Preparing to face a big weather system

Preparing to face a big weather system

At the age of 52, the Canadian businessman has set himself a huge challenge: to master an IMOCA yacht sufficiently to complete the non-stop, single-handed round-the-world Vendée Globe 2028.  One of the milestones in this long apprenticeship is the Transat Jacques Vabre. The start will take place on Sunday in what Scott and his double-handed Nick Moloney can attest are particularly testing conditions.

It takes courage, composure, and foresight to take on any oceanic race.  The skippers must try to manage fatigue, whilst they take on mother nature at the start of what might become a tumultuous Atlantic crossing. That’s what Scott Shawyer and Nick Moloney are about to experience from Sunday onwards, as they sail on a course of 5,400 nautical miles across the Atlantic. “It’s one of the most iconic IMOCA race” enthuses Scott.

Canadian grit

Canadian Skipper Scott Shawyer does not have the usual offshore sailor’s profile. He has not followed the ‘normal’ route of progressing through the classes. At 52 years of age, Scott has established himself as an entrepreneur, having spent 26 years building JMP Solutions (an industrial technology company). An avid downhill ski racer and triathlete, Scott has set himself a ‘stretch’ goal: to take part in the Vendée Globe 2028. 

To achieve this, he can count on one of the most experienced teams in the business led by Alex Thomson and Emma Kettle. Scott has also teamed up with Nick Moloney, an Australian who has competed in two America Cups, three round the world race and has raced across the transatlantic no less than 20 times.

A twenty-day crossing 

For the moment, the two skippers are focused on the weather conditions expected at the start this Sunday. While the skies are grey and threatening over Le Havre, where the race starts, and rain showers have been a regular feature since the beginning of the week, the weather is more severe offshore. “For now, the weather conditions are looking horrific” – says Scott. “There’s a strong low coming in from the west of the Atlantic, which we won’t be able to get around.”

It’s true that it’s one of the worst configurations, and I know from experience what it’s going to be like” agrees Nick. The Australian assures us that his “main concern” is “to find our way through this depression“. Scott also hopes to “get through it quickly“, while taking care to preserve themselves and the boat. The first 24 hours of the race will just be the start for the duo, they are fully aware of what is ahead of them and that they face a tough test to just to get past Finisterre.  There is going to be no gentle warm up in this race and current routing for the Be Water Positive IMOCA sees a passage that could take twenty days.