MichDes into the lead
After their second night at sea, the Solitaire du Figaro fleetis this morning off La Coruna on the approach to notorious Cape Finisterre with none other than Michel Desjoyeaux aboard TBS out in front.
Positions at 0800
|2 hr aver||24 hrs|
|1||TBS||Michel Desjoyeaux||43 36.47' N||8 54.23' W||12.3||237||9.6||230||155.37|
|2||GROUPE FIVA||Alexis Loison||43 36.58' N||8 52.88' W||13||237||9.6||230.5||155.91||0.54|
|3||AGIR RECOUVREMENT||Adrien Hardy||43 37.10' N||8 50.59' W||13.1||236||9.5||229||157.18||1.82|
|4||MAITRE COQ||Jeremie Beyou||43 37.28' N||8 50.17' W||11.9||237||9.5||228||157.75||2.38|
|5||GROUPE QUEGUINER - LEUCEMIE ESPOIR||Yann Elies||43 37.34' N||8 48.76' W||9.5||242||9.5||227.4||158.3||2.94|
|6||SEPALUMIC||Frederic Duthil||43 37.52' N||8 48.14' W||11.6||236||9.5||228.1||158.75||3.39|
|7||DLBC||Yoann Richomme||43 37.96' N||8 48.74' W||12.1||238||9.5||228.7||158.87||3.51|
|8||GEDIMAT||Thierry Chabagny||43 39.32' N||8 50.48' W||13.2||236||9.5||227.5||159.03||3.67|
|9||VENDEE||Morgan Lagraviere||43 37.62' N||8 44.83' W||11.5||235||9.4||226.6||160.17||4.8|
|10||CERCLE VERT||Gildas Morvan||43 38.36' N||8 45.99' W||12.9||234||9.5||227.3||160.39||5.02|
|11||BANQUE POPULAIRE||Armel Le Cleac'h||43 38.80' N||8 43.99' W||10.9||236||9.4||225.8||161.35||5.98|
|12||SHELTERBOX - DISASTER RELIEF||Sam Goodchild||43 40.10' N||8 38.72' W||13.3||238||9.4||226.7||161.36||5.99|
|13||PRATI BÛCHES||Vincent Biarnes||43 38.53' N||8 43.34' W||11.7||235||9.3||224.3||161.57||6.2|
|14||BRETAGNE - CREDIT MUTUEL PERFORMANCE||Anthony Marchand||43 38.59' N||8 43.13' W||12.5||234||9.4||225.7||161.73||6.37|
|15||MAGMA STRUCTURES||Nick Cherry||43 38.30' N||8 42.51' W||12.9||233||9.4||226.2||161.74||6.37|
|16||SEIXO HABITAT||Julien Villion||43 37.93' N||8 40.23' W||11||232||9.4||224.5||162.43||7.06|
|17||LA SOLIDARITE MUTUALISTE||Damien Guillou||43 39.04' N||8 41.28' W||13.6||233||9.4||226.7||162.69||7.33|
|18||DFDS SEAWAYS||Frederic Rivet||43 38.65' N||8 40.45' W||11.4||232||9.4||224.6||162.8||7.43|
|19||DESTINATION DUNKERQUE||Thomas Ruyant||43 38.86' N||8 41.15' W||10.9||235||9.4||224.7||162.84||7.48|
|20||IN EXTENSO - Experts comptables||Nicolas Jossier||43 39.32' N||8 40.54' W||13.8||234||9.4||225.3||163.18||7.81|
|21||SKIPPER HERAULT||Xavier Macaire||43 44.46' N||8 48.78' W||13.9||227||9.3||223.7||163.94||8.58|
|22||ARTEMIS 37||Edmund Hill||43 39.18' N||8 37.43' W||11.5||229||9.3||222.3||164.54||9.18|
|23||SKIPPER MACIF 2011||Paul meilhat||43 42.28' N||8 42.44' W||10.9||236||9.2||220.5||164.59||9.23|
|24||ROCKFISH||Henry Bomby||43 40.19' N||8 36.57' W||11.4||227||9.3||223.1||165.6||10.24|
|25||SKIPPER MACIF 2012||Fabien delahaye||43 40.19' N||8 36.65' W||10.8||231||9.2||221.4||165.72||10.35|
|26||GENERALI||Nicolas Lunven||43 40.53' N||8 36.30' W||11.7||232||9.2||221.4||165.96||10.59|
|27||BERNARD CONTROLS||Jean-Pierre Nicol||43 42.82' N||8 39.68' W||14.6||230||9.2||220.9||166.05||10.69|
|28||BRETAGNE - CREDIT MUTUEL ESPOIR||Corentin Horeau||43 40.28' N||8 35.21' W||10.7||230||9.2||221.1||166.22||10.86|
|29||REGION BASSE NORMANDIE||Joan Ahrweiller||43 40.55' N||8 33.89' W||10.3||230||9.2||221.8||167.91||12.55|
|30||PORT DE CAEN OUISTREHAM||Claire Pruvot||43 42.74' N||8 33.33' W||11.4||234||9.2||221.9||169.07||13.71|
|31||GROUPE SNEF||Jean-Paul Mouren||43 44.87' N||8 36.19' W||13.7||234||9.2||220.7||169.46||14.1|
|32||ARTEMIS 77||Jackson Bouttell||43 45.65' N||8 32.98' W||11.8||231||9||217||171.18||15.81|
|33||LAFONT PRESSE||Mathieu Girolet||43 46.94' N||8 33.79' W||14.6||227||9.1||218.5||171.81||16.45|
|34||CARNAC THALASSO & SPA||Gilles Le Baud||43 42.24' N||8 25.06' W||11.3||227||9.1||217.4||173.04||17.67|
|35||FULL IRISH||David Kenefick||43 49.11' N||8 32.00' W||12.4||235||9||216.2||174.32||18.95|
|36||ADOCIS / IB REMARKETING||Benoit Hochart||43 48.45' N||8 27.65' W||11.7||242||9||215.3||176.13||20.76|
|37||JOANNA||Louis-Maurice Tannyeres||43 47.03' N||8 10.73' W||10.6||239||8.8||211.9||183.83||28.46|
|38||THERMACOTE France||Yannig livory||43 55.58' N||8 16.92' W||11||230||8.6||207.6||186.58||31.22|
|39||JEHOL||Didier Bouillard||43 45.50' N||8 03.23' W||10.6||238||8.6||206.3||187.42||32.06|
|40||REGION AQUITAINE / ATELIER DE France||Amaiur Alfaro||43 59.44' N||8 10.71' W||4.3||247||8.3||198.1||192.42||37.06|
|41||LES RECYCLEURS BRETONS||Simon Troel||44 36.16' N||6 56.72' W||8.4||234||8.1||194.9||251.82||96.46|
Late yesterday morning the flight west across the Bay of Biscay came to an end for some boats with Armel le Cleac'h on Banque Populaire being the first to blink, gybing south despite already being the closest to the Spanish coast. At this point last year's winner, Yann Elies, leading the southerly group on Groupe Queguiner-Leucemie Espoir, had pulled out a narrow lead.
Early afternoon several boats from the north took the opportunity to gybe south of Elies, with the northerly front runners - Paul Meilhat on Skipper MACIF 2011, Thierry Chabagny on Gedimat, Ed Hill on Artemis 37 and Morgan Lagraviere on Vendee - making their move at 1300 UTC. It wasn't until just before 1700 that Elies and the majority of the fleet gybed southwest causing le Cleac'h (in the south) to take the lead momentarily. But as the boats converged both Elies and Julien Villon on Seixo Habitat managed to cross ahead of Banque Populaire leaving a swathe of ten Figaros neck and neck two miles astern of the leader.
Making a cunning play through the afternoon into yesterday evening was Sam Goodchild on Shelterbox-Disaster Relief who had taken up position on his own to the south of the main gaggle. By the final sched yesterday at 1700 GMT, Goodchild had pulled up to 14th
Overnight the boats have continued to head southwest on port gybe, closing on the northwesternmost tip of the Spanish coast. At the first sched this morning, Elies was still leading but found himself nearest the coast among the frontrunners. Through a small hiatus - sleeping, a windshift, a problem? - Elies appeared to get stuck, lost his two mile advantage and then gybed back, followed by the others on his track, such as Morgan Lagraviere. This allowed the wily MichDes (and Alexis Loisin on Groupe Fiva), both further to seaward, to take the lead, still making great speed and on course on port gybe.
At the latest sched the frontrunners continue to gybe southwest, trying to maintain their distance offshore (they are currently 23 miles northwest of La Coruna) and still have around 45 miles of this to go before they finally pass Cape Finisterre and can turn their bows south. Desjoyeaux and Loison are currently holding on to their small lead with both Adrien Hardy on AGIR Recouvrement and the familiar figure of Jeremie Beyou on Maitre Coq now ahead of Elies in fifth place.
Among the Brits Sam Goodchild is leading the charge, up in 12th at the latest sched, with Nick Cherry on Magma Structure also pulling back and now into 15th. Both are in the group directly astern of the leaders. AOA rookie Ed Hill is in 22nd, close to Rockfish and Henry Bomby in 24th. It should be noted that Ed Hill is currently the leading 'rookie'...
The next few hours will be among the most tricky of this leg. Not only are the boats at present in the most breeze (with around 30 knots from the ENE) but coming to the end of their second day at sea the solo skippers will be getting tired at the same time as they encounter the busy shipping lanes off the Spanish coastline, plus the enthusiastic Galician fishing fleet to negotiate.
And the boats have already been suffering. Amaiur Alfaro on Région Aquitaine Atelier de France, has lost the use of his primary autopilot and his second one proved ot be not man enough for the task, causing the boat to wipe out decimating Alfaro's kite. Similar Henry Bomby on Rockfish has destroyed his big kite, while this morning Armel le Cleac'h had Banque Populaire's kite wrapped around the forestay.
And they have a significant hurdle coming up for once they pass Cape Finisterre, the wind is forecast to effective switch off thanks to a trough, or essentially a large ominous area of no wind, hovering off the west coast of Spain/Portugal.
From Cape Finisterre to the finish is around 110 miles, probably very tough miles, and it will be interesting to see if the boats simply tough it out on the shortest route or nose offshore to see if there is any more breeze to be found there.