Solidaire du Chocolat: Into the new breeze

South pay for Mini sailors Rogues and Delesne as they take the lead

Wednesday March 21st 2012, Author: James Boyd, Location: none selected

Solidaire du Chocolat charts courtesy of Expedition/Tasman Bay Navigation Systems

Positions at 0830 UTC:

Pos Boat Crew Latitude Longitude Spd Crs DTF DTL
          4hr aver      
1 Eole Generation - GDF Suez Sébastien Rogues - Bertrand Delesne 30°43.96'N 038°34.14'W 9.5 245 3091.1 0.0
2 Mare Jörg Riechers - Marc Lepesqueux 32°33.16'N 039°38.26'W 11.1 244 3092.3 1.2
3 Yannick Bestaven - Eric Drouglazet 32°00.58'N 038°42.84'W 9 254 3118.0 26.9
4 Geodis Fabrice Amedeo - Armel Tripon 32°19.91'N 038°43.94'W 11.3 252 3126.2 35.0
5 Agir Recouvrement - Bureau Veritas Stéphane Le Diraison - Adrien Hardy 31°36.03'N 038°12.28'W 6.6 238 3130.3 39.2
6 Jack in the box Aloys Claquin - Ludovic Aglaor 31°43.88'N 038°02.69'W 7.5 234 3141.1 49.9
7 Initiatives - Alex Olivier Tanguy de Lamotte - Jean Galfione 30°39.89'N 037°11.83'W 9.2 247 3154.3 63.1
8 Looking for a sponsor Jean Edouard Criquioche - Anna Maria Renken 32°30.68'N 037°02.66'W 9 241 3207.3 116.1
9 Poëmes Bleus - Planète Insuline Mathis Prochasson - Matthieu Galland 34°11.66'N 038°05.64'W 7.6 241 3208.5 117.3
10 Transport Cohérence Benoît Parnaudeau - Benoît Jouandet 29°27.97'N 034°38.94'W 5.3 244 3253.2 162.1
11 Groupe Picoty Jacques Fournier - Jean-Christophe Caso 35°58.57'N 035°57.73'W 8.6 222 3352.7 261.6

With the dice having been rerolled over the last 24-48 hours as the doublehanded Class40 crews have been tackling a dying front before reaching the favourable new breeze on the east side of a giant zone of high pressure off the eastern seaboard of the USA, so the lead of the Solidaire du Chocolat has turned into a two horse race between Mini sailors Sébastien Rogues and Bertrand Delesne on Eole Generation - GDF Suez and long term leaders Jorg Riechers and Marc Lepesqueux on mare. The two boats have taken different strategies to get through the transition, with mare in the north and first to get through, while the present leaders currently 122 miles to mare's SSE, appear to have got through the transition later but faster.

Night before last Eole Generation - GDF Suez split to the south from the  main pack and this appears to have put her into a beneficial spot yesterday evening when the frontrunners tacked as the new breeze filled in from the northwest.

It looks as though the favourable winds around the southeast side of the high should hold for the rest of the week as the boats head for the next mark of the course off St Barts, however there is an intense depression moving across the north Atlantic and this could cause the wind to back into the northwest for the mid-fleet. There is an addition problem as on Saturday the forecast is showing a giant ridge developing across the race course so the going is likely to get soft as the boats approach St Barts. With this forecast it is very hard to say at this stage whether being north or south will pay.

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