappy.

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They're going back to Lorient to be hauled out. The rig, keel and bulb need to be removed. 

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9 minutes ago, jb5 said:

Would really like to know more details on that grounding.  

Like ? You want to know who is to be blamed for the decision to save two tacks on a transatlantic race, Isabelle or Morgan ? :)

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1 minute ago, yl75 said:

Like ? You want to know who is to be blamed for the decision to save two tacks, Isabelle or Morgan ? :)

Something like that :).

Given what @Miffy just posted above the sponsors must be thrilled.

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2 hours ago, WLIS Jibing said:

Interesting that he publicized the fact that HB suffered sail damage. I wonder if he would do the same in the VG. IIRC, he kept very quiet about foil damage in the last VG (as mentioned in prior posts). 

I was wondering about his choice of Doyle sails. At least he says he and Neal are trying to repair as I guess he will need it later in the race.

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7 minutes ago, minca3 said:

HB is still better off than Ariel 2:

 

Looks like Dee's main from a few of VG cycles ('08-09) ago 

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2 hours ago, staysail said:

The real point to notice about this race sofar is that the people in the top group of 11 boats off Portugal are almost all based at PLF or Lorient and the fact that they are  from those two schools says much of what you need to know about Imoca racing. This group of boats have quite a fair spread in terms of age and technology, and polars, not to mention budgets, but they are in the top places. What do they all have in common? The best training for this game in the world and it's probably no coincidence they have chosen similar routings.
Logically, unless someone from outside these two camps has a boat with quite extraordinary characteritics, and is a total dog upwind, if the owner is confident he has a competitive boat he might just do well to consider staying with the leading group at least in the early stages of the race. For those who say this race tells us nothing about the forthcoming VG I would say it points to the likely VG winner having the skills learned at PLF or Lorient, almost regardless of the boat characteristics. Long distance Imoca racing is about much more than just boat speed when reaching.
Another not unrelated observation is that in Imoca sailing sail preservation is also part of the game and sails fail for one of two reasons, 1) bad sail quality or 2) failure to sail within their limits. Sail damage due to a defective sail is improbable for a big budget campain where the cost of the best new sails isn't a big issue.

Agree with most of your analysis. A few comments though:

"unless someone from outside these two camps has a boat with quite extraordinary characteritics, and is a total dog upwind (...) he might just do well to consider staying with the leading group at least in the early stages" 

That might be the exact definition of the new Hugo Boss. In that case, not following the "herd" makes sense for Alex T.

Secondly, very fine tuned weather analysis and navigation on boats from different generations, and quite different polars, may all lead to a route South towards Portugal shore, but there might be also some kind of (unconscious) "herd effect". 

"If they are all going South, I'd better go South as well"...

On that matter, does someone know how much access to competitors position they have. I know that some races have internet access restrictions but I don't think there is any for TJV. Correct?

 

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22 minutes ago, Laurent said:

Agree with most of your analysis. A few comments though:

"unless someone from outside these two camps has a boat with quite extraordinary characteritics, and is a total dog upwind (...) he might just do well to consider staying with the leading group at least in the early stages" 

That might be the exact definition of the new Hugo Boss. In that case, not following the "herd" makes sense for Alex T.

Secondly, very fine tuned weather analysis and navigation on boats from different generations, and quite different polars, may all lead to a route South towards Portugal shore, but there might be also some kind of (unconscious) "herd effect". 

"If they are all going South, I'd better go South as well"...

On that matter, does someone know how much access to competitors position they have. I know that some races have internet access restrictions but I don't think there is any for TJV. Correct?

 

In this video you can see all there competitors on the screen.

 

 

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