Charge of the light brigade

A tough battle is taking place in the 60ft trimaran's Courses des Phares

Tuesday May 28th 2002, Author: James Boyd, Location: Transoceanic
Positions at 0545-0600 GMT this morning

Pos Name Lat Long Speed Course DTF DTL
1 Fujifilm 47 27.16' N 5 08.52' W 11.8 257 1846.8 0
2 Groupama 47 29.00' N 4 37.36' W 15.8 291 1860.9 14.1
3 Foncia 47 24.16' N 4 30.04' W 13.6 281 1861 14.2
4 Bonduelle 47 21.84' N 4 19.92' W 11.8 272 1861.4 14.6
5 Belgacom 47 28.32' N 3 29.68' W 17.6 301 1890.3 43.5
6 Biscuits La Trinitaine - Ethypharm 47 05.40' N 2 49.12' W 18.3 142 1981.5 134.7
7 Bayer CropScience 47 11.72' N 2 55.12' W 18.8 143 1984.5 137.7
8 Banque Covefi 47 44.68' N 4 11.56' W 17.1 115 2056.8 210
9 Sergio Tacchini 47 45.28' N 4 19.76' W 22.6 133 2061.5 214.7
10 Sopra Group 48 07.52' N 5 27.04' W 11.6 162 2116.8 270
The leading group of 60ft trimarans taking part in the Course des Phares are now hurtling across the Bay of Biscay towards the 'Tower of Hercules' lighthouse of La Coruna. At present the wind is 20-25 knots from the south west, meaning that once again they are on the wind. Fortunately these incredible boats are still capable of making 17-18 knots in such conditions and their ETA at this next mark of the course on this is 'tour of the lighthouses' is expected at around dawn tomorrow.

It is a tense time for Loick Peyron, skipper of Fujifilm. Although in past years he has been used to leading the 60ft tri fleet on board his old Fujicolor (now Banque Covefi), it is the first time Peyron has started to show some of his old form since the launch of his new boat. "I haven't closed my eyes since the start," commented Peyron of the ride so far.

Peyron is understandably nervous for 14 miles astern of him a three way match race is taking place between Groupama, the new Foncia (with Ellen MacArthur on board) and Bonduelle.

Already after just under two days of racing there is a huge divide in the fleet and it is interesting to note that it is the new teams, such as Philippe Monnet's Sopra Group, Karine Fauconnier's Sergio Tacchini and even experienced Tornado and former Club Med crewman Fred le Peutrec's Bayer Crop Science, that are falling considerably behind, rather than the new or old boats. It takes a lot of experience to drive these boats hard in the big conditions the fleet have experienced since the start and the results are proving it.

At 0900 this morning Karine Fauconnier announced that they will be pulling into her homeport of Port la Foret to repair their ripped mainsail (boats are allowed under the race's rules to make one stopover). Jean-Luc Nelias on board Belgacom will make a similar stop in the Finisterre capital of sailing also with mainsail damage. After Belgacom's recent dismasting they are sailing with the old mast of Foncia (and the old mainsail).

Meanwhile last night a RIB belonging to the French America's Cup challenges, Le Defi Areva rendez-voused with Groupama by the mark off Lorient to provide medical supplies. Crewman Franck Proffit had damaged his knee on a winch and required a splint.

Between 0530 and 0625 this morning Biscuits la Trinitaine-Team Ethypharm moored up in La Palace harbour on Belle Ile to replace the staysail.

Loick Peyron's Fujifilm - bicycle clips required!!!

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