BritAir goes stealth
Okay - day 22 of the Transat AG2R La Mondiale and with less than 200 miles to go until the finish line off St Barts and TWO miles separate the thre leaders, although it is likely that Armel Le Cleac'h and Fabien Delahaye on BritAir are still ahead, for they went into 'Stealth mode' 24 hours ago, at which point they held the lead, 10 miles ahead.
The front four yesterday split into a south and north pair with BritAir and Jeanne Gregoire and Gerard Veniard on Banque Populaire taking the former route and Roman Attanasio and Sam Davies on Saveol and Gildas Morvan and Bertrand de Broc on Cercle Vert taking the latter. This morning 20 miles separate these two groups laterally across the race course and it is possible that the southerly boats may have a fraction more breeze but they will have a marginally hotter angle into the finish. What seems to be true is that the boats immediately behind the front runners, such as Nicolas Troussel and Thomas Rouxel on Credit Mutuel de Bretagne, have more breeze, which would indicate that the wind is softening on the approach to the finish and this will result in an inward concertinaing of the fleet over the next 24 hours.
At present the majority of boats are in procession along the starboard gybe layline into the finish. Some, such as AGIR Recouvrement, are approaching on a more northerly course and are having to gybe downwind to make it to St Barts.
Given that BritAir has 'gone stealth', it seems very likely that some of the others among the front runners will play this card over the next scheds, so the outcome probably won't be known until the leaders finish tomorrow afternoon.
This morning Fabien Delahaye reported from Brit Air: "Overnight, a lot went on - the wind went left and built. There are very strong gusts. It is necessary to be on deck a lot to pay attention to the gusts. Even without the Moon, you can pick out the gusts well thanks to the star-lite night. For the moment, our arrival looks set to be at the end of night or at daybreak on Tuesday."
Positions at 0748 GMT
|STL||BRIT AIR||Armel Le Cleac'h/Fabien Delahaye|
|1||CERCLE VERT||Gildas Morvan/Bertrand de Broc||7.3||283||7.9||188.7||229.5||0|
|2||BANQUE POPULAIRE||Jeanne Grégoire/Gérald Véniard||7.5||295||7.7||184.7||230.3||0.9|
|3||SAVEOL||Romain Attanasio/Sam Davies||7.4||286||7.9||189.3||231.4||2|
|4||CREDIT MUTUEL DE BRETAGNE||Nicolas Troussel/Thomas Rouxel||8.2||287||8||192.3||264.7||35.2|
|5||GENERALI||Nicolas Lunven/Jean Le Cam||8.7||288||7.8||186.2||291.5||62.1|
|6||LUISINA||Eric Drouglazet/Laurent Pellecuer||8.6||292||8||193.1||309.6||80.2|
|7||LUFTHANSA||Ronan Treussart/Yannick Le Clech||8.5||289||8.1||193.2||315.5||86|
|8||SKIPPER MACIF 2009||Eric Peron/Gwen Riou||8.4||291||8.2||197.6||320.3||90.8|
|9||CHEMINEES POUJOULAT||Bernard Stamm/Gildas Mahé||7.9||284||7.7||185.1||333.5||104.1|
|10||SAVE THE RICH||Christophe Bouvet/Yannick Bestaven||8.1||285||7.7||184.7||345.6||116.1|
|11||GEDIMAT||Armel Tripon/Franck Le Gal||8||291||7.5||179.5||350.4||120.9|
|12||KICKERS||Sébastien Picault/Laurent Bourgues||8.5||292||8.3||199||360.9||131.4|
|13||Trier c'est préserver||Laurent Gouezigoux/Bertrand Delesne||8.3||286||7.6||183.4||381.6||152.1|
|14||AGIR Recouvrement||Adrien Hardy/Stanislas Maslard||7.6||278||7.2||172.5||395.1||165.6|
|15||GASPE 7||Joseph Brault/Antoine Koch||8.1||287||7||168.7||416.6||187.1|
|16||iSanté||Christophe Rateau/Sylvain Pontu||7.5||280||7.8||186.7||429.6||200.1|
|17||GROUPE SNEF||Jean Paul Mouren/Paul Meilhat||8.2||291||7.7||185.7||461.1||231.6|
|18||GENERALI Europ Assistance||Yann Elies/Jérémie Beyou||7.8||279||7.5||178.8||464.8||235.3|
|19||GARMIN - ONE NETWORK ENERGIES||Yannig Livory/Erwan Livory||7.4||285||8||191.9||483.4||253.9|
|20||MAISONS DE L'AVENIR- URBATYS||H-P Schipman/Pierre Canevet||8.4||281||7.4||178.2||500.6||271.2|
|21||CONCARNEAU - ST BARTH||Miguel Danet/Damien Cloarec||7.8||279||7.5||181.1||516.8||287.3|
|22||BcomBIO||Luce Molinier/Bertrand Castelnerac||8.2||281||7.5||179.7||543.8||314.4|
|23||MemoireStBarth.com||Richard Lédée/Christophe Lebas||6.7||279||6.5||156.6||752.1||522.6|
|24||GROUPE BEL||Kito De Pavant/Sébastien Audigane||7.1||274||6.4||154.8||839.8||610.3|