Transat AG2R: Artemis heads south

Bulk of the doublehanded Figaro fleet have gybed

Wednesday May 2nd 2012, Author: James Boyd, Location: none selected

Chart courtesy of Expedition/Tasman Bay Navigation Systems and GRIB (European model) from PredictWind

Positions at 0930 UTC:

Pos Boat Crew Lat Long Spd Crs Spd2 Dist DTF DTL
          4 hour av   24 hours      
1 NACARAT Erwan Tabarly - Eric Peron 21 53.54' N 28 24.02' W 6.6 209 6.2 148.6 1958 0
2 CERCLE VERT Gildas Morvan - Charlie Dalin 21 47.32' N 28 12.13' W 6.3 210 5.9 142.2 1968.9 11
3 BRETAGNE CRÉDIT MUTUEL PERFORMANCE Anthony Marchand - Romain Attanasio 21 15.10' N 27 24.92' W 7.1 251 5.7 135.8 2009.5 51.5
4 GEDIMAT Thierry Chabagny - Christopher Pratt 21 23.18' N 27 27.17' W 7.1 258 6.6 159.2 2010.7 52.8
5 MACIF Paul Meilhat - Fabien Delahaye 21 15.52' N 27 21.90' W 6.8 249 6 143.2 2015.7 57.7
6 LA SOLIDARITÉ MUTUALISTE Damien Guillou - Ronan Treussard 21 45.52' N 27 04.35' W 5.8 213 5.9 140.7 2030.3 72.3
7 LES RECYCLEURS BRETONS Michel Bothuon - Simon Troel 21 42.55' N 26 58.25' W 7.3 261 6.6 159 2037.5 79.6
8 BANQUE POPULAIRE Jeanne Gregoire - Gérald Veniard 20 51.39' N 26 58.37' W 6.8 253 6.7 161 2038.1 80.1
9 SEPALUMIC Fréderic Duthil - Francois Lebourdais 20 51.69' N 26 56.87' W 6.8 253 5.8 140.1 2039.5 81.5
10 CORNOUAILLE PORT DE PECHE Jean-Charles Monnet - Alexandre Toulorge 21 28.72' N 26 53.75' W 6.9 252 6 144.5 2041.8 83.8
11 EDM / PAYS BASQUE ENTREPRISES Amaiur Alfaro - Christophe Lebas 21 30.03' N 26 47.10' W 6.5 239 5.5 131.3 2048 90
12 GAES Anna Corbella - Gérard Marin 21 17.45' N 26 43.78' W 6.6 248 5.4 134.5 2051.2 93.2
13 ARTEMIS Sam Goodchild - Nick Cherry 20 36.43' N 26 17.93' W 5.7 228 4.5 109.1 2076.3 118.4
14 ONE NETWORK ENERGIES Yannig Livory - Guillaume Farsy 21 48.55' N 26 04.26' W 6.9 247 5.6 135.4 2087.7 129.7
15 ARMOR-LUX / PERE LOUSTIC / CLOWN A L'HOPITAL Germain Kerleveo - Jean-Sébastien Henry 21 21.24' N 24 09.64' W 6.8 224 5.2 123.9 2194.7 236.7
16 HOTEL EMERAUDE PLAGE SAINT-BARTHELEMY Louis-Maurice Tannyeres - Joanna Tannyeres 23 37.88' N 23 09.16' W 5.6 237 4 95.5 2250 292

Having got far enough south now to avoid the clutches of the high (currently centred due west of the Canary Islands) so the bulk of the Transat AG2R fleet have gybed back on to starboard their course now more WSW than southwest. The exceptions are the two race leaders Nacarat and Cercle Verte, who remain furthest north and are now diving south to stay in the breeze while Sam Goodchild and Nick Cherry on Artemis have now opted to take over Banque Populaire's position holding the most southerly position in the fleet. By virtue of them being further from the great circle, this has caused them to plummet down the leaderboard. The British boat is now 300 miles northwest of the Cape Verdes.

Going out on a limb in the Figaro fleet is not normally a good thing, however to the south Artemis should find stronger breeze and further down the track, as the northeasterly wind begins to veer as the boats reach the southwesternmost extremity of the high, so this shift shouldn't be so severe for the British boat. The downside is that for the last few hours Artemis seems to have sailed into a light patch and is one of the slowest boats across the fleet.

However according to Charlie Dalin on Cercle Verte, the GRIBes aren't entirely accurate at present. "Everyone's trying to find the optimal route, but it is not simple, especially as the situation is somewhat different from that show in the [GRIB] files. We must be responsive and make the right choices at the right time." Dalin adds that they are continuing to struggle with a very unstable wind (which we suspect is lighter than that indicated in the chart above) regularly shifting through 30° and they are expecting a right hand shift to come in the next 24 hours.

From Nacarat Eric Peron added: "The forecast is allowing us to head west now, and this is the case for everyone, because then it will get complicated. Tthe entire fleet will have to head a little west before returning to the south. The sailing conditions are quite nice. As we are quite close to the high, the air is much drier, there are fewer clouds but the wind is still a bit unstable in direction. We've got 10-15 knots of wind, a very calm sea, with a small residual swell and a big blue sky. We have about 1900 miles to go, and I think we've got enough food and water reserves. We have to consume between 15 and 20 litres. We talked about taking a shower just now because it's starting to sting the eyes. It smells like two cats on board! "

Yesterday Nick Cherry reported from Artemis:

Looking at the routing software this morning we not only have a good 12 days left of this race but, according to the computer we'll need our big kite up 100% of the time. This has spurred us on to get cracking with the repair of the back up. Not only so we have a spare but also so we can get it out of the bow and stop it hanging over us eating up any potential down time and crucial sleep time. Hopefully ome time before sunset today we'll find a light patch to pull her up and check our handy work. I'm quite confident given the time and effort we've put in we would be within our rights to bill the Artemis Offshore Acadmey for a professional sail repair. There is always the distinct possibilty it will exploe as soon as it fills, the prospect doesn't bear thinking about.

Temperatures on board are still pretty confortable during the day and warm clothing is becoming optional at night which is very pleasant. Less enjoyable last night were the constant dark clouds the seemed to follow us around the ocean cutting our breeze down from a satifying 18-20 knots to a much trickier, slower 12-15. To make things worse our worries that other boats might be sailing in good breeze all night were confirmed by a couple of less than glowing position reports. Still we are have been using this frustration to channel into making the boat go any tiny amount faster we can. For every slight change in wind direction or speed or sea state there are 10s of minute adjustments we can make to our setup.

I'm sure given the closness of this race a lot of final placements will come down to how well we can keep this up for the next 12 days.

Freeze dried tartiflet for lunch today before siesta time, with just the right amount of water, extra garlic salt and olive oil this is an absolute winner.


If you want to help Sam and Nick with their campaign, then vote for them here...

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