Sunday, November 4, 2007

XPLORE co-skipper Nico Pichelin takes early lead in Transat Jacques Vabre

Nico Pichelin and Bruno Jourdren, aboard the Class 40 Vecteur Plus/Groupe Moniteur, have taken an early lead in their 28 boat division in the Transatlantic Jacques Vabre, after just two days of racing.

The race, which began 3 Nov., takes competitors 4,340 miles across the equator from Le Havre, France to Salvador de Bahia, Brazil. Sixty boats, in four monohull and multihull divisions, were entered.

Pichelin, Co-Skipper and Project Manager for Xplore Expeditions, took advantage of the Antarctic off-season to compete in the challenging Transatlantic contest. Winner of the round-the-world race “The Race” on the maxi-catamaran Club Med, Pichelin was also a member of the French campaign for the America’s Cup in 2003, and part of the world championship team aboard the 60-foot trimaran Groupama.

On Day Two of the Jacques Vabre, race officials noted the contestants were, “trying to find their way amid challenging weather conditions in the Channel. The crews have to deal cautiously with a high-pressure system in the Bay of Seine and beyond to avoid losing ground.”

After their win in the Prologue race, Pichelin/Jourdren, were recognized as a team to watch; and by the second day of the Jacques Vabre had a slim lead over a pack of six frontrunners, with the balance of the division trailing. In addition, the 40-footers were said to be “on the heels of the IMOCA 60” class according to race organizers. A turning tide, with shifting winds that increased to 16 knots, helped them sail a more direct course to the mark. But they fleet will continue to be tested as another high-pressure system looms: bringing lighter winds from the west-northwest.

Meanwhile, Xplore Expeditions Skipper and Founder Stephen Wilkins held down the fort in Uruguay, where Xplore is being provisioned and prepared for the Austral summer sailing season.

For more information on Xplore Expeditions please click here. For the Transat Jacques Vabre Race, click here.

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