De LaMotte and Audiagne looking comfortable
Since rounding Land’s End, the 12 Normandy Channel Race Class40s still competing have been enjoying downwind conditions in lively 25/30 knots of breeze.
The leaders passed Guernsey at 0300 GMT this morning. At the front of the fleet, yesterday evening, at the 1800GMT sched, Port de Caen-Ouistreham was just 200m ahead of Initiatives Saveurs. At the 0900 GMT sched this morning, Tanguy de Lamotte and Sébastien Audigane’s Class40 has clearly eeked out a loead of more than 6 miles.
While Initiatives Saveurs shaved the north coast of the Cherbourg peninsula the closest, de LaMotte and Audigane reported that their rivals on Port de Caen–Ouistreham had encountered a sail issue.
Meanwhile Damien Seguin and Yohann Richomme on Des Pieds et des mains, have made a great comeback and at the 0600 sched this morning had overhauled Port de Caen–Ouistreham although Fabien Delahaye and Bruno Jourdren have reclaimed second at the latest update with just 25 miles left to go to the finish and one of the hardest parts of the course behind them - rounding Raz Blanchard forntunately in favourable current. Since the tide has turned the boats have had slightly less pace but they’re still making very high speeds with more than 12 knots VMG. After a theoretical course of nearly 800 miles, the frontrunners are set to cross the finish line off Ouistreham between 1100 and 1300 GMT.
Message from Tanguy de Lamotte and Sébastien Audigane aboard Initiatives Saveurs, received on Thursday 26 May at 0342 GMT:
“Last night, Port de Caen - Ouistreham must have had an issue with a sail, as she just disappeared… We spent the whole night under medium spinnaker, flat out, and we’ve just passed Guernsey under gennaker. The tide is going to be with us for Raz Blanchard and then things will be quick! My right boot is completed filled with water: it’s like a swimming pool… only not as pleasant :-) It’s full-on racing! See you soon. Tang and Séb”
Message from Axel Strauss and Nicolas Boidevézi aboard Défi GDE – Tzu Hang, received on Thursday 26 May at 0256 GMT:
“Hi everyone! A little night message for you. We rounded Land’s End late yesterday and since then we’ve been on a more fun point of sail and above all quicker under 2 reef mainsail and small spinnaker. It’s pretty full-on now… 28 knots of Westerly and heavy seas. We’re crossing the shipping lanes at an average of 17 knots of boat speed. The AIS is making the slaloming easier. The engine is purring as it recharges the batteries... My ears don’t like it much. I’m no longer used to sailing with such a racket. It’s quite a dark night, which is preventing me from seeing the sea to hone the direction of the ride at the helm, but we’re already slipping along nicely, teasing out 20 knots of pure speed. Axel is resting as we’re preparing ourselves for the ‘boat-breaking’ conditions on rounding Raz Blanchard in conditions not recommended by any sailors! Namely 35 knots of breeze battling against the tide: "will it work / won’t it"... Kisses Nico and Axel”.
Message from Phillippa Hutton Squire and Nick Leggatt aboard Phesheya Racing, received on Wednesday 25 May at 2258 GMT:
“Hello everyone! Thanks for all your messages. Yes, today was my birthday for all those who forgot. We rounded Tuskar Rock around midnight last night, so once again we saw nothing of it! Last year there was fog… We’re going to have to do the race again so we can see it in daylight! Today was hard. Sailing across the Irish Sea with 25/30 knots of breeze and some big waves. It’s not much fun and it’s cold and wet. However, the surrounding nature made it all worthwhile. We saw numerous dolphins, gulls, rainbows, etc. I think that’s what motivates us to be on the water. Each time the boat slams into a wave, everything gets shaken about like there’s an earthquake. The shrouds vibrate; the computer screen flashes and the beeps resonate around the boat, driving us crazy! We’re always wondering ourselves what’s going to happen after the next wave… In a few hours’ time we’ll be approaching Land’s End after which we’ll be on a direct course to Caen. We cannot wait for that! However, it should be fast all the way home ;-)”
Latest sched below...