Still beating Mich Des
Overnight Vendee skipper Morgan Lagraviere has taken the lead of the Figaro's singlehanded Solo Arrimer race that started yesterday lunchtime from Les Sables d'Olonne.
With a stiff on-shore breeze from the WSW, the boats spent the night attempting to sail northwest up the French coast to get to a turning mark off the tip of the Quiberon Peninsula. While last year's Solitaire winner Yann Elies on Groupe Queguiner-Leucemie Espoir led the charge north he was slowly overhauled at around 0100-0200 this morning by Thierry Chabagny on Gedimat, sailing a little more offshore. Elies was in turn passed by Lagraviere and as the two boats engaged so this seems to have helped them overhaul Gedimat, with Jeremie Beyou poised in the inside berth to the east.
Approaching the south side of Belle Ile, Lagraviere and Chabagny had pulled out a small lead over Elies, with the other fellow Solitaire winners Beyou and Armel le Cleac'h neck and neck to the east. At the turning at around 0330 UTC this morning it was Chabagny who led Lagraviere around, followed by Elies and then Beyou.
Heading back down the course, Lagraviere and Chabagny chose to stay to weather as Elies, Beyou and former Mini sailor Xavier Macaire on Skipper Herault stuck closer to the rhumb line. Howevr since then Lagraviere has born away to cover the easterly group and at the latest sched holds a lead of just over a mile over Elies, now back up to second, with Beyou and Nicolas Lunven on Generali roughly two miles inshore of them.
Compared to their trek up to the turning mark, the boats on their return journey are sailing slightly freer and making around 11-13 knots in 20-25 knot WSWerly on-shore breeze.
And what of the Brits? Sam Goodchild has been sailing the most consistently and leads the British contingent in 12th place, just under five miles back from the leader. However there is a gap of just over 2 miles back to Artemis Offshore Academy sailor Jack Bouttell in 13th and rather encouragingly both are leading singlehanded guru Michel Desjoyeaux on TBS, whose currently 15th...!
Lagraviere has 106 miles to go before reaching the Les Sables d'Olonne finish line. They will pass LSD later this morning, but have to carry out another lap of Ile de Re before returning - their ETA back tonight.