top of page

Richomme has upper hand, Lipinski stretches in Class 40

The Transat CIC solo race from Lorient to New York brings the long awaited first IMOCA ocean race skirmish between long time rivals Charlie Dalin (MACIF Santé et Prévoyance) and Yoann Richomme (Paprec-Arkéa), and this Friday morning at around half way across the North Atlantic it is Richomme who continues to lead.

After a couple of gybes close to the centre of the low pressure which had given winds of up to 40kts, Richomme is now about 12miles directly in front of Dalin as they head directly west now with under 1400 miles to The Big Apple. The top five are very much on this same westwards course and so Richomme can take a certain satisfaction this morning having his nearest competitors much more lined up behind him, just as he would have done so many times during his years racing Figaros.

With light winds expected for the final stretch to the finish line, certainly this is only a transient moment, but nonetheless Richomme took a little pleasure in his lead, a great reward considering the brutal conditions of the last 36 hours which the IMOCA fleet are now largely out of, “My morale is high, I have a placement that I like. I will be doing everything to maintain this leading position until the end even if there is an awful lot to do until the finish.” He said late last night.

“I’m more in full-throttle mode than in quiet mode,” Dalin commented last night referencing his pre-start statements he that he needed to be more conservative than usual to make sure he achieves the race finish he needs, “Even if we should be now done with the very strong winds, there will be a lot more maneuvers than in the first part of the race, it will not necessarily be the most relaxing spell”.

Britain’s Sam Davies (Initiatives Coeur) is having a fantastic scrap over third with Paul Meilhat, with whom she sailed on The Ocean Race on Biotherm last year after the Route du Rhum winner was her chosen co-skipper on the 2019 Transat Jacques Vabre. Davies has the upper hand this morning but there is less than one mile between them in terms of distance to finish. Germany’s Boris Herrmann (Malizia-Seaexplorer) is fifth another 14 miles behind.

The leaders are in cold northerly winds as they push west out of the east moving system and will be getting into progressively lighter winds. Swiss Justine Mettraux (Teamwork-Team SNEF) is in 10th at 130 miles behind the leaders, compatriot Alan Roura (HUBLOT) is not far behind and having a better race in 14th. Top daggerboard IMOCA is Lazare in 13th with Tanguy le Turquais in clearly loving being in the heart of a battle after having to last year pitstop for six days in Lorient in the Transat Jacques Vabre which left him and co-skipper Félix de Navacelle racing alone days behind the fleet before racing the Retour à La Base after starting 28 hours late. His nearest rival Benjamin Ferré has a technical problem and yesterday reported he was heading for a stopover.

In Class40, Ian Lipinski (Crédit Mutuel) leads the fleet and the gaps are widening. The head of the fleet is into the the back of the IMOCA pack. Leader Ian Lipinski (Crédit Mutuel) reported with a smile. “It was a great pleasure to arrive at the ridge, to ease the sheets and to hoist the spinnaker after a few days when things were really tough.” The margins widened during the night: Italy’s Ambrogio Beccaria (Alla Grande Pirelli) is at 25 miles behind, Fabien Delahaye (LEGALLAIS) at 27 miles, Nicolas d'Estais (Café Joyeux) at 58 miles. “We have reduced the sailplan to avoid damage, now it is  going to be hot, downwind with 35 knots of wind, gusts downwind… It’s going to go quickly, it will be a little stressful,” admitted Lipinski last night.

After losing his J1 forestay and his workhorse J2 sail Aurelien Ducroz (Crosscall) has abandoned the Class40 race.