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Transat Jacques Vabre: Ultimes on final approach to Martinique

Transat Jacques Vabre

Yacht Racing Podcast

The first boats are expected to arrive in Martinique overnight. The three fastest classes are slipping slowly through an area of light winds whilst the Class 40s are loving the trade winds.

Ultimes – where did that come from?

As the Ultimes were heading to Martinique on a single tack and dreaming of the finish line, they became mired in a patch light wind that seemed to come from nowhere.

Aboard the leading boat Maxi Edmond de Rothschild, they’re taking it easy, “There isn’t much breeze 5-6 knots, which doesn’t correspond to the weather files and it’s been going on for a long time. We have to be patient, there’s not much we can do” stated Franck Cammas this morning during the radio session. These huge boats need over 15 knots to fly, anything below that and they drag significantly in the water struggling to get up any sort of proper speed.

The finish line in Martinique still feels a long way off but Franck Cammas and Charles Caudrelier are expected to cross it around 03.00 tonight. “We’ve been really looking forward to arriving for a few days now. But this lack of wind has calmed us down a bit. We want to go faster and enjoy the Martinique atmosphere.”

Class 40 – a party atmosphere

The majority of the Class 40 fleet are now enjoying the trade winds and heading straight for the finish. The fleet is tightly grouped which means the crews have been catching up on the VHF. Pierre Casenave-Péré, on board Legallais writes, “It was good to get news from our friends on other boats. Everything is going well for them too, apparently, even if they have too much salt and not enough sugar to eat. It’s a bit the opposite with us.”

Redman continues to lead the fleet, shadowed closely by Volvo. 36 miles behind the leader is the winner of the last edition of the race, Ian Lipinski on Credit Mutuel. Croatia Full of Life has slipped to 11th place – read our feature with her skipper Ivica Kostelic here.

IMOCA 60 – it’s the gybes talking

The gap is widening between the three leading boats and their pursuers. In their sights are the end of the gybing and the start of the fast, straight stretch home – if conditions allow.

Groupe Apicil passed Fernando de Noronha this morning, followed by seven other IMOCAs, including two foilers, who should reach the finish in the next 24 hours. Charlie Enright on 11th Hour Racing Team – MĀLAMA (USA) describes passing the waypoint, “Fernando looks like Jurassic Park. Absolutely beautiful. Any semblance of civilisation is a welcome sight when we haven’t seen land for a while.” One solitary boat, Nexans-Art & Fenêtres, has chosen to head further north of the South American coast, a move intended to reduce the number of gybes.

Ocean Fifty – the leading trio pull away

The seven Ocean Fifty boats have divided into three groups. Primonial, Koesio and Leyton form the leading trio and all are within 60 miles of each other. They have been battling for places for four consecutive days now.

With a little over 24 hours to race to the Martinique finish line, Sam Goodchild (GBR) and Aymeric Chappellier aboard Leyton have been pushing hard to escape the and get into the tradewinds for the final sprint to the finish line. Their duel with Koesio, who’s second, continues. They have a little over 350 miles to the finish line and Goodchild can’t wait, “We’re looking forward to getting back on to land and getting a shower, other than that we’re in good shape.”

Rankings November 22 at 10:00 am


1. Redman – Distance to destination 1614,62

2. Volvo – Distance to destination 1631,11

3. Crédit Mutuel – Distance to destination 1651,39


1. Primonial – Distance to destination 314,61

2. Koesio – Distance to destination 382,04

3. Leyton – Distance to destination 395,41


1. LinkedOut – Distance to destination 1124,88

2. Apivia – Distance to destination 1217,30

3. Charal – Distance to destination 1222,97


1. Maxi Edmond de Rothschild – Distance to destination 537,08

2. Banque Populaire XI – Distance to destination 669,86

3. SVR – Lazartigue – Distance to destination 755,96