Stormy winds delay Transat Jacques Vabre start


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The Independent Online

Storm force winds have pinned the Transat Jacques Vabre competitors in Le Havre. Forecasts of up to 60 knots in the eastern North Atlantic have persuaded organisers to delay at least until Wednesday the start of the double-handed race to Costa Rica but a short, coastal prologue race was being staged at Sunday’s previously planned start time for the many thousands of spectators due to line the shore.

“It’s a decision taken as a sailor,” said race director Jean Maurel. “It takes into account the participation of all three classes. We wanted to maintain the overall integrity of the whole fleet.”  He will announce a new start time and sate later “depending on the evolution of the depression.”

In agreement is Mike Golding, with Franco-Canadian Bruno Dubois, skipper of Gamesa: “I think it is the right decision. We have been working with Commander’s Weather from the USA and last night they sent a file using the words this is ‘an historic storm’ so that says it all.

“The other point is that while the Open 60s, might be able to go in it, to divide the fleet is bad for communication, and, if something subsequently did arise, then the question would be asked ‘why did you send them?’. And at the end of the day they set the race for the whole fleet.We will do the prologue today and look to book some go-karting.”

The protest against some of the engineering on the New Zealand-managed Spanish entry Camper in the Volvo round the world race – unsettling the opposition is a well-rehearsed ploy in sport – has been thrown out after an international jury hearing in Alicante.

The first ocean leg to Cape Town starts on Saturday. The results of the opening inshore race stands as: 1, Abu Dhabi (skipper Ian Walker); 2, Puma (Kenny Read); 3, Camper (Chris Nicholson); 4, Sanya (Mike Sanderson); 5, Groupama (Franck Cammas); 6, Telefonica (Iker Martinez).