Panerai Transat Classique - Weather leads to suspension

Panerai Transat Classique 2012
© Christophe Varène
After considering the options, Panerai Transat Classique race director François Séruzier was obliged to inform the competitors that just 24 hours after leaving Saint-Tropez, the race had to be suspended.

Last night's forecast contained no good news. Not only is the wind expected to increase, a strong gale of 45 knots is set to sweep across the Gulf of Lion. 'Of course it's not easy to understand this kind of decision when the boats are enjoying a fine sail in pleasant conditions with a gentle southerly. But our priority is the safety of the competitors.'

For the moment the order is for the yachts to head for shelter in Barcelona. On Monday, once the gale has blown through, a new start will be scheduled and the boats will pick up where they left off, heading for the Straits of Gibraltar and then Cascais where they are expected to arrive on the fifth or 6th November. But the Mediterranean is a fickle sea and all manner of events can still make themselves felt to turn the race on its head.

Currently The Blue Peter is ahead but has yet to establish a significant lead. Chasing her wake, Corto, White Dolphin and Sea Lion are giving their all and the route change is unlikely to affect the final outcome. As François Séruzier so eloquently points out 'the quality of a sailor is in his ability to adapt to every circumstance and our crews will be making the best out of this reversal of fortunes'. With the Panerai Transat Classique 2012, you can expect the unexpected!

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It is now early evening and most of the competitors have arrived safely in Barcelona, either under sail or engine. Only White Dolphin is yet to find shelter, her late arrival being caused by... the loss of her propeller! However she is expected to make port in the next few hours.

As soon as the announcement was made, the crews and the race director François Séruzier showed their support for the difficult decision to suspend the second leg of the Panerai Transat Classique 2012. Obviously the news is very disappointing for everyone involved, but safety for the yachts and their crews has to be paramount. The Mediterranean may be unpredictable, capable of putting even the most salt-hardened sailors in peril, but perhaps this time the fickle 'middle sea' has allowed those who furrow its surface a window of opportunity, undoubtedly in tribute to the elegance of these magnificent racing thoroughbreds, especially octogenarian The Blue Peter.

The ships will be given a warm welcome by the Real Club Nautico of Barcelona, a club renowned for its love of naval tradition and adherence to the spirit of fraternity that unites all sailors. Indeed, this prestigious address in yachting circles offered its services to the organizers without the slightest hesitation, noblesse oblige. After a thorough analysis of the latest meteorological information available, the organizers are confident that the race can be resumed on Monday.

Panerai Transat Classique website