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Transat Saint-Barth / Port-la-Forêt: St Barths ahoy

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Coming from Itajai, France and Guadeloupe, the fleet of IMOCAs competing in the Transat Saint-Barth / Port-la-Forêt will soon be getting together in the port of Gustavia. Indeed, from 29 November, the solo sailors will gradually become immersed in the first qualifier for the Vendée Globe 2016. The low-down on the delivery trips prior to battle commencing.

They came from Itajai

There are three boats currently being delivered from the Brazilian port that hosted the finish of Transat Jacques Vabre to the West Indies. The journey amounts to some 2,800 miles, which is almost on a par with a transatlantic. First off, they will have to extract themselves from the fluky winds that colour the region to the south of Cabo Frio, before hooking onto a tradewind system with the wind on the nose. After the Doldrums, the crews will finally be able to ease the sheets and set a more comfortable course for the West Indies.

Aboard Quéguiner / Leucémie Espoir, Le Souffle du Nord and Newrest / MatMut, it’s the shore crews who are delivering the boat. The sailors, really put to the test by a particularly gruelling Transat Jacques Vabre, all need to recharge their batteries before tackling another transatlantic. In this way, Yann Eliès is enjoying a tour of Brazil, whilst other sailors have opted to return to France and their nearest and dearest before heading to St Barths.

They have an Atlantic Ocean to traverse

Aboard Edmond de Rothschild, O Canada and Kilcullen Voyager, it’s a matter of crossing the Atlantic. On a delivery trip, the southerly course is an obvious choice. Once they have the Bay of Biscay in their wake, they’ll need to try to slip along as quickly as possible towards the Canaries and the tradewind latitudes with around ten days powering across to the Caribbean. Aboard O Canada and Kilcullen Voyager, the delivery trip is being carried out in crewed configuration, with the appointed skipper. Due to a lack of means on the one hand and to rack up some experience on the other, this is the favoured option for Eric Holden and Enda O’Coineen.

Express delivery

This final crew will have the fewest miles to cover. Following their retirement in the Transat Jacques Vabre, Paul Meilhat and Michel Desjoyeaux made the decision to deliver SMA as far as Pointe-à-Pitre to carry out repairs on the keel fin. Paul is set to link back up with his team on Monday for the delivery trip to St Barths, which is just a day’s sail away. “Having been able to bring the boat to Pointe-à-Pitre is clearly an advantage for the team today,” admitted Paul, who has been taking some time out to welcome in the racers at the finish of the Mini Transat in Bas du Fort marina. “The repairs were a bit more complicated than planned, but we avoided having to make two Atlantic crossing. After a stopover in Guadeloupe to repair the boat, I decided to return to France. Preparing myself physically here, given the heat, is really complicated. I’ll return home and get back into a certain ‘routine’ before returning in time for the delivery trip.”

List of entries

Fabrice Amedeo - Newrest-Matmut

Yann Eliès – Quéguiner – Leucémie Espoir

Éric Holden – O Canada

Sébastien Josse – Edmond de Rothschild

Paul Meilhat – SMA

Enda O’Coineen – Kilcullen Voyager

Thomas Ruyant – Le Souffle du Nord


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