Panerai Transat Classique: Going all the way

Thursday, 27 December 2012

With the arrival of Persephone last night, half of the fleet of the Panerai Transat Classique 2012 is now alongside in the Port of Bridgetown. Gweneven is expected in the morning. The other yachts are continuing to notch up some fine run averages.

There was never any question she would wait for the sun to come up. Persephone charged over the line with spinnaker set in the light of an almost-full moon. Leaving the Southern Cross in her wake, she tried her utmost to grab the third spot on the podium of the Panerai Transat Classique 2012. But, despite all their hard work, the crew will have to be satisfied with a very respectable fourth place. The Tina design was one of the smallest entrants in the race, measuring a mere 11.3 metres long. Yves Lambert, the owner, Pierre Follenfant, navigator and winner of several transatlantic races on multihulls, Xavier Tinel and Rémi Boiteux ran a wonderful race. Once on land, Yves was all smiles : "It's been a very good race. We tried everything to catch up with Corto, our closest opponent. We held on to her shirt-tails all the way to the Canaries, but then she started to get away from us and we were forced to try other options to get back into the race.It didn't work out as planned. There were only four of us aboard, which meant regular turns at the helm. We must have put the autopilot on for just two hours and no more." Around noon local time Gweneven is expected to sail over the line, which is a little later than initially thought. The delay was caused by the loss of her spinnaker during the night : "We lost the kite 250 miles from the finishing line... Two lugs on the mast broke off and the sea was too rough to go up and fix the problem. So we're sailing under gennaker on one side and a poled-out genoa on the other. We've slowed down a bit... but, even so, we're sailing well."

Sailing hell for leather

Gimcrack suffered the same problem and, as a result, has lost ground against her favourite opponent, Cipango. Both yachts would like to catch up with Artaius on her more southerly route, a successful option in terms of wind. Croix des Gardes sent out a Christmas message to the many fans following her. After opening their presents, they celebrated with a traditional English roast and, for dessert, a Christmas pudding with brandy butter and rum sauce. Less communicative in recent days, Marie des Isles is disappointed that her companions have left her behind but she is enjoying the fine sailing weather. Her latest estimated time of arrival is now after New Year's Day. The road may be long but what an enjoyable ride!

Messages from the race


"This morning we were about to check the kite when the halyard gave out on us, completely worn through where it goes over the sheave. With the choppy seas of the last few days, no one has had the courage to spend an hour up the mast swinging 3 or 4 metres from one side to the other to fix it. So we're doing the best we can with the genoa poled out and the mainsail and mizzensail boom preventers on. Time seems to be moving very slowly. It is comforting to look at the chart and see all the miles we're eating up. We're not going to take our foot off the pedal until we cross the finishing line but our duel with Cipango hasn't gone according to plan... Sailing at 5.5 knots is going to put our ETA back 24 hours but we expect to cross the line in the morning of 30 December, perhaps earlier if we manage to fit a Dyneema strop and get the kite out again. Keep some rum for us, we're dying for a tot!"

 Isabelle Delaune

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Last Updated ( Thursday, 27 December 2012 )