Transat AG2R: South comes good

Artemis fastest boat in the fleet at the latest sched

Friday May 4th 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 CERCLE VERT Gildas Morvan - Charlie Dalin 17 57.19' N 33 42.39' W 8.5 232 5.7 136.9 1665.9 0
2 NACARAT Erwan Tabarly - Eric Peron 17 22.96' N 33 30.83' W 8.7 224 5.4 129.1 1679.9 14
3 LES RECYCLEURS BRETONS Michel Bothuon - Simon Troel 18 43.91' N 33 01.92' W 9.1 238 6.2 149.9 1701.1 35.2
4 GEDIMAT Thierry Chabagny - Christopher Pratt 17 07.67' N 32 59.91' W 7.5 230 5.6 135.5 1710.9 45
5 MACIF Paul Meilhat - Fabien Delahaye 17 09.76' N 32 57.68' W 7.6 228 5.5 132.7 1712.8 46.9
6 CORNOUAILLE PORT DE PECHE Jean-Charles Monnet - Alexandre Toulorge 17 59.18' N 32 48.58' W 7.3 227 6 144.8 1716.8 50.9
7 BRETAGNE CREDIT MUTUEL PERFORMANCE Anthony Marchand - Romain Attanasio 16 57.83' N 32 54.35' W 7.4 228 5.5 137.8 1717.3 51.3
8 GAES Anna Corbella - Gérard Marin 17 35.66' N 32 47.12' W 7.7 233 6 143.1 1720.2 54.3
9 LA SOLIDARITE MUTUALISTE Damien Guillou - Ronan Treussard 18 04.09' N 32 43.85' W 7.4 226 5.8 139.3 1720.9 55
10 EDM / PAYS BASQUE ENTREPRISES Amaiur Alfaro - Christophe Lebas 17 59.37' N 32 41.40' W 8.1 224 6 144.5 1723.6 57.7
11 BANQUE POPULAIRE Jeanne Gregoire - Gérald Veniard 16 50.44' N 32 44.86' W 7.4 227 6.4 153.9 1727.1 61.2
12 SEPALUMIC Frederic Duthil - Francois Lebourdais 16 41.67' N 32 41.12' W 7.8 227 6.2 149.5 1731.7 65.8
13 ARTEMIS Sam Goodchild - Nick Cherry 16 31.64' N 32 11.79' W 8.1 231 6.6 159.5 1760.9 94.9
14 ONE NETWORK ENERGIES Yannig Livory - Guillaume Farsy 17 49.14' N 31 50.41' W 7.8 229 5.8 139.2 1772.8 106.9
15 ARMOR-LUX / PERE LOUSTIC / CLOWN A L'HOPITAL Germain Kerleveo - Jean-Sebastien Henry 17 42.73' N 30 06.14' W 7.8 222 6.3 150 1872.3 206.3
16 HOTEL EMERAUDE PLAGE SAINT-BARTHELEMY Louis-Maurice Tannyeres - Joanna Tannyeres 18 18.80' N 27 07.71' W 8.9 217 5 120.1 2037.9 372

The Transat AG2R fleet spread across the race course this morning ressembles athletes at the start of a 100m sprint, regularly separated on a line from the northwest to the southeast with race leader Cercle Verte holding the former and Sam Goodchild and Nick Cherry the latter on Artemis with 121 miles laterally separating the two boats. Artemis is now due west of the northernmost Cape Verde islands.

With the high now to the northeast of the fleet, so for the boats in the north the wind is dropping and has veered into the east while in the south, further from the high's centre, the boats have stronger breeze and so it comes as no surprise that Artemis is currently the fastest boat in the fleet. 

The question is what happens next? The boats in the south look set to continue making better progress than the boats in the north but this comes at the expense of miles to the finish the feeling is that to avoid the high the boats will continue heading more for Brazil than St Barts at least until Sunday, when they will gybe back to the northwest.

"In 48 hours, it will be a little clearer," said Nacarat's Eric Peron. "For now, it is still difficult to say exactly when we'll turn. It will be important to carefully choose the gybe point because once that's done, it will be difficult to change your mind."

From race leader Cercle Verte, Charlie Dalin reported this morning: "A rather pleasant night, super clear. I'm at the helm and I can read 'Cercle Verte' on the spinnaker and the mainsail it's so bright. We are under spinnaker in 15 knots of wind, under a clear open sky and the moon allows us to trim the sails well. The gybe point is still very far south. We monitor the changes in the weather file to find the best time to turn towards St Barts. Otherwise today is much the same as yesterday - same wind conditions, still fairly unstable in direction, with large shift. It's getting very hot during the day, but the nights are pleasant. The conditions are still very friendly to sail in, and we aren't forgetting that! We see that there is not so much difference between us and Nacarat and the boats further south. So it's hard enough to make conclusions. We'll see how it evolves and watch what others are doing in terms of their course."

Nick Cherry reported yesterday from Artemis:

Just reading Sam's update from yesterday I noticed he said St Baths was 11 days away, it must be moving becasue this mornings predictions have us finishing in 12! A small difference over the time scale but one that could get frustrating when we have to start rationing food. We currently have a bit less than 11 days worth left but had been looking forward to jumping ahead of ourselves and eating into the 'spare days' we'd provisioned for. This morning we had the small bonus this morning of finding two uneaten vegetarian currys from day one. Not the most conventional breakfast but great for filing a a gap in our mostly snack oriented food bag today. I think the best solution to any potential rationing situation is to sail faster.

Tactically things are becoming quite interesting as we have set ourselves up as the most southerly boat in the fleet. Whilst we never planned to be in such an extreme position the other boats all gybed away from us before we felt the best time to go. We're not exactly comitted to this South Easterly route. It looks like the rest of the fleet will be on port gybe for maybe two more days in order not to get too close to the centre of the high and we can miror them whilst waiting for a left shift to come back on. This shift isn't really in the forecasts but if the last few days has taught us anything about the weather down here it's that things are rarely the same for long. It will only take a few hours of sailing at a favorable angle for us, perhaps on the front of a rain cloud in the evening, and we should be well back into the main pack around 8th. This degree of exposure is making every position report that comes in a big event on board and the gaps between even more pressur
ed as we work the boat extra hard in these perfect down wind conditions to avoid making this move look too rash.

Conditions on board are great for sailing with 18-24s of wind allowing us some nice surfs but just a bit too hot in the day time. We are trying to minise the amount of time spent on deck in the middle of the day and sweat inducing waterproof shorts have been discared in favor of boxers only for the time being!

Here's a look at my sleep patterns and how much better things have got since we finished repairing the kite.

sleep 1st april (last big push on the spi repair)
1540 - 30 good
2105 2210 -65
0105 0155 -50
0305 0355 -50
0500 0600 inc 3 gybes - 30
7-8 good - 50
9-10 -50
=approx 320/5.2 hours

2nd April (no extra duties!)
1530 45 mins
1725-1825 60 mins
UT times now! 1830-1945 75 mins
2240-2325 45 mins
1230-0130 50 mins
0250-0330 30 mins
0430-0530 50 mins
0645-0740 55 mins
0915-0955 40 mins
= 430/ 7.2 hours

all for now,


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