While Storm Ciaran is heading towards Lorient La Base (Morbihan), where, Monday October 30 and Tuesday October 31, the Ocean Fifty and the Class 40 entered in the Transat Jacques Vabre took refuge while waiting to be able to head towards Martinique, the race management announced during a press point, Wednesday at midday, that no departure from Lorient was possible “before Monday.” A narrow weather window on Sunday is “in the study” with the Imoca class for its fleet of 40 18-meter monohulls, blocked at the dock in Le Havre, the only one not to have been able to take the start, as planned, on October 29.
“That doesn’t mean that [les Ocean Fifty et Class 40] will leave Monday for Lorient,” specified the race director, Francis Le Goff. Concerning Le Havre, nothing is certain or clear either, given the state of the sea. “There are still doubts. We are going to work with Imoca to see how they see things in terms of weather and sport,” added Mr. Le Goff.
In Lorient as in Le Havre, the moorings of the sailboats have been doubled, and members of the organization like the technical teams of the competitors are keeping an eye on things. At the departure village of Le Havre, “We are working hard to dismantle as many things as possible and heavy goods vehicles have been installed in front of the large structures which have not yet been able to be dismantled,” detailed Mr. Le Goff. “The problem is stopping anything from stealing.”
“It’s constantly evolving”
The question of the routes – which had to take each of the four classes on a different route in order to standardize the racing time and ensure a grouped and media arrival in Fort-de-France around November 12 – is, for hour, pending. The five Ultims – the only competitors to have left Le Havre on October 29 – will go around Ascension Island, in the South Atlantic, before heading back towards the Antilles with an arrival still planned for around November 12, the day opening of the village arrival. And on-site operations are maintained.
The option of modifying the routes for the Ocean Fifty, the Class 40 and the Imoca and sending them on the direct route to Martinique, thus making up for lost sailing days, is, for the moment, not necessarily the option. more sure. “Some roads in the north remain very, very hot, so it is not impossible that we put a crossing point in the south to force passages to the south for everyone,” warned the race direction. “It’s constantly evolving, depressions are emerging gradually, and even if we see that niches are opening up a little bit, they’re not going to be huge, so we won’t have to get confused.”
“As for last Sunday, our priority remains and will remain the safety of sailors and boats to organize new departures,” affirmed Gildas Gautier, general director of the Transat Jacques Vabre, recalling that port capacities do not allow bringing the forty Imoca closer to Lorient to consider, later, a group departure with the Ocean Fifty and the Class 40.
He also mentioned the “multiple impacts and a significant financial cost for the Transat Jacques Vabre” due to weather hazards, with a strengthening of teams and systems in Lorient and Le Havre, and additional television production to publicize the second start. “We have the possibility of live and delayed broadcasting with the partner [France Télévisions],” explained Gildas Gautier. “There will in any case be a recording retransmitted, live or delayed, on platforms if it is not possible for it to be live on a terrestrial channel.”