Leaving the Channel
The Normandy Channel Race is now into its third day and the leaders have spent the afternoon negotiating the south coast of the west country.
So far they've encountered typical sailing conditions for this time of year - light airs, a damp, pervasive mist and a calm sea, with of course strong currents and the turning of the tide dictating the fortunes of the fleet.
Still leading is the Guilllaume Verdier-designed Destination Dunkerque sailed by 2009 Mini Transat winner Thomas Ruyant and Tanguy Leglatin, which passed the Lizard early this afternoon and are lining up to pass Land's End. But their pace is slows as they feel the first effects of a zone of high pressure centred over northernwest Brittany, but with moderate southwesterly winds this wind direction should prove ideal for propelling them towards Ireland and the next mark of the course - Tuskar Rock off the southeast coast of Ireland.
"We're in a transition phase and beginning to feel the effects of the SW'ly as forecast," reported Thomas Ruyant. "We're happy with our
lead but with this course, nothing will be decided till the finish. We're being very vigilant and always trying to be on top of our game! We prefer it when there is more wind as these conditions are tiring".
The southwesterlies will be a pleasant respite for the fleet from the westerlies that have put the boats on the wind as they have sailed down the Channel.
The fleet is now down to nine boat as Class 40 President Jacques Fournier and Denis van Weynebergh have been forced to retire to Brittany after engine trouble tht resulted in a loss of power on their Groupe Picoty.
Fournier commented: "We're disappointed that we've had to retire from the race. We don't take the start of a race with a view to retiring. We have electrical recharging problems. This could be compensated for by running the engine but sadly we have issues with the cooling fluid. As such we've pre-empted these problems by retiring."
Update from 40 Degrees
Sorry not to have sent an e-mail during the night, but I was using my insomnia for things other than writing.
Monday went quite well. There is no need for me to summarise our tactics, as you already know all that thanks to modern electronics. Anyway, it was tactically interesting.
That was until the tactical options for Appart City, Moonpalace and 40 Degrees were partly limited by a firing exercise off Lulworth, meaning that it wasn’t us, but a military vessel, which dictated when to tack. So offshore we went.
Other than that, we had a night of no wind, and a passage at "Start" Point which should be renamed "Stop" Point, given the number of boats which have found themselves parked there since offshore racing has existed.
Then there was the Bay of Plymouth, which is very beautiful, even if we haven’t been able to see anything today, followed by Lizard Point for dessert.
I will try to get up during the night to write to you, but I’m not sure I will hear the alarm.