The race to Ouessant

Who is leading remains anybody's guess at the Figaro boats claw their way north

Tuesday August 27th 2002, Author: James Boyd, Location: France
The final leg of the Solitaire du Figaro is providing no let up for the singlehanders as they forge north across a lumpy Bay of Biscay towards Ouessant.

Since this morning the lead has been changing at every position update and the nice tight pack has divided. Former Orange crewmen Sebastien Josse and Yann Elies are at the moment furthest east and doing well in the overall rankings - Elies is leading, with Josse in fourth. But the rankings are currently not giving an accurate indication of what is going on as they are both currently on port (as the courses below show) and will have to put a tack out sea to round Ouessant.

Then there is a group further west that includes this morning's leader Eric Drouglazet, Vincent Riou, current overall leader Kito de Pavant, Ronan Guerin while out on a flier, further west still is today's early morning leader Nicolas Troussel, who is 26 miles west of the direct course. At the time of writing they were all on starboard heading out to sea in order to hit the layline that will taken them around Ouessant. Hedging their bets in between are the likes of Erwan Tabarly and Philippe Vicariot.

This afternoon the boats have been experiencing 28 knots from the north north west and 1.5m waves. Buoy data in the area at 18GMT shows the wind at 10 knot from the north off Ouessant, 15 knots from just west of north offshore to the west. During the radio chat session the skippers highlighted how conditions have been making life difficult, not to mention uncomfortable.

"It's still very open and it's quite difficult to make even the slightest prediction on the passage to Ushant," was the comment back from the Race Management boat that is following the fleet.

"It's quite difficult, the wind is strong and the sea is breaking heavily," described Thierry Chabagny on board Petit Navire. "It's quite damp too. You're pretty much forced to helm continuously. It's moving about all over the place and it's physically testing, especially for the back. But I'm fairly happy with my position. I took the lead last night and of course I'm a bit lost bearing in mind all the fluctuations in the wind and the lateral gaps."

The order the boats round Ouessant tonight is likely to determine the finish positions in Cherbourg.

Positions at 1800GMT
Pos
Skipper
Boat
DTL/F
Course
Speed
1
Groupe Générali Assurances
204.90nm
34
6.7
2
Créaline
+ 0.20nm
35
6.8
3
Petit Navire Le Bon Goût du Large
+ 0.40nm
31
6.2
4
Créaline
+ 0.90nm
37
6.7
5
Cherbourg - Crédit Mutuel
+ 1.50nm
31
6.3
6
M@rseille Entreprises
+ 5.80nm
311
6.6
6
Languedoc Mutualité Hippocratus.com
+ 5.80nm
310
6.6
8
Top'Océan
+ 6.30nm
37
6.5
9
Espoir Crédit Agricole
+ 6.40nm
32
6.6
10
Département de l'Aisne
+ 6.60nm
38
7.1
10
PRB Produits de Revêtement du Bâtiment
+ 6.60nm
320
7
12
Ajaccio Corse du sud
+ 7.10nm
3
5
13
Thales
+ 7.90nm
40
6.6
14
Thales - Armor Lux
+ 8.20nm
42
6.8
15
Delta Dore & Partenaires
+ 10.10nm
5
4.6
16
Groupe Partouche
+ 10.30nm
24
5.8
17
Bostik Filey
+ 10.70nm
41
7.1
18
Sport Sans Frontières
+ 11.30nm
42
7.3
19
Saint-Nazaire / Escal'Atlantic
+ 12.40nm
318
6.9
20
32 01 de Météo Consult
+ 13.80nm
318
7.1
21
Delta Dore
+ 14.20nm
318
7.2
22
David Olivier
+ 14.80nm
319
7.3
23
Hotel Vauban - Camaret sur Mer
+ 16.40nm
44
6.9
24
Malice
+ 17.60nm
320
7.3
25
Passion
+ 20.80nm
324
6.8
26
Dragonfly
+ 21.40nm
21
5.4
27
Saunier Duval
+ 21.60nm
324
6.8
28
Bati 85 Qualeader
+ 29.20nm
317
5.7
29
Dubus SA. la Bourse Universelle
+ 30.20nm
321
7.4
30
Galinette
+ 31.30nm
324
7
31
Crédit Mutuel
+ 33.90nm
37
5.7
32
Sailfast.Biz Gestion Projet Voile
+ 35.90nm
332
6.1
33
Générale d'Emballage - FIGA
+ 39.50nm
317
7
34
Le Souffle de la mer
+ 53.40nm
39
6.3
NC
Cercle Vert
NC
Port Trebeurden
NC
323
7.1
NC
Le Journal du Pays Basque
NC
216
2.6
NC
Société Générale - CAB - Boulogne/mer

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