A crazy week

Nerves are put under strain! A week after the start of Panerai Transat Classique 2019, the situation and therefore the ranking has not settled down. Alex Pella, skipper of Stiren an impressive records sailor (round the world record on IDEC with Francis Joyon, winner of la Route du Rhum 2014 in Class40…), had announced it: “I had not seen such a complicated start for a long time, with an essential tactical choice to make from the beginning.” Going up North, down to the South or squeezing between the islands: the fleet uncertain too has split, and it is not easy to figure out who was right.

Days after days, leaders on real time and on corrected time have succeeded one another. Leader for first 48 hours, the huge three masts schooner Xarifa skippered by Diego Masso was prejudiced by her Northerly option… Then it was beneficial and became a disadvantage again.

Many boats succeeded one another on the first place: Coch y Bondhu a beautiful ketch of 1936 owned by Paolo Zangheri stayed for a long period the first on corrected time. Then it was up to Stiren co-skippered by Alex Pella and Oren Nataf to be the first. Then Eilean this elegant Fife ketch skippered by Stefano Valente who has a highest average speed but has extended her route going near by the African Coasts. Ahead, there is also the surprising and current leader: Glen Maël.

This Stephens design of 1973 is one of the smallest of the fleet, but she keeps a constant speed and impresses her competitors. Her secret may be due to the amazing wine cellar carried onboard by Jean-Philippe Gervais? At least, there is no doubt that it keeps the troop’s spirit up. Nevertheless, nothing can be taken for granted because Jérôme Cathala on Bryell II, the other « David » of the fleet, engaged with the « Fondation Santé des Etudiants de France» (Foundation for the Student Health of France)  continues to push, as well as Philippe Thurneyssen on Hilaria who would like to catch up his backlog due to the option he took at the beginning of the race.

Two sailboats are struggling. Lys had left the marina about 6 hours after its opponents because of a motor issue, and she is currently facing communication trouble which stop them from receiving any weather grib files. But the owner, famous Philippe Monnet, ex-record man round the world against winds and tides, can use his experience and knowledge to overcome the situation with the old fashion way. The Taillefer Aramis knew some tiller issues and had to make a 29 hours stopover in Las Palmas on Gran Canary. Tough situation for Christian Welter and his crew from the Ardennes.

But all is not lost since all competitors seem to have slowed down and the wind should come back from behind and might allow a new grouping. After one week the situation remains uncertain. Only the sailor’s happiness of being at the sea is certain.




Bryell II

« Bien reçu les fichiers, sauf le grib(*). Ici pétole depuis ce matin. Le vent vient de rentrer 10 nœuds de nord. Cap au 275 à 6.5 nœuds. Mer belle, peu agitée, ciel nuageux, grains à l’horizon. »

* Les concurrents reçoivent chaque jour les prévisions météo envoyées par le Directeur de course.

Glen Maël

« Le vin de midi : Rully Les Pucelles Premier Cru 2012. Nez noisette, bouche délicieusement beurrée et finale boisée. Il nous manque les Saint-Jacques et queues de langoustines saisies au beurre. Le bateau : le Marche-Avec, chaloupe sardinière de la baie de Concarneau. »


Ranking on real time on 15/01 at 12h00 (UTC+1)

1- EILEAN                        1964.161 nm jusqu’à l’arrivée
2- STIREN                        à 28.1 nm du leader
3- XARIFA                         à 32.1 nm du leader
4- HILARIA                       à 51.1 nm du leader
5- GLEN MAEL                  à 68.7 nm du leader
6- COCH Y BONDHU          à 69.7 nm du leader
7- BRYELL                       à 102.9 nm du leader
8- LYS                             à 123.8 nm du leader
9- ARAMIS                        à 324.3 nm du leader