Hurtling through the Baltic
It was just what the doctor ordered for the Multi50s racing on the return leg of the Vendee-St Petersburg race - an express crossing of the Baltic, with sheet permanently manned and attentive work at the helm trying to coax the most speed out of the boats. Gradually, the whole fleet reached the ENEerly wind, which should allow them to make good headway towards Mölle Point, southern Sweden - a quick start to the race, before they encounter high-pressure conditions at the end of the course.
Following the St Petersbrug restart, the passage back down the Gulf of Finland saw a gradual build-up and a few inevitable calms. The whole fleet is now sailing on a long downwind leg, pushed along by an ENEerly wind blowing at between 20-25 knots. To begin with conditions have favoured the frontrunners, as they were the first to pick up the wind, but we can expect them to bunch up again as they approach the Oresund between Denmark and Sweden. Once around the south side of Sweden, the fleet is set to be on the wind as they make it through the Oresund and up around the northern tip of Denmark.
For the time being, the competitors are making the most of the conditions, hurtling along at full speed on seas that are still relatively flat. Even the air temperature is quite comfortable thanks to some pleasant sunshine. Nights are of course short thanks to the high latitude, the sailors are able to take advantage of more than 20 hours of daylight sailing.
At the front, we find the two leaders from the first leg, Actual and Crêpes Whaou ! 3, which are both speeding along at more than 20 knots. However, the crew of Crêpes Whaou ! 2, as they announced before the restart in St Petersburg, do not intend to let the lead duo run away. As proof of that, the small tactical move made by Loïc Féquet and his crew just after the start, meant that for a short time just before they left the Gulf of Finland, they crossed ahead of Actual.
In the pack chasing after them, Lalou Roucayrol (Région Aquitaine Port-Médoc) is leading the way, just ahead of Erwan Le Roux (FenêtréA Cardinal). These two crews, which are setting off with the same crew as on the outward leg, have the advantage of being able to slip straight back into racing mode.
- 1 Actual (Y Le Blévec) 1483.8 miles DTF
- 2 Crêpes Whaou ! 3 (FY Escoffier) 12.7 miles DTL
- 3 Crêpes Whaou ! 2 (L Féquet) 42.3 miles DTL
- 4 Région Aquitaine Port-Médoc (L Roucayrol) 81.7 miles DTL
- 5 FenêtréA-Cardinal (E Le Roux) 87 miles DTL
- 6 La mer révèle nos sens (P Hingant) 99 miles DTL
- 7 Naviguez Anne Caseneuve (A Caseneuve) 112 miles DTL
- 8 CLM (H Cléris) 124.5 miles DTL
- 9 π R2 (E Hochédé) 154.9 miles DTL