Light airs finish

As Fujifilm rounds the Fastnet and heads for the finish of the Course des Phares

Sunday June 2nd 2002, Author: Vincent Horeau, Location: France

Fujifilm rounds the Fastnet

Positions at 1000GMT
Pos Boat Lat Long Speed Course DTF DTL
1 Fujifilm 49 58.32' N 5 35.16' W 15.2 108 295.5 0
2 Bonduelle 50 27.08' N 7 48.20' W 22.7 84 385.1 89.7
3 Banque Covefi 42 48.00' N 14 34.00' W 5.7 344 1021 725.5

Fujifilm rounded the Fastnet today Saturday at 1540 and Loïck Peyron has now started his descent towards England.

Unfortunately, the wind is not at all strong in the Irish Sea but the green trimaran is still making progress at 8 knots. Bonduelle is 250 miles from the Irish lighthouse and Banque Covefi is starting to pick up some wind in the Bay of Biscay.

It is very difficult to precisely determine the time of arrival of the leader of the Course des Phares at the finish in Calais because the weather files are not forecasting much wind for the rest of the course. But as the trimarans are capable of doing ten knots in just 5-6 knots of wind, the notion of light airs is not too much of a problem with these yachts

"For the last two days, it's been much of a muchness and everyone aboard has been sleeping. The boss said that we would have to go fast these next few hours to avoid being caught up by the high. Just before the Fastnet, we didn't have any more than 9 knots of southerly wind! So we have all read from cover to cover the only newspaper on board, the "Canard Enchainé" (a French satirical daily), and we've all been wondering what will become of the pigeon that has set up home on board: we'll try and leave him at the Fastnet", said Jean-Baptiste Le Vaillant on board Fujifilm.

And the skipper added: "it can be very slack in the Irish Sea: There's a bubble of high pressure behind us and we risk falling in it after the Fastnet! Here the sea's grey, the sky's grey and the wind asthmatic."

With Bonduelle, the situation is not at all the same: "we're in a damp mist with light winds still that have shifted to the NW," reported Jean Le Cam early in the afternoon.

"Since the start of the Course des Phares, it keeps swinging round ahead of us and there's nothing we can do about it. The leader always had the advantage in the Channel with the wind shift and in Spain we fell into calms. And now it's the same story on the way towards the Fastnet! Indeed Fujifilm was fast at the start, but they benefited from the passage of a bubble of high pressure off Cherbourg and played it superbly, rounding in the lead at La Hague. Finally, we ought to see the Fastnet by day this time, because so far we've passed all the other lighthouses at night!"

Bertrand de Broc was just getting out of his bunk at the chat session: "Sorry, I'm still half asleep. Well, we're not going too fast with 5 knots of wind, especially with our shorter mast. It should last all day and the wind won't be back until this evening from the south. This is why we're trying to gain some westing, to get ahead of the breeze. We should be able to make up some ground over Bonduelle as we claw up towards Ireland but at the moment not enough to worry them in the Channel unless there is another 'level crossing'. It's possible. In any case we must reach Calais as quickly as possible and less than four days after Fujifilm to be ranked."

Finally, Marc Guillemot who retired from the race after breaking the top of his mast left again on Friday with a jury rig (three reefs in the main and staysail) and on Saturday was 195 miles from La Trinité-sur-Mer which he should reach on Sunday. "We caught a pipe fish that were eating in fillets. All's well but we're trying not to exceed 12 knots to avoid fatiguing the rig."

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