Campagne de France v Concise
After this morning’s retirement by the Class 40 Lupi following race favourite Mare yesterday, there are now just 13 boats competing in the Normandy Channel Race.
At the latest position report, Campagne de France, skippered by Halvard Mabire and Miranda Merron, is leading but only by 0.2 miles over the young British crew of Ned Collier Wakefield and Sam Goodchild on Concise 2, 5.4 miles ahead of Talanta and 6.2 miles in front of Eole Génération GDF–Suez. The NCR fleet will be tackling the Celtic Sea from tomorrow morning and already the fleet is bunching together at the mercy of the tide still in very light conditions.
Early this morning as the boats were heading along the south coast of the UK, they enjoyed a moderate northwesterly that got them to Start Point at speeds of up 8 knots. But sadly the reach of the high has been increasing leaving the boats parked up off the Devonshire coast.
Over the course of this afternoon, staying inshore has paid with Eole Génération – GDF Suez, the Norwegian crew on Solo and Les Conquérants Caen La Mer sailed by Marc Lepesqueux and Eric Defert, coming back into contention.
Fortunately the breeze was due to fill in overnight, but is set to go soft again tomorrow afternoon as the high moves east across mainland Ireland.
Halvard Mabire, commented from Campagne de France: “We’re enjoying a superb battle at the front of the fleet. It’s a four-way struggle. Right now we’re neck and neck with Concise 2 and we’re enjoying a puff of breeze, which is certain not to last as the wind is very light. Every time I round Start Point, there’s no wind. I’d like to suggest we rename this area Stop Point. People often think that we lounge about when there’s no wind, but on the contrary, there’s a lot of work. I’ve just tried to flick my mainsail battens back out after a tack. The Normandy Channel Race has the special feature that it has a number of tricky stages, so you’re constantly on your toes. We could see the rest of the fleet come back on us at any time.”
Sébastien Rogues, from Eole Génération GDF – Suez added: “We’re nose to tail with ‘Solo’. In fact we can talk to each other across the water. Yesterday we tacked at a depth of three metres in the Solent. Unfortunately we were a bit late getting into the Solent and the leaders left before we got there. I’m happy to discover this renowned racing zone and Dominic (Vittet) is certainly well-versed in weather strategy.
Sam Goodchild, co-skipper Concise 2 reported: “We don’t have any wind and there’s a lot of mist around us. The race has been hard-going since the start. We’re tired as we haven’t had a lot of sleep. We’re continually focused on getting the boat making headway.”
Scott Cavanough and Thibault Reinhart aboard Jasmine Flyer reported this morning: “While our playmates took to their heels, we were on a merry-go-round around the Isle of Wight… We got there at just the wrong time, punching tide with only 4 knots of boat speed. Perfect!!! We reckon the merry-go-round off Cowes is the best! They give you lots of free rides! It’s been a rich and thrilling experience so far. We’ve managed to make up a bit of ground on Masai, Solo and Eole. We’re on the attack!!! We’re really happy to be competing in this race.”