Frenchman unable to fix broken head car due to sea state

Sebastien Josse has retired from the Artemis Transat with a broken mainsail headcar. Due to the sea state he was unable to climb up the mast. He told his shore team, “The mast track is damaged at the very top, it is a bit twisted and the headboard car lashing is stuck above the track. I need to go up the mast, manage to get the car to come down below the twisted part and then take it down all the way to the bottom to re-do the lashing. But in order to do that, the sea must be flat or the boat settled on one constant listed angle because at 28 meters up, there is a lot of movement. If the mast moves of just one meter, it’s almost like a catapult!”

“On the way out, I got to test our performance against the competition and on the way back, I can now use the sailing for my Vendée Globe qualifier. At least I will have done two things during that one Transat. It’s not so bad in the end. It’s a bit of a consolation prize to know that when I’ll arrive in Lorient, I will be qualified for the Vendée Globe and we’ll be able to get back to work asap.”

Sunday morning was a busy time for the rest of the fleet, following a 36-hour position blackout. The most obvious move was Loick Peyron’s tack, favoured by a wind shift to the west at about 22:00 GMT on Friday. “I had planned to tack, but of course I waited for the blackout”, said Gitana Eighty’s skipper this morning, “I think it was a good move in terms of saving some manoeuvres and efforts in the long run.” Now repositioned further south, Peyron is second only 26 miles behind Riou, and has a 30-mile advantage over Armel Le Cleac’h’s Brit Air, who moved into third position aver the blackout.

It’s still wide open in the North Atlantic for the Class40’s.

As the 36 hour blackout lifted at 0600GMT on Sunday morning, the middle of the fleet was becoming claustrophobic with six yachts grouped within 9 miles in terms of distance to finish: a spread that increased by just 2 miles over the course of the day.

The Class40 fleet is now spread out over 186 miles north-south and the three distinct groups present before the blackout have generally dispersed, although the northern group of Yvan Noblet with Appart’ City (5th place), Thierry Bouchard on Mistral Loisirs – Pole Sante ELIOR (3rd place) and Christophe Coatnoan with Groupe Partouche (8th place), have remained inseparable, keeping north with the race leader, Telecom Italia.

After a predominantly downwind start to the race, the upwind sailing is becoming increasingly demanding: “Last night was the worst so far,” said Halvard Mabire in 4th place, reporting 27 knot headwinds earlier today. “Custo Pol is shaking about so much I can’t even type. The keyboard is jumping about like a landed mackerel!” Both Mabire and Alex Bennett commented on an unusual sea state: “The sea is much bigger than you would normally associate with this sort of wind strength and it’s a very confused state,” said Bennett.

Keep up with their progress here