Upwind back to Land's End
After a long reach yesterday between Land’s End and the Tuskar Rock off southeast Ireland, the Normandy Channel Race Class40s are now powering along towards Guernsey close-hauled.
At the front of the fleet the match race continues between Port de Caen Ouistreham and Initiatives Saveurs. At the 0700 GMT sched today less than a mile separated Fabien Delahaye/Bruno Jourdren and Tanguy de Lamotte/Sébastien Audigane while behind them, the positions are consolidating.
The race has seen its fourth retirement. The crew of Spliff contacted race management at 1900 GMT this evening to announce they were turning back. Andrew Dawson and Rune Aasberg reckon the sailing conditions are becoming too difficult. They prefer to stop and conserve the boat.
Yesterday’s shortening of the course, removing the Fastnet Rock, is providing competitors with a little respite. Despite being upwind, the current conditions are more manageable after the downwind leg towards Ireland yesterday. Ahead of them is a beat to Land’s End and finally, once around they’re likely to benefit from downwind conditions which will carry them to the finish off Ouisterham, from where they left on Sunday.
Message from Tanguy de Lamotte and Sébastien Audigane aboard Initiatives Saveurs (received on Tuesday 24 May at 2255 hours French time): “Hello, hello! A superb day for Initiatives Saveurs. We’ve were belting along on a reach until we came back to within a hundred metres of Port de Caen Ouistreham. On rounding the lighthouse, the two crews anticipated their manoeuvres well, furling and dumping the genoa in the locker, putting in a reef in the mainsail, or the Solent for Port de Caen Ouistreham, stacking to starboard and tacking around Tuskar Rock lighthouse, taking care not to run aground on the shelf around it! This area is still just as magical and fabulous. We’d have really liked to have stopped off along the coast to drink a Guinness, but we have a race to the finish and no time to hang about as a front’s on its way, which is why we’re heading straight for Caen. It’s going to be a fairly calm night on a single tack until tomorrow morning before we get onto a beat… So that’s where I’ll have to leave you as I have to check the weather forecasts and prepare a good meal! Have a good evening! Aboard Initiatives Saveurs, Séb and Tanguy”.
Message from Phillippa Hutton Squire and Nick Leggatt aboard Phesheya Racing, received on Tuesday 24 May at 2322 hours French time:
“Good evening everyone! This morning we were off the Lizard. The sun rose, lighting up the Channel and put a smile on our faces. We were sailing between Longships lighthouse and Land’s End when we saw a Class40. It was number 107. We filmed them and called them up on the VHF. We spoke to Marc Lepesqueux (Marie Toit – Caen la Mer), who told us he and Michel Kleinjans were returning to Caen. They seemed very disappointed. For our part, we dumped the Solent and switched to the staysail. We were delighted to sail on a good reach as far as Tuskar Rock. Later on we hoisted our gennaker with dolphins right around the boat. I think we’ll have some great photos to show you. The Class40 is really an incredible boat. At sunset we dined and drank a cup of tea. Today was the first birthday of our mascot Pippa Potamus. She’s been very lucky to sail downwind throughout the day…”
Message from Caroline Vieille and Stéphanie Alran aboard Ocean’s Eleven, received on Wednesday 25 May at 0200 hours French time:
“It’s 0130 hours and the day has begun with a slight annoyance: calm weather! Since last night we’ve been trying to get past the English coast but the wind abandoned us off the end of Cornwall. Our thoughts are with the frontrunners who must have passed Tuskar Rock, bravo to them and to Ivan Vautier’s sweets which are boosting our spirits. It’s best to be philosophical about things, though it’s a bitter pill to swallow. We were expecting a tough match but the sense of being out of the action is hard to take; it’s not in our nature. As such we’re making massives of lists of things to be improved on with a view to the upcoming events in our sailing season. In the meantime, we have a nice climb up to Tuskar Rock ahead of us and, hopefully a descent on a single tack. There have to be some compensations for bringing up the rear. Stéphanie is at the helm, tucking into the sweets, and I’m going to get a bit of sleep. The crew of Ocean's Eleven from Land’s End”.
Message from Pierre-Yves Lautrou and Dominic Vittet on Express Sapmer, received on Wednesday 25 May at 0248 hours French time: "Hello! The days go by, but each one is different on the NCR. The days don’t feel long when you’re on a reach between Land's End and Tuskar, which you devour in a day – but the nights do seem long as we are close-hauled again on the opposite tack, a bit relieved that we’re not having to hunt down the Fastnet close-hauled in a storm. Other than that we’re still having a hellish jostle for the top spot with our friends from Leatherman as we rounded the lighthouse just two boat lengths astern of them! As for the rest, all’s well aboard and we’re trying to recover from the profusion of energy we used up in the first few days as we’re certainly going to need some for the finish! See you soon PYL and Mino”.
Message from Jean Galfione and Eric Péron from Talanta, received on Wednesday 25 May at 0334 hours French time: “All’s well aboard Talanta. It’s a cold and very dark night, the moon still hasn’t appeared. We eased off the pace yesterday to get some good rest so we can be powering on all cylinders tonight and tomorrow. Our aim is to hold onto our third place and to snatch an opportunity to get level with the two frontrunners. Right now Eric is having a nap and I’m going to warm myself up with a little soup, whilst keeping an eye on the boat’s trim and the radar. Until the next time, Eric and Jean the bigoudens from NW France…”