NB: Since writing this update, the course for the Normandie Channel Race has now been shortened with a turning mark now added into the Celtic Sea, the Tuskar and Fastnet Rock turning marks removed.
Race organiser Manfred Ramspacher explains: "Considering the weather conditions that are due to worsen in the next few hours, the Race Committee and Race Management have proposed a change of course to the competitors. We have removed the Tuskar Rock and Fastnet Rock. The Class 40s remaining in the race will head to a virtual waypoint midway between Land's End and Tuskar which they must round to port. They will then resume the original route."'
Positions at 0800
|4 hr aver||24hrs|
|1||Made In Normandy||Nicolas Jossier||Alexandre Toulorge||49 56.96' N||5 15.56' W||7.2||6.8||251.9||176.9||684.83||0|
|2||Mare||Jörg Riechers||Pierre Brasseur||49 58.84' N||5 10.24' W||7.6||6.4||249.2||178.4||689.28||4.45|
|3||Campagne de France||Halvard Mabire||Miranda Merron||49 58.72' N||5 08.52' W||6.2||6.3||263.3||178.2||689.96||5.13|
|4||Geodis||Fabrice Amedeo||Armel Tripon||49 59.61' N||5 06.00' W||6||6.4||261.4||174.8||691.04||6.21|
|5||Red||Mathias Blumencron||Boris Herrmann||49 58.36' N||5 02.12' W||7.2||6.5||255.1||171||693.61||8.78|
|6||Groupe Picoty||Jean- Christophe Caso||Aymeric Chappellier||49 59.48' N||5 02.04' W||7.2||6.5||262||170.5||694||9.17|
|7||Al Bucq||Brieuc Maisonneuve||Ned Collier Wakefield||50 03.52' N||5 03.33' W||7.8||6.4||264.7||170.9||694.77||9.94|
|8||Momentum Ocean Racing||Dan Dytch||Emma Creighton||50 01.08' N||5 01.72' W||8.2||6.3||262.6||171.7||694.9||10.07|
|9||Phoenix Europe Carac||Louis Duc||Stéphanie Alran||49 58.52' N||4 59.00' W||8.4||6.5||264.9||166.7||695.61||10.78|
|10||Phesheya-Racing||Phillippa Hutton-Squire||Pip Hare||50 05.00' N||4 51.04' W||6.4||5.7||270.9||167.9||702.8||17.97|
|11||Eärwen||Catherine Pourre||Goulven Royer||50 11.64' N||4 52.84' W||7||6||276.5||157.8||706.25||21.42|
|12||Obportus3||Olivier Roussey||Philippe Burger||50 10.08' N||4 30.20' W||8||5.4||267.6||164||716.35||31.52|
|13||Mr Bricolage||Damien Rousseau||Benjamin Develay||49 45.64' N||3 28.36' W||6.4||3.6||204.8||130.8||754.84||70.01|
|RET||GDF Suez||Sebastien Rogues||Ludovic Aglaor||50 21.88' N||4 07.92' W|
|RET||Jasmine Flyer||Thibault Reinhart||Nicolas Boidévezi||49 55.76' N||2 48.40' W|
|RET||Kogane||Patrice Bougard||Gilles Dadou||49 39.76' N||1 37.40' W|
|RET||Norma Concept - Le Pal||Bruno Jourdren||Thomas Ruyant||50 21.88' N||4 07.92' W|
|RET||Partouche||Christophe Coatnoan||Jean-Charles Monnet||50 11.88' N||4 23.36' W|
|RET||Pascal Atkey & son of Cowes||Piers Tyler||James Stableford||50 45.60' N||1 17.56' W|
|RET||Swish||Roderick Knowles||Paul Peggs||50 08.60' N||3 54.48' W|
The long beat overnight into 20 knots down the south coast of England has taken its toll on the doublehanded Class40s competing in the Normandy Channel Race with seven of the 20 starters now retired.
Among those to pull out have been two of the favourites - the Mach 40 GDF Suez and the Verdier-designed Tyker 40 Norma Concept-Le Pal of Paralympic sailor Bruno Jourdren and former Mini Transat winner Thomas Ruyant, both diverting to Plymouth last night. These two boats are the newest in the class and their crews don't feel they have sailed them enough yet to subject them to the big wind and seas conditions the boats are expected to endure over the next 48 hours.
British crewed boats have also suffered with the Cowes-based duo of Kiwi Piers Tyler and James Stableford on their Kiwi 40 Pascal Atkey & Son of Cowes, retiring with rigging problems. Also forced out have been Roderick Knowles and Paul Peggs aboard Swish with mainsail damage.
Both the JPK40 Kogane and Groupe Partouche have retired with charging issues. Patrice Bougard, skipper of Kogane reported: "We still have problems with our engine overheating. I have decided to abandon the race and return to Lorient, or if the engine does not work sufficiently, stop in Brest to Roscoff: A shame, but it's safer. "
The Pogo 40S2, Mr Bricolage, sailed by Damien Rousseau and Benjamin Develay (son of former Fuji France boss Claude) is now heading back to France with autopilot issues and a small leak.
Meanwhile the race continues. Aside from these issues, the boats have made generally good progress down the south coast of the UK. The leaders made Start Point by around midnight, before the tide turned foul at around 0300. In second place Joerg Riechers and Pierre Brasseur on mare, took a hitch north to get out of the unfavourable tide as behind them Red, Campagne de France and Groupe Picoty chose to stay offshore. mare was almost at the entrance to Falmouth harbour while race leaders Nicolas Jossier and Alexandre Toulorge on the Farr-designed Kiwi 40 Made in Normandie were off the Helford River before they tacked south to get around the Lizard in the foul tide. The tide turned favourable at around 0700 (BST) and at the latest sched the top four have made it around, Made in Normandie now with a 4.4 mile lead over mare and with Halvard Mabire and Miranda Merron on Campagne de France a further mile back in third place.
Once around the Lizard the boats will be able finally to crack sheets as they make for Land's End. There they'll hoisting kites as they make for the next mark of the course, Tuskar Rock some 130 miles to the north, off Wexford, southeast Ireland.
At present the forecast is reasonably complicated, determined by a strangely large number of low pressure centres off to the west - in fact six between the Arctic circle and the Bay of Biscay, but with the most active currently due west of Scotland. This is forecast to shift northeast towards Norway by midnight tonight, only to make way for another depression to move in from the Bay of Biscay, set to be centred due west of Ireland by midday tomorrow.
The upshot is that with the movement of the depression centres and their associated fronts, the wind is forecast to shift dramatically albeit within the southwest quadant over the next 48 hours, but is expected to turn heinous on Wednesday night as it shifts back into the WSW. Either way, the boats should have a fast run across to the Tuskar Rock, be painfully on the wind again as they head for the Fastnet and should then be on for a blazing run home.