Solidaire du Chocolat: Into the Caribbean Sea

Six boats now into the Caribbean Sea

Friday March 30th 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 0430 UTC:

Pos Boat Crew Lat Long VMG Spd Crs DTF DTL
            4hr aver      
1 Mare Jörg Riechers • Marc Lepesqueux 16°20.39'N 065°54.79'W 5.7 10.4 230 1393.0 0.0
2 Agir Recouvrement - Bureau Veritas Stéphane Le Diraison • Adrien Hardy 16°33.58'N 065°13.79'W 6.1 9.5 232 1429.2 36.1
3 Yannick Bestaven • Eric Drouglazet 16°19.38'N 065°03.91'W 4.4 9.2 232 1441.0 48.0
4 Geodis Fabrice Amedeo • Armel Tripon 16°28.13'N 064°58.64'W 4.7 9 232 1444.4 51.4
5 Eole Generation - GDF Suez Sébastien Rogues • Bertrand Delesne 17°45.68'N 063°23.04'W 9.9 7.8 259 1529.8 136.7
6 Jack in the box Aloys Claquin • Ludovic Aglaor 17°53.84'N 062°50.99'W 0.0 7.5 285 1560.4 167.4
7 Initiatives - Alex Olivier Tanguy de Lamotte • Jean Galfione 17°53.06'N 062°37.07'W 7.2 9 271 1573.7 180.6
8 Poëmes Bleus - Planète Insuline Mathis Prochasson • Matthieu Galland 19°53.72'N 059°27.08'W 5.9 6.9 220 1788.7 395.7
9 Looking for a sponsor Jean Edouard Criquioche • Anna Maria Renken 19°31.77'N 058°06.44'W 5.8 8 211 1847.8 454.8
10 Groupe Picoty Jacques Fournier • Jean-Christophe Caso 20°59.57'N 057°50.35'W 6.3 7.1 213 1900.6 507.5
11 Transport Cohérence Benoît Parnaudeau • Benoît Jouandet 14°34.09'N 051°29.94'W 7.9 7.9 305 2243.6 850.6

At the latest sched the top six boats in the Solidaire du Chocolat have now passed the St Barts turning mark and have entered the Caribbean Sea, bound for the finish of the doublehanded Class40 race at Progreso on the northern coast of Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula.

Race leaeder Jorg Riechers and Marc Lepesqueux, on their Sam Manuard-designed mare, passed St Barts at 10:20 UTC yesterday morning having covered the passage from St Nazaire in 17 days and 16 hours at an average speed of 8.01 knots. mare was followed by the match racing duo of Agir Recouvrement-Bureau Veritas and Aquarelle separated by just two minutes at 13:03 and 13:05, with Fabrice Amedeo and Armel Tripon on Geodis having dropped back at little, passing the mark in fourth place at 13:51 UTC.

After this deluge, so it wasn't until 00:38 UTC that fifth placed Eole Generation GDF SUEZ, sailed by former Mini sailors Sébastien Rogues and Bertrand Delesne, passed the French Caribbean island. Overnight the crew of sixth placed Jack In A Box, sistership to race leader mare, announced that they were planning to make a pitstop in Gustavia on St Barts, for reasons they have not shared. They have since moored up in Gustavia. The next to pass is expected to be 2010 winner Tanguy de LaMotte and Jean Galfione on Initiatives - Alex Olivier.

Race leaders Jorg Riechers and Marc Lepesqueux spoke of leading the Solidaire du Chocolat into the Caribbean. "We're happy to be in front but also a little frustrated at having lost the [size of our] lead we had two days ago. What is hard is to miss such beautiful islands and not be able to stop! We will also miss St Croix, Puerto Rico, Haiti ... and we will not even have a beer. We simply follow the coast!"

The conditions were very nice, the mare crew continued although they joked that coming from Northern Europe they prefered to sail under cloudy skies than the searing heat. "Fortunately the trade wind has settled. We should be able to makegood average speeds over the coming days. Maybe not as much as we did last night but always between 11 and 15 knots."

At the latest sched mare is around 100 miles south of Puerto Rico on port gybe with the wind still out of the east. These easterlies look set to hold throughout the weekend, as mare eats up the final 1300 miles to go until they reach Mexico.

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