Tackling the Caribbean squalls
20 days into the Transat AG2R La Mondiale and the top four boats - the same top four boats from week one of this race - are back into the lead as the south has continued to pay handsomely and the boats head back up towards the St Barts finish line, now just over 600 miles away from them.
Last night was possibly a crucial moment for the front runners as to when they gybed back as it has left leader Armel le Cleac'h and Fabien Delahaye on BritAir and Jeanne Gregoire and Gerald Veniard on Banque Populaire on a track five miles further south of Roman Attanasio and Sam Davies on Saveol and Gildas Morvan and Bertrand de Broc on Cercle Verte. The southerly boats have edged ahead and all four now have their bows pointed directly at the finish line. In fact their bows are pointing east of the finish line as they are expecting the wind to back slightly lifting them towards St Barts.
Since our last update on Wednesday (apologies - trips to Rome, etc) the northerly boats have fallen behind big time. AGIR Recouvrement remains the best placed of these boats, her track some 250 miles north of the leaders, and while she is now 111 miles off the lead, compared to 33 miles on Wednesday she is making similar speed to the front runners. The problem is that in the easterly or ENEerly breeze she currently isn't able to lay the finish line.
For the leaders the official data is showing leader BritAir arriving in the early hours of next Wednesday morning, but in fact it should be earlier than this.
Armel Cléac' H - Brit Air (1st with the classification of 5:00) " The wind returned overnight, and we've benefitted from making a few more miles. The wind is variable between 10 and 15 knots. The trade winds were very unstable overnight, and we spent our time trimming and steering weel. Approaching the Caribbean, the gusts are becoming stronger. For the moment, there are clouds without rain and they are important as more of them have wind in their lower part. Each day we gives ourselves an objective - which strategy we should adopt, what trimming will have to be made. For the last 24 hours, it will be necessary to negotiate some difficult parts and it will be necessary to be very vigilant, making perfect manouevres, etc. There will be surely boats going into stealth mode. What concerns us, is how best to use the stealth mode in a way that will be most effective, and what the others do when they are in stealth mode. The routings has us arriving on Tuesday, depending upon the wind!"
Jeanne Gregoire commented from Banque Populaire: "The weather is nice and we have a splendid starry sky, the conditions are very pleasant tonight. We would be happy to have another 2-3 knots of wind. We currently have between 10 and 15 knots and while we're going straight, it would be nice to go a little faster! The rain squalls are like a lottery - not always to your advantage (fresh air and rain in whichto wash) but you never know how it will pan out."
Positions at 0748 GMT
|4 hour aver||24 hour|
|1||BRIT AIR||Armel Le Cleac'h/Fabien Delahaye||8.1||291||6.8||162.3||617.3||0|
|2||BANQUE POPULAIRE||Jeanne Grégoire/Gérald Véniard||7.9||290||6.7||160.3||624||6.7|
|3||CERCLE VERT||Gildas Morvan/Bertrand de Broc||7.9||292||6.6||159.2||630.6||13.3|
|4||SAVEOL||Romain Attanasio/Sam Davies||7.8||293||6.6||159.2||632.3||15|
|5||CREDIT MUTUEL DE BRETAGNE||Nicolas Troussel/Thomas Rouxel||8.3||293||6.8||163.8||666.5||49.2|
|6||GENERALI||Nicolas Lunven/Jean Le Cam||8.2||288||6.9||165.1||672.2||55|
|7||LUISINA||Eric Drouglazet/Laurent Pellecuer||8.3||293||6.5||156.4||706.1||88.9|
|8||LUFTHANSA||Ronan Treussart/Yannick Le Clech||7.9||287||6.5||156||718.1||100.9|
|9||CHEMINEES POUJOULAT||Bernard Stamm/Gildas Mahé||7.9||287||6.9||166.7||726||108.8|
|10||AGIR Recouvrement||Adrien Hardy/Stanislas Maslard||7.9||284||6.6||159.1||728.7||111.4|
|11||SKIPPER MACIF 2009||Eric Peron/Gwen Riou||8.7||282||7.5||179.6||732.8||115.5|
|12||GEDIMAT||Armel Tripon/Franck Le Gal||7.6||289||7||167.2||733.5||116.2|
|13||SAVE THE RICH||Christophe Bouvet/Yannick Bestaven||7.8||288||6.5||157.1||734.2||116.9|
|14||KICKERS||Sébastien Picault/Laurent Bourgues||8.2||280||6.7||160.5||767.1||149.9|
|15||Trier c'est préserver||Laurent Gouezigoux/Bertrand Delesne||7.7||288||7.2||173.4||768.2||151|
|16||GASPE 7||Joseph Brault/Antoine Koch||7.9||287||7.5||179.4||783.1||165.8|
|17||iSanté||Christophe Rateau/Sylvain Pontu||8||287||6.9||166.3||808.3||191|
|18||GENERALI Europ Assistance||Yann Elies/Jérémie Beyou||7.5||247||6.2||149.2||814.5||197.2|
|19||GROUPE SNEF||Jean Paul Mouren/Paul Meilhat||8.3||286||6.9||165.9||849.3||232.1|
|20||CONCARNEAU - ST BARTH||Miguel Danet/Damien Cloarec||8.3||285||6.5||156.8||868.3||251.1|
|21||MAISONS DE L'AVENIR- URBATYS||H-P Schipman/Pierre Canevet||8.6||288||6.8||163.1||873.8||256.5|
|22||GARMIN - ONE NETWORK ENERGIES||Yannig Livory/Erwan Livory||9.4||281||8.1||195.2||889.9||272.7|
|23||BcomBIO||Luce Molinier/Bertrand Castelnerac||7||276||6.8||162.8||907||289.7|
|24||MemoireStBarth.com||Richard Lédée/Christophe Lebas||7.9||224||5.9||140.5||1073.4||456.1|
|25||GROUPE BEL||Kito De Pavant/Sébastien Audigane||7.2||237||5.6||134.4||1149.4||532.2|