Campagne de France sets sail again..!

72762237_2830718410329780_2689832743541407744_oAfter an unprecedented interruption to the IMOCA racing season due to the Covid-19 pandemic, racing finally resumes with the innovative new ‘Arctique’ race.

Starting tomorrow, 4th of July, 3:30pm CET, Miranda and Campagne de France find themselves ready and raring to go! Following months of lockdown, the calling of the open ocean is stronger than ever and this new race represents an opportunity to further build the relationship between skipper and boat.

Having now finished the final jobs on the list, attended the virtual weather briefing (Zoom of course) and completed a compulsory COVID-19 Test. Miranda, joined as always by Halvard, and Campagne de France left the dock in Lorient today bound for the start line off Les Sables d’Olonne. The same start line as used in the Vendee Globe. With a start scheduled for 3:30 local time, Halvard will disembark into a RIB shortly before leaving Miranda alone with her thoughts and a 3560 mile racecourse ahead.

The Course: 

105588248_3404715392930076_3448381946411607834_o

The course will take Miranda north to a virtual waypoint – the ‘IOC-UNESCO’ Waypoint, named in honor of the IMOCA Class ‘science and ocean’ partner – about 200 miles southwest of the southwest tip of Iceland, before then turning south to the ‘Gallimard Editions’ Waypoint off the Azores and from there to the finish at Les Sables d’Olonne. The Course measures roughly 3560 miles and should take race leaders approx. 10-12 days to complete.

How to follow: 

To ensure you don’t miss any of the action in this race between Les Sables d’Olonne, lceland and the Azores, get your daily updates a number of ways!

Race Website: vendee-arctique.com

Race Tracking: During the race, the position reports will be updated every 30 minutes, 24/7.

Live streaming of the start will be available here:
Website: www.imoca.org
YouTube channel: @IMOCAGlobeseries
Facebook page: @IMOCAGlobeSeries

Virtual Regatta: Should you wish to pit yourself against the skippers in the Vendée-Arctique-Les Sables d’Olonne you can do so thanks to our partner Virtual Regatta! 👇
Click on the link to begin playing: https://www.virtualregatta.com/fr/offshore-jeu/

Don’t forget you can follow Miranda’s official social media channels too! 

Facebook: @Halvard-Mabire-and-Miranda-Merron-Sailing-team
Instagram: @Miranda_merron

 
As always we’ll be providing updates via email but for shorter and more regular updates please see the section ‘How to Follow’ below!

Campagne de France back on the water at last!

100088208_3327009017367381_2711704778596941824_n-225x300Campagne de France has finally emerged from her lockdown-extended winter refit. Everything has been thoroughly inspected, including the keel, the mast and boom, the sails, engine, electronics etc. The boat passed measurement last week, and is now rigged and almost ready to sail.

Replacing the two cancelled transatlantic races is the Vendée – Arctique – Les Sables d’Olonne, a new solo 3600 mile race, starting and finishing off Les Sables d’Olonne, via a waypoint north of the Arctic Circle, and a waypoint near the Azores. The race start is likely to be the 4th of July. It will provide a great opportunity to get some much-needed time on the water to (re)learn as much as possible, as well as to test all the systems in preparation for the Vendée Globe which starts on the 8th of November.

 

The Vendée Awaits..!

Screenshot 2020-02-11 at 17.43.44Miranda is the 6th competitor to officially enter the 2020 Vendée Globe, in which she will be racing the Imoca 60 Campagne de France. Her entry was validated by the race organisation on the 30th of January.

Halvard commented, “The Vendée Globe itself is a non-stop race, but there are many stages along the way just to get to the starting line: launching the campaign, acquiring a boat, application to have the right to enter the race, validation of 2000 miles solo, competing in and completing the Transat Jacques Vabre… and each stage needs to be completed before tackling the next one. The Vendée Globe is a very long race, and for some, the start gun on the 8th of November will mark the finish line of all the stages which precede THE GREAT ADVENTURE”.

The boat is in winter refit at V1D2 in Caen. The next two races in the IMOCA programme are The Transat CIC in May and NY – Vendée in June.

 

Winter refit

Winter refit – checking EVERYTHING!

The keel is about to go back in. It weighs over 3 tonnes.

keel Sarnia winter refit

Homeward bound…

Halvard-Miranda-bahia-300x169Having arrived into Salvador de Bahia last Thursday in 23rd place within the IMOCA Class, Miranda, Halvard and Campagne de France are now about to depart the Brazilian city that has welcomed them so well. Having arrived less than a week ago the team have taken rest, fixed a couple of small issues and are today excited to be returning to sea and sailing home to the couples beloved Normandy.

Over 8000km awaits the duo who will be joined by Edouard Pinta who’s friendship with Halvard spans a lifetime. Upon arrival home Campagne de France will undergo a major winter refit in order to adapt the boat for Miranda and the upcoming solo season.

2020 represents a major milestone in this campaign with the first of two solo transatlantic races departing on May 10th. The first leaves from Brest, (FRA) before arriving into Charleston, (USA) and the latter runs from New York City to the famous town of Les Sables-d’Olonne. A town that will of course play host to the Vendée Globe in early November.

Of the 37 candidates currently vying for any one of the 34 places available in the Vendée Globe, 19 sailors are already assured of their place. These are competitors that completed the last edition or have built a new boat. The remaining places will be based upon miles raced within IMOCA calendar events. Miranda sits relatively comfortably however the goal remains firmly set on Vendée Globe qualification meaning completion of the next two races are imperative.

For now though, it’s time to go home…

 

 

Campagne de France arrive into Salvador..!

SALVADOR DE BAHIA, BRAZIL - NOVEMBER 13: Campagne de France skippers Miranda Merron and Halvard Mabire talk to media at pontoon after taking 23rd place of the Imoca category of the Transat Jacques Vabre 2019 on November 13, 2019 in Bahia, Brazil. Transat Jacques Vabre is a duo sailing race from Le Havre, France, to Salvador de Bahia, Brazil. (Photo by Jean-Marie Liot/Alea)

SALVADOR DE BAHIA, BRAZIL – NOVEMBER 13: Campagne de France skippers Miranda Merron and Halvard Mabire talk to media at pontoon after taking 23rd place of the Imoca category of the Transat Jacques Vabre 2019 on November 13, 2019 in Bahia, Brazil. Transat Jacques Vabre is a duo sailing race from Le Havre, France, to Salvador de Bahia, Brazil. (Photo by Jean-Marie Liot/Alea)

Miranda Merron, Halvard Mabire and Campagne de France finished the 2019 edition of the Transat Jacques Vabre Normandie le Havre last night at 00h06m03s French time. The duo finished in 23rd place!

They completed the course in 17 days, 10 hours, 51 minutes and 3 seconds at an average pace of 10.39 knots over the 4350 mile course. In reality Campagne de France covered 4,612 miles at an average speed of 11.01 knots. The objective to finish and gain miles for Vendée Globe qualification has been achieved! 
Halvard:
« It was really good! Very very good, it’s one of my most enjoyable transatlantic races. » 

Miranda: 
« It’s true, we had no pressure at the start so we had a lot of fun. I learned a lot! There’s still the return journey to do and after I will be on my own. Halvard will miss me! »

Halvard:
« I trained her, I did nothing, I was aft, just saying a little further to the left or right, and from time to time I turned winches. I took the opportunity to write a little. We’re happy. This is one of the most beautiful transats I’ve done. The conditions were nice. Leaving without pressure, I saw another side of offshore racing. It took me more than 40 years, and finally, it’s not that bad! I used to ask myself the question: “why do some people leave without any ambition of a top result?” I have the answer now: it’s a huge pleasure. I have to check with René [Boulaire, in charge of the rankings and time of arrival, ed], because we tried to cover as few miles as possible. »

Miranda:
« Campagne de France, is a good solid boat, there are some improvements to be made, downwind sails, some rigging. Everything is much heavier on an IMOCA and you really have to think and plan ahead because you pay for mistakes.  In a Class40 if you make a mistake you can usually make up for it. 

I feel that I have learned a lot and will learn more about the boat before going around the world; it’s a well-built boat, I had fun, even though I like to have some more boats behind me. I’ve never had so much fun on a transat. »

More information to come…

Caipirinha tonight?

Miranda, Halvard and their IMOCA60 Campagne de France should cross the finish of the 2019 Transat Jacques Vabre this evening putting an end to their 4,350-mile race that has so far taken 17 days.

A daytime arrival is naturally preferable as the duo look to enjoy a colourful finish set along the beaches and skyscrapers of Salvador de Bahia. That said the winds vary in strength and direction as the finish line approaches providing a level of uncertainty on there eta.

“We are going as fast as possible – would love to finish in daylight! There is still quite a way to go. It’s time to finish anyway, as we are about to run out of milk, cheese and chocolate.” said Miranda.

Sitting in 23rd, out of 29 IMOCA60s at the start, Campagne de France also occupies the middle of the table for those without foils (14 at the start). They’ve left six of the same generation IMOCAs in their wake alongside the new and highly impressive Class40s who are proving again they’re capable of running alongside their big brother the IMOCA60. Miranda and Halvard can be genuinely happy with the way they’ve raced and the way they’ve approached this racecourse. The goal was to finish and accumulate qualification miles for the Vendée Globe. Both goals are soon to be achieved.

Campagne de France: Brazil Awaits

Miranda, Halvard and Campagne de France have been sailing off the Brazilian coast since last night! Crossing Recife this morning the trio remain some 400 miles away from the finish of this 4350 nautical mile race to Salvador de Bahia and the opportunity to indulge in all that Brazil has to offer.

The road to Salvador has been relatively straight forward since exiting the painful Doldrums and the trio have extended their lead to 250nm on the four chasing boats.

Campagne de France’s arrival into Salvador will not only mark the completion of a hard fought and beautifully run race but is also a significant milestone in the qualification process linked to the Vendee Globe. With a possible 34 places available and 37 skippers having preregistered, the number of miles built by each skipper onboard their chosen boat will be crucial.

News from Miranda!

Miranda poppy 1 (photo Halvard Mabire)« Moonlight bright enough to trim the sails without using a torch. After a quiet few hours, the wind is filling in again.

As there are only two of us on board, we don’t run a fixed watch system at all. It depends on the conditions, whether there are tactical decisions to take, sails to change or things to repair etc. If the weather is good, the off-watch person can get out of their foul weather gear and boots and into a sleeping bag. If conditions are difficult, the off-watch person stays fully dressed, ready to leap into action. The aim is to not both be in desperate need of sleep at the same time.

Nor are there any fixed meal times. Food is mostly self-service. The freeze-dried meals are eaten straight out of the packet, so washing-up is limited to spoons. We make enough water for drinking/ rehydrating meals and to wash ourselves. There is no laundry or shopping. No land e-mails or mobile phone. No internet. No toilet to clean – there isn’t one.

We try to keep the interior of the boat clean, and the sea – and sometimes rain – does the rest. So, while racing is often cold, wet, miserable, and at times dangerous and very frightening, on nights like the one we’ve just had (millions of stars, warm breeze, not a soul on our patch of ocean), it’s a huge privilege. »

Miranda

Campagne de France falls silent in respect

Miranda poppy (photo Halvard Mabire)Fernando de Noronha is a volcanic archipelago about 350 kilometers off Brazil’s northeast coast. It’s named after its largest island, a protected national marine park and ecological sanctuary with a jagged coastline and diverse ecosystems. A UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2001 it’s expected that Miranda, Halvard and Campagne de France will pass by at around midday today, the 15th day of the Transat Jacques Vabre.

It’s at about this time that Miranda and Halvard will fall quiet and respect a moment of silence to commemorate the passing of the 11th hour, of the 11th day and the 11th month in 1918 where the battlefields of the First World War became silent marking the end of conflict.

“I’m immensely proud to compete on a boat covered with poppies, symbols of pesticide-free land and symbols of the memory of fallen soldiers” Miranda says from the trade winds of the southern hemisphere.

Campagne de France is approaching the Brazilian shores at good speed. Still ranked 23rd, an honourable position for one of the oldest boats in the fleet. Tuesday night (French time) seems a conceivable finish time with 650 miles of racing remaining.

Halvard avec fromage (photo Miranda Merron)

News from Halvard:

« Hello,

I never thought I could write so many words about the problems we’re having with technology. Last night was a little hectic but no more so than normal. In any case when sailing in the trade winds, the pace is nice and the road comfortable, but it seems that with every wave, every jolt, everything jumps and crashes. We’re to be aware of increased traffic with cargo ships coming to and from Panama, therefore we require higher usage of our navigational systems, our communication systems and more.

We have too many cables, too much connectivity, all probably ‘made in China’ and not overly well built or mounted. Therefore the aforementioned jolt results in total connection losses. The worst is that everything has been working this season, that is until it was ‘checked’.

Even when sat comfortably in the office at home, stable and dry, it’s a miracle for these electronic things to work. When it works on a sailing boat, subjected to all the shocks and jolts, it’s surely the work of magic or witchcraft. We’re a little worried about our return to Cherbourg because Salvador is not somewhere conducive to fixing our issues. Perhaps a little letter to Santa Claus will result in the required fix being delivered upon our return.

In short each of our little household problems do not prevent us from advancing although it is frustrating.

In the meantime we find ourselves in beautiful conditions on this significant day. November 11th is not a holiday. It’s a day of European and global mourning. A day in which we must all take time to mourn and pay our respects to all that have lost their lives to war.

An armistice is always a happy event, but it is still necessary that the conditions of this armistice does not encourage the continuity of conflict. Another such conflict will see the beginning of the end for civerlization.

Some « national heroes » carry a heavy responsibility. The influence of Clemenceau, a left-wing politician who didn’t hesitate to sacrifice his people was key to the drafting of the Treaty of Versailles, a treaty which itself sowed the seeds for the explosion of the Second World War. At least this November 11th is used to remember and ask ourselves how we got here.

I’m sorry that todays writing is in stark contrast to the adventure we’re currently experiencing but the isolation of the ocean should not be an excuse to forget the sacrifice that has gone before us, unfortunately useless but required by leaders and generations who have preceded us. »

Until tomorrow.

Halvard. 

Under 1,000 miles to Salvador

Halvard avec fromage (photo Miranda Merron)We have escaped from the Doldrums and hooked into the southeast trade winds. From here, it’s more or less a straight line on port tack for just under 1000 miles.

On the very important subject of food, thanks to the team at Prolaidis/France Frais, we have some very good cheese, and have been saving part of the supply for a feast in about 30 miles time when we cross the equator.