Solidaire du Chocolat: Light Sunday for mare
Positions at 0830 UTC:
|4 hr aver|
|1||Mare||Jörg Riechers - Marc Lepesqueux||23°21.32'N||052°23.75'W||7.3||243||2233.4||0.0|
|2||Aquarelle.com||Yannick Bestaven - Eric Drouglazet||24°30.69'N||052°02.03'W||7.5||268||2284.8||51.4|
|3||Geodis||Fabrice Amedeo - Armel Tripon||24°31.53'N||052°00.59'W||7.6||265||2286.3||53.0|
|4||Agir Recouvrement - Bureau Veritas||Stéphane Le Diraison - Adrien Hardy||24°35.81'N||052°00.09'W||7.7||266||2289.0||55.6|
|5||Eole Generation - GDF Suez||Sébastien Rogues - Bertrand Delesne||23°51.72'N||051°02.73'W||8||271||2313.3||80.0|
|6||Jack in the box||Aloys Claquin - Ludovic Aglaor||23°59.08'N||050°03.35'W||6.5||260||2365.5||132.1|
|7||Initiatives - Alex Olivier||Tanguy de Lamotte - Jean Galfione||23°30.41'N||049°08.23'W||8.1||277||2400.7||167.3|
|8||Poëmes Bleus - Planète Insuline||Mathis Prochasson - Matthieu Galland||24°36.71'N||048°18.71'W||2||236||2467.9||234.5|
|9||Looking for a sponsor||Jean Edouard Criquioche - Anna Maria Renken||25°39.85'N||048°27.72'W||3.5||235||2487.8||254.5|
|10||Groupe Picoty||Jacques Fournier - Jean-Christophe Caso||26°16.80'N||046°25.09'W||4.4||215||2602.9||369.6|
|11||Transport Cohérence||Benoît Parnaudeau - Benoît Jouandet||20°12.37'N||041°56.84'W||7.6||209||2753.4||520.0|
Since pulling back into the lead on Wednesday last week, so the northerly option for Jorg Riechers and Marc Lepesqueux on mare has paid handsomely. On Saturday in particular as the rest of the fleet had to gybe north, mare was able to stay on course extending her lead over Yannick Bestaven and Eric Drouglazet on Aquarelle.com from 50 to 75 miles. Unfortunately the Franco-German crew had a slow day yesterday as she was all but becalmed and the trio to the north of her, led by Aquarelle.com, but with Fabrice Amedeo and Mini Transat winner Armel Tripon on Geodis and ex-Mini sailors Stéphane Le Diraison and Adrien Hardy on Agir Recouvrement neck and neck with her, have made better progress and are back to 50 miles astern of the leader. Back to square one, except now mare is no longer the most northerly boat.
From mare Marc Lepesqueux last night reported: "This Sunday has not been easy. The weather is beautiful for a stroll in the sea but to run, it is exhausting. Last night, with winds still changing in strength and direction, we approached a small gap to get through the windless zero. From starboard tack upwind, we moved through the modes as, as expected, the wind veered (in our case turning from west to northwest and then north and finally northeast...) So we began to change sails: Solent then Code 0, A5 and Code 5 finally the big spinnaker, before returning to the Code 5. Since this morning we have been back under big spinnaker to try to sneak through these sporadic winds, at between 1 and 5 knots ... and sometimes seven. The softest part, I hope, occurred at around 0700UTC. We have also had to deal with seaweed catching in the rudders. At daybreak, we also saw that it got caught around the keel and propeller. So we had to get that off without stopping. In this sea, it wasn't bad at all but the rest of the fleet took the opportunity to regain some ground. It seems that the high remains in our path, it should slow us down as much as the other Class40s.
"Yesterday we had a fright. We spotted a whale about 500m away. Suddenly, just 10m to port, we saw the back of another big beast! I have bad luck when I've been leading with things that float on the water: a freighter in the last stage of the 2005 Solitaire when I was leading the fleet, a pipeline last year when we were four miles ahead of the second. Thankfully there was no problem - just a fright."
The boats are currently heading towards the turning mark off St Barts currently 670 miles away from mare. The high has shifted to the north of them and this has allowed mare to pick up speed (although the average speed above isn't showing it, she is now the fastest boat in the fleet). The high is forecast to move northeast over the course of today which will cause the wind to veer into the southeast for the frontrunners however another transition is forecast to take place overnight on Tuesday when a front rolls over them. This might put them back on the wind as they approach St Barts, before the new breeze fills in from the north.