|Images courtesy of Expedition Navigation Systems|
Positions at 1100
|The final two of the five ORMA 60 trimarans arrived at the finish line off Salvador de Bahia yesterday with Yvan Bourgnon's
Brossard taking fourth place ahead of Antoine Koch's
More war stories have been emerging. During the race Gitana II scored their speed record of 37.4 knots and on three occasions they buried the boat bow down up to the mast... "I've never been as fast before," commented skipper Lionel Lemonchois.
The IMOCA case in the Transat Jacques Vabre continues to be a naitbiter. While Mike Golding and Bruno Dubois on Ecover lead into the Doldrums overnight the boats to the west have won out and the latest position update has Michel Desjoyeaux's race favourite Foncia leading but only by 1.2 mile from Jean le Cam and Gildas Morvan on VM Materiaux, the latter having taken the most westerly course of the leaders as they pass south through the Doldrums.
The transformation in the leaderboard is best summed up by looking at the table above - Foncia and VM averaged 9.1 and 10.1 knots respectively over the last 24 hours while Ecover III made 6.4 and poor Loick Peyron on Gitana made just 3.9. At ,around midnight last night Foncia, Cheminees Poujoulat, Safran and Ecover III were all pretty much on the same latitude Foncia and Ecover at the western and eastern extremities separated by 80 miles. As we predicted yesterday Gitana paid the biggest penalty by being furthest east and has plummeted from second to eighth place and judging from the wind radar image below (where the black indicates rain) are getting quite wet at the moment...
The image above is supposed to depict what is really happening with the wind (as opposed to the forecast) and indicates the Foncia is the boat mostly likely to break through the Doldrums in first, along with Bernard Stamm and Tanguy Cariou on Cheminees Poujoulat (not shown, but just to Foncia's east). However the image also indicates some Doldrums action at around 2degN, so the boats may not be out of the woods just yet.
While there may now be 25 mile gap between second and third, the boats remain relatively equal in terms of their latitude and the boats to the east may prove to be on a faster angle as they emerge from the Doldrums into the southeasterly trades.
Sam Davies reports from Roxy - who have just overhauled Generali , pulling up to ninth:
“Hello! It's hot out here, in T-shirt and shorts in the middle of the night; you can tell we're nearing the doldrums, as it is humid, the wind is shifty, and (although the sky is cloudless) there is so much electricity in the air that there are lightning flashes everywhere. We've just overtaken Generali, and changed from being the hunters to being the hunted! They're astern on our quarter. They must have been doing a sail change because we passed them quickly. There is a nervous anticipation on board Roxy, as the Doldrums can bring huge calms, and also big squalls with too much wind inside, and these conditions can be dangerous. We are going to be careful. However, at present, the doldrums are not too active, so hopefully Neptune will let us out unscathed!”
According to the latest position update Damian Grimont's Chocolats Monbana has moved into pole in the Class 40s, but this is only because the position of Giovanni Soldini and Pietro d'Ali's Telecom Italia has not registered.
At present the Class 40s are lining up for the Cape Verdes. Having sailed down the African coast as long as they dare, the front runners have now all gybed on to starboard and as was the case at the Canaries there seems to be all manner of tactics taking place in terms of how to tackle the Cape Verdes. The Italians and Dominique Vittet on ATAO Audio Systems are on a course taking them to the east and south of the islands, while Peter Harding and Anne Liardet on 40 Degrees are leading the charge in a group of boats that will leave the island to port (they have Vecteur Plus and the lead Pogo 40 Sidaction astern of them). Others such as Chocolats Monbana, AST Groupe and Tanguy de laMotte and Nick Bubb on Novedia Set Environnement are lining up to pass through the islands.
From the forecast charts it is hard to see exactly what is likely to happen other than that the northeast wind is set to drop substantially tonight with the most wind to the southeast of the islands and the wind slightly more backed to the south of the islands. The Cape Verde are extremely high islands and leave a massive wind shadow so the prudent course of action is certainly going to be giving the islands a wide berth.
Among the Brits, Peter Harding is currently leading while Simon Clarke and David Lindsay are 17th, easternmost of the boats still heading south, while Jo Royle and Alexia Barrier are up to 17th on the Pindar 40, taking an easterly route the wake of Soldini and Vittet and the Bear of Britain nippers on Concise are in 19th in the middle of the course.
Looking ahead, come Saturday and the northeasterly wind is expected to go light and will remain this way until Sunday afternoon when the wind is set to build again from the left side of the race track.