Finish line in sight

But 4 knots of foul tide has slowed the Figaro boats on the home straight

Thursday August 29th 2002, Author: James Boyd, Location: France
Arrrggghhh. It's still not over. This morning at 0500 GMT the front runners in the Solitaire du Figaro had just 20 miles left to reach the finish line in Cherbourg-Octeville. Again this, the fourth leg of the singlehanded offshore racing world championship, is a close run thing with just a mile separating the six first boats and two miles between the first 15. On the chart the leaders are aligned neck and neck as if they were on a starting grid. Current leader Yann Elies is to the south east on the right hand side of the track and leg one winner Antoine Koch to the north west.

The reason they are still out there is that overnight the wind has gone light and as they head across to the top of the Cherbourg peninsula through the Channel Islands they have been at the mercy of strong tides. Currently they are punching into 4 knots of tide in a 10 knot of northwesterly wind. At 0800GMT the tide will begin to turn in their favour again and this should slingshot the boats through the Alderney Race later this morning.

While the racing is tense it should also be remembered that the Figaro sailors are singlehanded and have been racing since Sunday lunchtime. The usual practice on this race is to get less than one hour's sleep per day and one can only imagine how exhausted the skippers must be at this stage and how frustrated they must be making such slow progress in these final stages.

The overall outcome of this tight race is still far from decided. On accumulated elapsed time, the current leader is Kito de Pavant on Malice who is 13 minutes 7 seconds ahead of leg three winner Charles Caudrelier on Bostik Findley and 16 minutes 1 second ahead of Gilles Chiorri. According to the latest positions Kito de Pavant is lying fourth and looking well set up to take the overall win with Caudrelier in ninth just over a mile astern and Chiorri seventh half a mile behind the overall leader.

But this is the Figaro and anything could happen with 20 miles to go...

Positions at 0500GMT
Pos
Skipper
Boat
DTF/L
Course
Speed
1
Groupe Générali Assurances
19.90nm
94
3.1
2
Saint-Nazaire / Escal'Atlantic
+ 0.30nm
90
2.3
3
Port Trebeurden
+ 0.50nm
88
2.2
4
Malice
+ 0.60nm
90
2.3
5
David Olivier
+ 0.70nm
78
2.7
6
PRB Produits de Revêtement du Bâtiment
+ 1.00nm
71
1.4
7
32 01 de Météo Consult
+ 1.10nm
77
1.9
8
Créaline
+ 1.50nm
64
1.5
9
Bostik Filey
+ 1.70nm
53
1.9
9
Thales
+ 1.70nm
44
3.2
9
Cherbourg - Crédit Mutuel
+ 1.70nm
59
2.4
9
Languedoc Mutualité Hippocratus.com
+ 1.70nm
60
4.1
9
Petit Navire Le Bon Goût du Large
+ 1.70nm
45
3
9
Créaline
+ 1.70nm
51
3
15
Thales - Armor Lux
+ 1.80nm
50
2.9
15
Top'Océan
+ 1.80nm
37
1.7
17
M@rseille Entreprises
+ 2.30nm
74
5.8
18
Saunier Duval
+ 4.50nm
56
1.6
19
Delta Dore & Partenaires
+ 5.90nm
62
5.1
20
Espoir Crédit Agricole
+ 6.50nm
95
5.8
21
Cercle Vert
+ 6.80nm
50
5.2
22
Sport Sans Frontières
+ 7.10nm
70
4.9
23
Dragonfly
+ 7.90nm
69
5.4
24
Département de l'Aisne
+ 9.80nm
67
5.7
25
Galinette
+ 12.10nm
56
5.1
26
Groupe Partouche
+ 13.40nm
63
5.7
27
Passion
+ 13.70nm
62
5.2
28
Hotel Vauban - Camaret sur Mer
+ 14.50nm
70
5.5
29
Ajaccio Corse du sud
+ 20.60nm
64
4.7
30
Sailfast.Biz Gestion Projet Voile
+ 29.30nm
70
6
31
Générale d'Emballage - FIGA
+ 58.50nm
58
6.4
32
Bati 85 Qualeader
+ 62.80nm
61
5.2
33
Crédit Mutuel
+ 66.70nm
58
5.8
34
Dubus SA. la Bourse Universelle
+ 68.40nm
43
5.4
35
Le Souffle de la mer
+ 113.80nm
101
2.9
NC
Delta Dore
NC
59
3.1
NC
Le Journal du Pays Basque
NC
Société Générale - CAB - Boulogne/mer

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