Solidaire du Chocolate: Tricky 48 hours ahead

Reichers and Lepesqueux on mare hang on to their lead as boats in the south come good

Thursday March 15th 2012, Author: James Boyd, Location: none selected

Solidaire du Chocolat charts courtesy of Expedition/Tasman Bay Navigation Systems and GRIB (European model) from PredictWind

Positions at 0830 UTC:

Pos Boat Crew Lat Long Spd Crs DTF DTL
          4 hr aver      
1 Mare Jörg Riechers - Marc Lepesqueux 40°19.06'N 017°00.92'W 5.2 260 4275.2 0.0
2 Agir Recouvrement - Bureau Veritas Stéphane Le Diraison - Adrien Hardy 38°32.48'N 016°23.24'W 8 253 4276.0 0.8
3 Yannick Bestaven - Eric Drouglazet 38°50.36'N 016°27.74'W 7.5 251 4276.9 1.7
4 Jack in the box Aloys Claquin - Ludovic Aglaor 38°49.06'N 016°17.87'W 7.8 246 4284.0 8.8
5 Geodis Fabrice Amedeo - Armel Tripon 39°48.14'N 016°36.27'W 5.9 251 4285.1 9.9
6 Initiatives - Alex Olivier Tanguy de Lamotte - Jean Galfione 38°20.11'N 015°55.11'W 8.7 233 4294.5 19.3
7 Eole Generation - GDF Suez Sébastien Rogues - Bertrand Delesne 38°56.95'N 016°00.26'W 7.9 240 4299.2 24.0
8 Looking for a sponsor Jean Edouard Criquioche - Anna Maria Renken 39°47.21'N 015°59.33'W 6.4 239 4312.3 37.1
9 Poëmes Bleus - Planète Insuline Mathis Prochasson - Matthieu Galland 41°30.74'N 016°25.83'W 4.4 256 4320.8 45.6
10 Transport Cohérence Benoît Parnaudeau - Benoît Jouandet 39°14.84'N 015°20.94'W 8.4 231 4333.1 57.9
11 Groupe Picoty Jacques Fournier - Jean-Christophe Caso 38°55.83'N 013°16.66'W 10.2 243 4423.1 147.9

Jorg Riechers and Marc Lepesqueux aboard mare have managed to hold on to their lead in the Class40's Solidaire du Chocolat race although as they head into the northern sector of the zone of high pressure to their southwest they have slowed and two boats are now poised to overtake, both positioned to mare's south.

Prior to the start Riechers predicted that this next 24 hours could be the crunch moment in this lengthy transatlantic race. Critical will be the north-south divide. While it might look as though the boats in the south will be taking a more favourable route around the high as it is positioned at present, in fact this high is forecast to merge with a second area of high presure coming in from the northwest in the next 24 hours.

As a result while the crew on mare will find themselves upwind in light conditions today, they should be the first into the new NNWerly breeze, when it arrives in the early hours of tomorrow morning. But the outcome will ultimately depend on how the high ends up positioning itself. While mare should be first to the new breeze, longer term there will be more pressure in the south, favouring boats such as Tanguy de LaMotte's 2009 winner Initiatives-Alex Olivier, so we can expect 48 hours of snakes and ladders.


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