Class 40s through the Solent
After their first night at sea the leaders in the Normandy Channel Race are currently negotiating Christchurch Bay. Overnight Figaro sailor Fabien Delahaye and Bruno Jourdren on Port de Caen Ouistreham have eeked out a small but significant lead of 1.5 miles and are the first to pass Anvil Point, the boats currently beating into 20 knot southwesterly winds. A split in the fleet has developed between 11th placed Red of Mathias Blumencron and Boris Herrmann and American Joe Harris and Josh Hall on the new Akilaria Gryphon Solo 2, who were just about to pass Hurst at the latest sched.
Our spies in the western Solent tell us that Red and Groupe Partouche were upwind in 20 knots going through Hurst Narrows calling starboard one another...
Yesterday early evening the boats rounded the first mark of the course at Saint Marcouf, to the east of the Cherbourg peninsula before they set out on a fast reach north across the Channel towards the eastern end of the Solent.
The latest updates from on board:
Message from Caroline Vieille and Stéphanie Alran aboard Ocean’s Eleven, received on Monday 23 May at 0048 hours French time:
“After a pretty hectic start and a few lively tacks, we’re sailing with our gennaker under a beautiful starry sky... We’re within sight of a few other boats, Spliff and Gryphon Solo 2. We’ve lost the girls (40 Degrees) with whom we sailed neck and neck for a while. All’s well and we’re making the most of the night, sailing along nicely and be on the attack for the Solent! To be honest this first race start didn’t pass without emotion; exhilarating, stressful, but pleasant. I even find it hard to believe that I’ve made it this far as the journey just to make the start has cost a great deal in terms of energy!!!"
Message from Axel Strauss and Nicolas Boidevézi aboard Défi GDE – Tzu Hang, received on Monday 23 May at 0143 hours French time:
“We’re mid-Channel under gennaker and mainsail on a reach. We have clear skies and a slight swell… a great night! All’s well aboard and a superb atmosphere ‘mit’ (with) Axel. We’re very happy with our start yesterday for friends, partners and the Normans. After weaving our way nicely along the coast as far as the Saint Marcouf islands… Everything is good, except we’d have preferred not be sailing under gennaker, which is new and so mysterious in terms of trimming… We’re preparing to do battle in contact with our rivals in the Solent. Good night, see you tomorrow! Ps: this evening it was Axel who cooked but he didn’t make me Wiener Schnitzel sadly ;-)”
Message from Phillippa Hutton Squire and Nick Leggatt aboard Phesheya Racing, received on Monday 23 May at 0308 hours French time:
“Yesterday we were observing our progress aboard Phesheya racing during the first few hours of the race. We got off to a good start, even leading the fleet during a few of the tack changes but a rather slow spinnaker hoist caused us to drop a few places as we rounded the Ouistreham mark. Racing in the Class40 is really close and for a while, our position in the rankings took a dip. We were down to 8th then we caught back up with the fleet around the Saint Marcouf islands, which we rounded in 3rd position. We got across the English Channel very quickly under full mainsail, staysail and gennaker and we’re already approaching the Solent as I write. We’ve dropped a few places following mechanical issues with the gennaker furler but I think we’re still 5th.”
Message from Hannah Jenner and Anna-Maria Renken aboard 40 Degrees, received on Monday 23 May at 0700 hours French time:
“Our gennaker halyard failed in the very lively conditions. Our sail dropped into the water and got caught up around the keel and rudder. It was a real shambles! However, we did manage to sort the problem out without too much damage and now we’re galloping along at the back in a bid to catch up with the fleet! Greetings to you all, Hannah and Anna”.
Positions at 0600 GMT at the bottom of the page...
Images below from sodden photographer Ollie Dewar of the Global Ocean Race: