Surprised and disappointed last night by the late decision made by the Transat Jacques Vabre’s organisers to postpone the start, the skippers of the IMOCA class gathered together this morning with the event’s Race Management team. However, the sailors proved to be very supportive of the organisation’s decision, all too aware of the difficulty of reconciling a great many elements. The next briefing, scheduled for Wednesday afternoon, is likely to confirm a start on Thursday morning. The skippers are reminded that the notion of a staggered start for the different classes is totally in line with the race rules. In the event of a tough but practicable weather window for the IMOCA 60s, the intention is that everyone will set sail for Itajaï by this Thursday at the latest.
Vincent Riou (PRB): “Yesterday evening my overriding sentiment was one of frustration as we’d been prepared to set sail on Sunday. We saw that it was complicated, so we readied ourselves to set sail on Monday (…) On a general basis, we’ve always managed to find a solution to set sail and get off to a good start in these autumnal transatlantic races. This year, conditions are particularly complicated and I think we have to avoid rushing into things and changing the race pattern.”
Jérémie Beyou (Maître Coq): "We felt as if we were ready to set sail. Obviously we knew that we’d have to be careful given the tough weather conditions forecast, but our boats have extra room for manoeuvre in comparison with the other classes. For now I’m supportive of the organisers’ decision, but I believe that we mustn’t lose sight of the fact that the IMOCA 60 class were due to take the first start, which was initially scheduled for Sunday. The idea of staggering the start has been around since this 11th edition was arranged. I now believe that it’s important for us to get going as quickly as possible, even if we’re the only ones to be able to do so”.
Marc Guillemot (Safran): "I’m obviously a little disappointed that the start has been postponed. The preparation for this type of project is always pretty full-on and delays can soon complicate matters. I don’t want to stir up any controversy however. If we set sail as planned on Thursday, all will be well".
Michel Desjoyeaux (MACIF): "I have a relaxed view of the situation. Ultimately this scenario is pretty classic in our game. I understand the overall situation, which is complicated because in a race of this scale, there are a massive amount of different factors to take into account. What I’m focusing on for now is that the next briefing announcing a start date is scheduled for Wednesday at 1500 hours. The rest is of trifling importance".
François Gabart (MACIF): "I’m obviously a bit disappointed not to be taking to the sea today but that’s the name of the game with this type of exercise. For us sailors, we’re always ready to set sail in principle. Ultimately this situation is most complicated for the organisers and the journalists, for whom it will be more difficult to tell some great stories, that are easy for the general public to understand. Right now my only hope is that we’ll be able to take the start on Thursday, as planned."