Sailing both high and fast Jéremie Beyou (Charal) has built a useful cushion of some 11 miles at the head of the Retour à La Base fleet as the leaders climb north on a tight fetch, heading towards the first weather obstacle of the course to Lorient, the edge of the North Atlantic high pressure system which they should encounter tomorrow night.
For the meantime it is very much a speed test which Charal is winning, extending gradually. Sébastien Simon has found the gears on Groupe Dubreuil – the former 11th Hour Racing – and is a solid second whilst Clarisse Crémer (L’Occitane en Provence) has had a good first night, exploiting the known sweet spot of the former Apivia of Charlie Dalin and is In third.
The question for the foilers is about trying to keep a high course, or dropping the bow a little for more speed. In sixth place this morning Sam Goodchild (FOR THE PLANET) noted, “We are in fast upwind mode, going north. The first half of the night I struggled to sleep as we were so close to Bureau Vallée and Paprec Arkea, we were within 0.3 of a mile of each other for ages and so I did not really trust the boat on its own. So I managed to get some free space and get some rest. I am probably a little further west than I would like to be I am trying to edge back east to the pack there without losing too much speed. Looking at the weather, the next day and a half it is pretty much like this, going north as fast as we can until the light winds spot tomorrow night
Christian Dumard the race’s weather specialist explained this morning.“For the foilers these are super conditions. Tonight there will be a little front which they will pass with some stronger winds, but not a big front like we see in Brittany for example, but there will some rain and squalls, with unstable winds, between 12 and 22kts, that will be for a few hours only and that front is dropping south towards the fleet. After that they get to the anticyclone which is displacing east little by little, which they will normally pass to the north and get into the depression.
Best of the daggerboard boats this morning is Louis Duc on FIVES Group- Lantana Environnement who is just over half a mile ahead of Violette Dorange (Devenir). Kiwi Conrad Colman (Mail Boxes ETC) had a couple of small breakages which cost him some miles but he is catching back up to these two, about ten miles behind Dorange. Colman is struggling with a broken sensor which means his primary wind instruments are not working and also reported, “After we tacked over a big wave I heard a big crash and the carbon fibre sheave box for the J2 sheet exploded, so I have set up a jury set up but that is fine but it does increase my workload for the rest of the race, and mean that I am working harder to maintain the level. So that is quite frustrating to have small breakages which will impact on the way I can sail the boat efficiently. So I gave up a few places then but now I have caught up to Guirec and Manu and eat into my deficit to the boats ahead. That’s great as this will be a long and complicated race. I don’t think that will be the last of the breakages for me but then I don’t think anyone is going to get through this without any damage and so it is just a case of managing it, managing myself, keeping things in one piece and going as fast as I can.