The east-west divide

Gedimat still leading but middle group now showing promise in the Transat AG2R La Mondiale

Friday April 23rd 2010, Author: James Boyd, Location: none selected

See the image above full size here courtesy of Expedition Navigation Systems and PredictWind.

Latest sched now at the bottom of this page....

Impressively for this one design fleet Armel Tripon and Franck le Gal aboard Gedimat by the close of play yesteday had pulled out a lead of 20 miles in the Transat AG2R La Mondiale fleet, their westerly option still paying. However at the latest sched it is down to less than five miles over Jeanne Gregoire and Gerald Veniard on Banque Populaire and given that the boats in the middle of the race track have been averaging 0.5-1 knot more for the last four hours we suspect the tenure of Tripon and le Gal in the top spot won't make it to this afternoon.

At present three-four options are playing out. As mentioned in previous reports the goal is to make it through the waypoint gate to the northwest of the Canary Islands, now just under 600 miles away for the leaders. The problem is that an area of high pressure has already taken up residence exactly where they want to go. And so of the four groups there are those to the west, led by Gedimat, two groups in the middle of the race track which are looking the most promising at the latest sched - of these there is a westerly gaggle led by Banque Populaire, but also including serious players llike Brit Air, Cercle Verte and Groupe Bel while Romain Attanasio and Sam Davies on Saveol don't seem to be playing the conservative game Sam said she would play prior to the start and are on their own some 50 miles to the east of Brit Air.  Then the final group is currently hugging the Portugese coast must at present have a good view of Cascais. Again this group includes some heavy hitters such as double Solitaire winner Nicolas Troussel on Credit Mutuel de Bretagne, and the two Generali boats - one sailed by IMOCA 60 skippers Yann Elies and Jeremie Beyou, the other by Nicolas Lunven and Jean le Cam.

Weather-wise the Gedimat westerly group has seen the wind back into the southwest, while for the middle group it is still WNW while for the Portugese sightseers it is northwest. And so we wait to see how this plays out.

The high is currently in a ridge running parallel to the African coast from Madeira down to southwest of the Canaries. By tomorrow the northern end of the ridge extends up to almost the Algarve - the easterly group are attempting to scamper around the top of it into favourable northeasterlies on its other side. However the situation tomorrow is complicated as a cold front runs roughshod over the high effectively splitting it in two on a NE-SW axis. So apart from the easterly option, tomorrow is going to be a big lottery. Sunday and the high has moved north allowing the trade winds to fill in off the Moroccan coast and looking right up until Tuesday morning the left (east) side of the course appears to be the favoured one. We suspect it is unlikely too many boat will pass to the west of Madeira.

This morning Armel Tripon commented: "The weather a complex, changing quickly. We were in a bubble of no wind at the beginning of the night then a light wind filled in at 3:00. Since, we dropped the spinnaker and thanks to the genoa we could put the pilot on for the first time. When one of us sleeps, the other can trim, look at the weather, think strategy without having to concentrate on helming, especially when it is a black night. The wind is weak - 7 nodes. The fact that the fleet is now 200 miles across the course makes the race interesting."

On Banque Populaire Jeanne Gregoire said: "All is well, sailing conditions are pleasant once again and we are benefitting from it. The route to La Palma is still long and there will be an opportunity for everyone to get into the trade winds quickly. Our mantra on board is the 3P mode'  Permanent Positive thought! " (It works in French)

On BritAir Armel Cléac'h said: "We're making progress in little wind, always under spinnaker, heading south. We're thinking of the strategy for the next few days and reaching the Canaries. The forecast shows an anticyclone which crosses our path and that will slow down us. This moment will be delicate and we'll try not to lose too much ground, crossing the ridge and reaching the trade winds behind. In terms of the west-east placement, the dice are cast, one cannot change the positions on the water, but we will be in a better place in 48h. The sailing conditions and sea are beautiful."

Positions at 0748

Pos Boat Lat Spd Crs Spd Crs Spd Dist DTF DTL
  Crew Long Instant   4 hour av   24 hour      
                     
1 GEDIMAT 38 21.28' N 6.0 198 6.0 194.0 5.7 137.4 3144.6 0.0
  Armel Tripon/Franck Le Gal 13 59.83' W                
2 BANQUE POPULAIRE 37 54.22' N 6.0 188 6.5 195.0 6.0 143.8 3149.5 4.8
  Jeanne Grégoire/Gérald Véniard 12 28.40' W                
3 BRIT AIR 37 48.02' N 6.0 180 7.0 195.0 5.9 142.3 3149.8 5.2
  Armel Le Cleac'h/Fabien Delahaye 12 13.29' W                
4 CERCLE VERT 37 49.65' N 7.0 194 7.0 195.0 5.9 142.3 3151.4 6.8
  Gildas Morvan/Bertrand de Broc 12 12.97' W                
5 GROUPE BEL 37 58.30' N 7.5 189 6.7 198.0 6.0 142.8 3151.6 6.9
  Kito De Pavant/Sébastien Audigane 12 32.42' W                
6 LUFTHANSA 38 37.88' N 6.0 191 1.8 204.0 4.8 114.0 3176.9 32.3
  Ronan Treussart/Yannick Le Clech 13 02.27' W                
7 CONCARNEAU - ST BARTH 38 57.47' N 7.0 166 5.9 175.0 4.9 116.5 3179.7 35.1
  Miguel Danet/Damien Cloarec 13 56.02' W                
8 GROUPE SNEF 39 01.07' N 7.0 200 4.9 214.0 5.0 119.2 3180.7 36.0
  Jean Paul Mouren/Paul Meilhat 14 05.77' W                
9 SAVEOL 37 58.58' N 6.5 165 6.3 167.0 5.1 123.6 3186.7 42.0
  Romain Attanasio/Sam Davies 11 06.53' W                
10 GASPE 7 38 55.46' N 6.5 193 1.9 204.0 4.6 110.9 3191.2 46.5
  Joseph Brault/Antoine Koch 13 08.43' W                
11 AGIR Recouvrement 38 40.06' N 4.5 152 4.6 195.0 4.3 102.8 3207.2 62.6
  Adrien Hardy/Stanislas Maslard 11 41.99' W                
12 KICKERS 38 50.63' N 5.5 179 4.7 197.0 4.8 115.4 3214.4 69.8
  Sébastien Picault/Laurent Bourgues 11 47.31' W                
13 iSanté 39 27.05' N 3.0 162 3.1 166.0 5.1 123.6 3222.7 78.1
  Christophe Rateau/Sylvain Pontu 13 00.31' W                
14 Trier c'est préserver 39 14.81' N 5.0 192 6.3 187.0 5.2 125.5 3227.9 83.2
  Laurent Gouezigoux/Bertrand Delesne 12 09.44' W                
15 SKIPPER MACIF 2009 38 50.01' N 5.0 233 4.2 213.0 3.2 77.8 3229.0 84.4
  Eric Peron/Gwen Riou 11 08.63' W                
16 CHEMINEES POUJOULAT 38 45.16' N 3.0 208 3.5 139.0 3.3 80.4 3233.4 88.8
  Bernard Stamm/Gildas Mahé 10 48.38' W                
17 GARMIN - ONE NETWORK ENERGIES 39 19.03' N 5.5 191 5.7 174.0 4.9 117.2 3237.2 92.6
  Yannig Livory/Erwan Livory 11 53.42' W                
18 LUISINA 38 43.70' N 4.0 190 3.9 177.0 3.5 85.2 3243.6 98.9
  Eric Drouglazet/Laurent Pellecuer 10 22.17' W                
19 BcomBIO 39 16.76' N 7.5 187 5.5 189.0 3.9 92.7 3248.0 103.4
  Luce Molinier/Bertrand Castelnerac 11 18.82' W                
20 SAVE THE RICH 38 57.14' N 4.0 183 3.1 160.0 3.0 72.3 3254.0 109.4
  Christophe Bouvet/Yannick Bestaven 10 23.66' W                
21 CREDIT MUTUEL DE BRETAGNE 38 39.47' N 6.0 119 5.3 165.0 3.5 83.7 3262.2 117.6
  Nicolas Troussel/Thomas Rouxel 9 34.42' W                
22 GENERALI 38 43.12' N 6.0 134 5.0 163.0 3.4 81.6 3264.5 119.8
  Nicolas Lunven/Jean Le Cam 9 35.81' W                
23 GENERALI Europ Assistance 38 49.07' N 6.0 138 4.6 144.0 2.7 66.0 3266.5 121.9
  Yann Elies/Jérémie Beyou 9 41.50' W                
24 MAISONS DE L'AVENIR- URBATYS 39 43.41' N 6.0 167 2.6 170.0 2.5 60.6 3310.6 166.0
  H-P Schipman/Pierre Canevet 9 41.52' W                
25 MemoireStBarth.com 39 50.95' N 7.0 133 2.5 162.0 3.4 81.8 3314.6 170.0
  Richard Lédée/Christophe Lebas 9 46.60' W                

 

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