Leyton in the Brittany doldrums

November 9, 2021

Sailing

For the Leyton duo Sam Goodchild and Aymeric Chapellier the second night of the 5800 nautical miles Transat Jacques Vabre race from Le Havre to Martinique has been spent searching for wind and trying to make the most of the gentle breezes that they have found. The first days of this biennial double handed race have encountered unusually light winds. This classic Transatlantic usually sets off into gale force winds and big seas on to the notorious Bay of Biscay but for the entire fleet the first 36 hours have been a test of patience and the ability to seek out the most useful winds to get south.
Racing in the OceanFifty class of multihulls, after a modest start. the Leyton co-skippers have done a good job in their quest to catch up. This morning, half-way across the Bay of Biscay – albeit making only four or five knots at times – they are back up to second position and well placed against their nearest rivals. They still have about 220 miles to sail to Cape Finisterre on the northwest corner of Spain and the winds should increase progressively.

Hi from Sam & Aymeric

Sam Goodchild

“Everything is going OK on Leyton. There is not a lot of wind and we have spent the whole night looking for wind so it has been a fairly complex night and as Marcel (Marcel Van Triest, weather router) told us  ‘it is not going to be an easy night but an important one’ so at the moment it is three o’clock in the morning and we are quite happy with the way it is going. The fleet is quite spread now – 150 miles east to west – which means it can go either way fairly quickly. But what makes us feel god is we are going at five knots which is more than we have done for a while. This is a transition it is not the new wind but against our most direct competitor, Arkema, we are doing well on them.  That is good. We are finally getting some sleep again. The light winds may not be good for racing and sailing but they are good for sleep. So as soon as we need only one person on deck we are getting some sleep. So Aymeric has just gone down. We were doing an hour each on and off but we are going to do an hour and  half that means we will sleep better and get a bit more rested. We are getting some good nice warm food inside us which is good as it Is not very warm out here. The first 24 hours was a bit hard but since then it has been good. All is well on board. We had a walk around the boat to check everything. The tiredest person is probably Marcel because he is single handed and we are double handed! We are looking forwards to getting down into the northeasterly breeze off the north west of Spain and which will then get us down the Portuguese coast into the trade winds. That is our main aim, to get south as fast as we can. So spirits are high on board Leyton.”

Race update

Track the race live HERE

Objective: to reach the Trade Winds

The immediate quest is to get south as fast as possible to break into the new wind, the stronger, more consistent tradewinds off the Portuguese coast which will allow them to accelerate up to the more usual speeds for their 50 foot catamaran. So light have been the winds that the OceanFifty multihulls are still only a handful of miles behind the Ultimes – the giants which are twice their size and which would usually be a long, long way ahead by now.

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