Gear Buster Delays Canada’s Scott Shawyer Start in TJV

November 1, 2023

Class 40 Everial, skippers Erwan Le Draoulec and Tanguy Leglatin, and Edenred, skippers Emmanuel Le Roch and Basile Bourgnon, are taking start of the Transat Jacques Vabre in Le Havre, France, on October 29, 2023. Photos: Jean-Louis Carli / Alea

Storm Ciaran is set to sweep across the north-west quarter of France, during Wednesday night. It is this huge system which has required the 40 strong IMOCA fleet that was set to start the Transat Jacques Vabre Normandie Le Havre on Sunday tied to the dock in Le Havre. It looks set to be an exceptional storm with winds of over 80-90kts off the coast.

The Class 40s were able to start, and are now sitting it out in Lorient

Sunday’s scheduled start for the Transat Jacques Vabre – the double-handed race across the Atlantic from Le Havre to Martinique – partially got away but the IMOCA class, including Canada’s sole entry Canada Ocean Racing/Be Water Positive, have been held ashore while both the Class 40 and Ocean 50 trimarans are racing but only as far as Lorient before pausing to restart. 

A weather bomb This very deep depression is said to be comparable to the storm that France experienced in 1999 which caused a lot of damage. “It’s a very explosive depression, with very strong winds and especially heavy seas,” commented Damien Seguin (APICIL) yesterday. Indeed, gusts of 110 to 120 km/h are expected inland and even more at sea: “At sea, forecasts show 80 knots, gusts of more than 100 knots (more than 185 km/hour), in seas with waves of 12 meters. This is unthinkable and no rescue could provide assistance to a sailor in case of need.”

Monday, at 7:45 a.m., after studying all possible scenarios to maintain the scheduled start the decision was made to retain the IMOCAs at the dock. 

Sailing in Canada spoke with the only Canadian entrant, Scott Shawyer prior to the scheduled start (now delayed) and will continue coverage of the team and the race as things (hopefully) progress.

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