Word from the fleet

It’s like a rodeo onboard with the choppy sea state


Hiroshi Kitada (Kiho), Pierre Antoine (Olmix), Edouard Golbery (Région Normandie), Anna-Maria Renken (Nivea) and Phil Sharp (Imerys)

Hiroshi Kitada (Kiho)

“Today, as usual, the 51 year old rookie is doing his best, many things have happened since the start of this race.

First, the solent broke when I had done almost half of the route.

The day after was the time of the staysail. I was really very disappointed. I repaired it overnight. It took over 6 hours, and now I am sailing with it.

On top of this, every day I have to cope with 30-40 litres of water coming in from the escape hatch. After having done some repairs, the situation seems to improve a bit and I can handle it.

The water has damaged the main pilot, which is not working properly.

Last but not the least, I have to reset the on-board computer every now and then because it freeze frequently. Resetting it in a constantly swaying boat is very painful.

I am doing my best everyday to get to New York, and I will go on fighting for the time being.”

I feel a bit discouraged. However, if I do not do my best I can’t go back home… so I keep doing my best.

Pierre Antoine (Olmix)

“The weather today is still quite rich and the boat is going well, but it’s like a rodeo onboard with the choppy sea state. I’m into the final phase of the race, but Erik Nigon is not very far away. At the moment, Erik is probably in a better position, but we will see how the race unfolds today. It promises to be a full race to the end, we still have a little way to the coast. The conditions on the water change really quickly, it’s unstable and not easy to get a good idea of the forecast. It’s now been two weeks at sea and I’m getting anxious to see land, the sooner the better!”

Edouard Golbery (Région Normandie)

“The last few days have been hell! I’ve had some issues with my mainsail and keeping motivated has been hard. But I’m beginning the approach to the arrival now, and that is great news! We still have three days until we are near the finish line and we are waiting for another depression to pass, but it should be ok…I hope! The race has been a real challenge. On some days we’ve had big choices to make, which path to New York to take. Some days we’ve had four to five metre waves. Although it’s not been too violent onboard, I know that with every wave the boat is damaged a little more. I make repairs every day and try to preserve the boat as best as I can. What has struck me most about this race is not so much the physical effort it requires, but the intense fear of breakages that will prevent you from finishing. In my case, if you break stuff going upwind, you head downwind!”

Anna Maria Renken (Nivea)

“It’s going well today. It’s hot and I’m moving in the right direction and I’ve managed to repair my sails for the rest of the race. For three days I was under three reefs with a torn GV sail. The result is I now have a very small sail with four reefs! But it’s ok, I have a staysail. Because of the issues with my GV, I have tried to avoid the more onerous conditions and change my route. I now find myself in steadier winds, I stopped being pushed backwards and I’m once again able to walk around the boat. This route has been quite safe, and should enable me to finish without too much risk of damage to the rig. It’s now impossible to repair my GV, it’s cut in two. I’ve tried, but I can’t find a solution to fix it at sea. I worked really hard in my preparation for the race and at one time I was unsure as to whether I could find a way to continue. At the time of the breakage I was a little down and exhausted, but I got some rest and have found the energy to get to New York.”

Phil Sharp (Imerys)

“I’m getting used to spending my time almost entirely damp or wet, with water sloshing constantly around inside the boat. Fortunately the sea water and night temperature have warmed up as we are in the Gulf Stream and the water is a nice blue! This race is tough for many reasons and I’m enjoying the satisfaction of overcoming problems on board. With all the distractions of breakages it has not been a straightforward race, though after all, this is The Transat bakerly.”

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