The Transat B to B shortened at the safety gate

Race management for the Transat B to B, in agreement with the organizer of the event and the relevant authorities, race committee and jury, has decided to bring the race to a close offshore of Spain. As such, going through the safety gate will serve as a reference for the final event standing.

Opting to close the Transat B to B at the safety gate, 300 miles offshore of Vigo, Jacques Caraes, Race Director, has chosen to favor the safety of the boats and the men as regards the exceptional weather conditions, even for winter, which are currently reigning in the Bay of Biscay. Above all it's the violence of the wind shift expected overnight on Thursday, which has convinced the sporting authorities that this decision was the best. Wind in excess of 50 knots, gusting to 60-70 knots, a 90° rotation from south-west to north-west in a matter of minutes and a backdrop of crossed seas with average waves of eight meters would have scooped up the fleet as it approached the continental shelf. Here, the seabed suddenly goes from 4,000 meters to 150 meters and causes even more chaotic seas than usual.

The amendment sent to the sailors today at 1900 (UTC)

The forthcoming severe weather conditions in the Bay of Biscay and in the finish area in Lorient impose a case of force majeure.

For safety reasons, race management has decided to shorten the course at the safety gate.

Application of RRS 32.1 (b) and RRS 32.2 (c) (no sound or visual signal, competitors are informed through the present amendment .This changes the rules 32.1 and 32.2.)

“The course of the Transat B to B is shortened to the safety gate (amendment n°4). The finish line is defined between geographical point 42°00N – 020°00W to be left to starboard and geographical point 42°00N – 016°00W to be left to port.

The finish line of the shortened course shall be crossed in the North-South direction.

The finish order of the boats will be established with the Iridium positions picked up by Race Direction when boats cross this line.

The competitors will keep the track of their crossing the line on their navigation software for the Race Committee's and the Jury's use.

Article 10.3.2 of the Notice of Race remains applicable:
The boat's presence is compulsory in Lorient from the finish until the announcement of the results planned on December 22nd 2011.

Published on December 14th 2011 Chairman of the Race Committee, Chairman of the Jury Jean Coadou Gilles Vavasseur, Race Director Jacques Caraës

Reaction from Gaétan Gouérou, organizer of the Transat B to B

“I wholeheartedly back the decision by the sporting authorities to shorten the course at the safety gate, positioned offshore of the Spanish coast. It is the result of some exceptional weather conditions and testifies to the spirit which has presided over the organization of this race: to give future Vendée Globe sailors the opportunity to get their bearings in solo configuration and enable some of them to validate their qualification for the round the world. In this way, the Transat B to B has already achieved its objectives: the sailors themselves have testified to this on several occasions. The extremely varied conditions encountered since the start, have enabled everyone to gauge the level of preparation required for the Vendée Globe, to get the measure of the constraints of single-handed racing in situ. I'd like to thank the sailors and those involved in the organization of the event. A decision of this kind is never easy to make, but whatever happens, we'll do everything we can to ensure that the party is a great one in Lorient…”