British sailor Nick Bubb racing Rogers design Class 40 in Transat Jacques Vabre talks about tomorrow's start 2/11/07


British sailior Nick Bubb and Tanguy de Lamotte were honoured to have had Ellen MacArthur christen their new Class 40 yachtNovedia/Setin Ocean Village, Southampton last week, just before they set off for the start of the Transat Jacques Vabre.

Now in La Harvre, awaiting tomorrow’s big day – the start of the 4,335-mile sprint to Salvador de Bahia/Brazil – Bubb says he’s really looking forward to finally getting under way, commenting: “We have a good boat, fully prepared and are keen to see how she performs against the other 30 boats out there.”

With over 30 boats in the Class 40 fleet and plenty of big names, competition will be interesting. According to Bubb, a few of the favourties to watch out for include the French team of Dominic Vittet and Thierry Chabagny on the Lombard-designedATAO Audio Systemswho won the class’s unofficial world championship earlier this year, and Yvan Noblet and Patrick Morvan onAppart Citywho won the race class race to Madeira and back.

British sailor Alex Bennett who won the Open 50 division in the 2001 edition of the race will also be one to keep an eye on. This time he’s sailingFujifilm, an Owen Clarke design, with teammate Ifor Pedley. The Italian team of Giovanni Soldini and Pietro d’Ali onTelecom Italiacould also be worth putting your money on.

Bubb with his vast, short-handed offshore experience is also going to be a force to be reckoned with. For this race he’s sailing with the talented Tanguy de Lamotte on a brand-new Rogers design and, despite only having sailed 3,000 miles to date on this boat, they have already shown some potential.

Commenting on the boat’s early performance, Bubb said: “After her mid August launch we did the Brittany Ferries 1,000 and despite a problem on the final leg we were pleased. We did two of the three legs. On the first leg we were first into Plymouth which we were really pleased about considering it was her first race, then we finished second in Santander, but on the last leg we broke a rudder fitting and one of the rudders came off. We then completed our TJV 1,000-mile qualifier in four days.”

According to Bubb the weather conditions for tomorrow’s start will be ideal and the conditions from then on will just get better and better. Bubb concluded: “Yes, is going to be around 8-10kts from the north and then on Saturday evening going a bit further round to the north-east and then settling in the north-east for a couple of days between 10-20kts which will be fairly fast – couldn’t ask for much more really.”