The Transat Jacques Vabre race has just started and the competitors are already in trouble.
The first day of the regatta was marked by a strong breeze. By the beginning of the second day the wind intensified to 30-40 knots and caught up with the waves up to 7 meters high.
In severe weather conditions, the race was forced to leave three monohulls, which were damaged. These included two IMOCA 60 class yachts: Safran and Edmond de Rothschild.
Both ships are new and are going through their first serious test. In the case of Edmond de Rothschild, the reason for dropping out of the race was a series of minor breakdowns. The crew decided to withdraw from the race, given the weather. By the way, it was this boat that won the Transat Jacques Vabre in 2013.
Safran was hit harder: its hull cracked neatly at the base of the side «wing» to starboard.
In addition to the yachts of IMOCA class, the single hull Class 40 Concise 8 was out of the race. On a particularly large wave, the crew heard a crackle. There were big cracks in the hull of Concise 8.
A little later that day, the Prince de Bretagne trimaran flipped over 140 miles from La Coruña. His two skippers were safe and took refuge inside the boat. They did not ask for help, so the rescue operation is organized by the trimaran's own technical support team. At the time of the incident, Prince de Bretagne was going against the wind at a speed of 20-25 knots.
Finally, late in the evening, another incident became known: the Multi 50 La French-Tech Saint-Malo trimaran, led by Gilles Lamir and Ivan Buagnon, collided with a container drifting in the sea on autopilot at 15 knots. The Trimaran was severely damaged and forced to withdraw from the range.
«For the last 48 hours we have been wading through a low-pressure lane with winds of more than 30 knots, ice squalls and aggressive waves," Philip Hutton-Squire's Concise 2 Skipper writes in his blog. - While I'm writing this, we're bouncing in big waves, the boat hangs in the air, and then crashes hard down. On especially huge waves, it really throws you up, so if you hear there's a wave coming, then getting up is a good idea». In a few hours the wind change is expected, which will allow the remaining competitors to finally turn south: The «whole load of the boat, which weighs about 500 kg, at this point you have to drag from one side to the other. Well, that's going to be fun, isn't it?»
The legendary» Transat Jacques Vabre «coffee race started from Le Havre, France on October 25. The participants will make a 5,400-mile transatlantic crossing into Brazil's Itajaya, following the route traditionally used to bring coffee to Europe. Only paired crews are allowed to take part in the race. Boats of four classes compete: Class40, Multi50, IMOCA and Ultimate. There were 42 of them at the start.