Mark Lloyd /

Spindrift on a charge

Oman Air's offshore position looking dicey as Route des Prince tris close on Lisbon

Wednesday June 12th 2013, Author: Andi Robertson, Location: none selected

After another night upwind with regular tacks across the Bay of Cadiz in light airs and into head seas, the first multihull on Leg 1 of the Route des Princes turned the corner at Cape St Vincent, on the southwest tip of Portugal, early this morning. From there they have around 60 miles to make to the finish at the entrance to Lisbon’s Tagus river where the winner should arrive in the early afternoon.

Because of the light winds the race committee have decided to shorten the course, finishing at Buoy 2, some 5.6 miles from the entrance to the Tagus.

Although she has remained the long time leader, Oman Air-Musandam has seen her margin shrinking from more than 20 miles early yesterday to 12 miles yesterday evening to less than five miles and on the 0600 UTC sched was calculated at less than one mile as Sidney Gavignet's team comes under increasing attack from Spindrift.

Positioned some 12 miles further towards the coast, to the east Yann Guichard’s MOD70 crew have been spurred for more than 24 hours by a cat and mouse tussle, trading tacks with the bigger but newer Ultimite class tri, Prince de Bretagne, which has kept them pushing very hard to make the smallest gains against the bigger tri.

In the Multi 50s it is also now also evenly balanced. Lalou Roucayrol’s Arkéma - Aquitaine Region had built up a margin of nearly five miles during the night, but Yves Le Blevec’s Actual had cut that back again to 0.17 of a mile at the 0600 sched.

With the ridge to their west, Oman Air-Musandam is dicing closer to it and seems to have had some lighter winds but her crew will hope to be clear sooner into a better, new breeze with as faster angle towards the Tagus river entrance and the finish.

Sidney Gavignet commented: “The conditions are not clear and so neither is the outcome of this leg. It is not easy. We have nothing we can do other than believe in our option even if the classifications are a bit scary! Anyway we stay cool, let us not get over dramatic, it is all still going well on Oman Air! We are working to the west in search of a new wind which we hope we will get soon, looking for the , signs of change. But the wind remains hesitant shifting 20 degrees every 2 minutes...Come on, come on wind, a little effort, run in our direction.”

"With Prince de Bretagne, we are playing cat and mouse now for two days," reported Spindrift’s skipper Yann Guichard. "And now we have never been closer. Along the Portuguese coast we crossed each other all the time making and losing 50 meters here and there, it is quite nice because it gives us a hare. This means we have kept up a slightly higher rate and that is why I think we're are getting back at Musandam Oman Air. There is still quite a gap, we are keeping the pressure on and the breeze will drop. There will be choices between here and the finish. In the Bay of Cadiz it was tricky. With Prince de Bretagne we were looking for the wind shift to the left. We ended up near the point at Faro, we saw the lights of the city. Now it is a beat along the coast It was wet and foggy when we have turned the corner. Now we have about 12 knots and a calm sea. We are making 15-16 knots, it is pretty good. Towards the finish at Lisbon, we have a light northerly and there seems to be holes and calms expected. Oman seems to be going well though. An ETA? In the early afternoon".

It will be the same for Lalou Roucayrol’s Arkéma - Aquitaine Region which is about 25 miles behind the leading MOD70s. She had eeked out a more meaningful 4.8 miles lead in the Multi50 fleet before rounding Cabo St Vincent at around 0500 this morning. Working the Spanish coast Arkéma - Aquitaine Region had broken free of the duel with Actual, but as the leader stalled getting into softer winds, Actual has taken the acceleration in the breeze as she rounds the high cliffs at Cape St Vincent and is right back in the match.

Mayeul Riffet on Arkema-Aquitaine Region said: "It was not too bad last night. We madeone long tack along the south of Portugal to find the clockwise rotation of the wind. It was not bad and gave us a boost, we were shoulder to shoulder, it was a long port tack. I don’t know where they are. We did what we wanted. Now we are passing Cape St. Vincent. It was a bit fraught at times when we were very close to the coast, but we managed to pass the wind hole, which Actual got and we are quite satisfied. The wind is up again, we have between 18 and 20 knots, where we are, there is a small acceleration, the guys are working on deck. "

In third and fourth places in the MOD70 class, Edmond de Rothschild and Virbac-Paprec 70 are now more than 70 miles behind the leaders and still have around 10 knots of breeze and the awkward, choppy headseas which had made life unpleasant for the leaders. With only three miles between Sébastien Josse’s crew and Jean-Pierre Dick’s, just as the battle to win the leg is not settled, so neither is the duel for third and fourth. The winner of Leg 1 from Valencia should cross the finish line between 1200 and 1400 local time this afternoon.

Positions at 0800 UTC

Pos Skipper Boat/Class Lat Long Spd Crs Distance DTF DTL
          2 hr aver   24hrs    
1 Lionel Lemonchois  Maxi 80 Prince de Bretagne 37 47.63' N 9 22.88' W 8 320 ° 266.9 55.6 0
1 Yann Guichard  Spindrift 37 47.39' N 9 25.36' W 7.7 317 ° 263.2 55.9 0
2 Sidney Gavignet  Oman Air-Musandam 37 51.06' N 9 52.95' W 9.9 306 ° 237.4 57.8 1.85
3 Sébastien Josse  Edmond de Rothschild 37 00.54' N 8 59.62' W 11.6 289 ° 247.2 104.5 48.63
4 Jean-Pierre Dick  VIRBAC-PAPREC 70 36 58.52' N 8 53.82' W 11 288 ° 248.7 109.4 53.46
1 Lalou Roucayrol  Arkema – Région Aquitaine 37 21.93' N 9 00.96' W 6.9 011 ° 218.7 83.4 0
2 Yves Le Blevec  Actual 37 21.26' N 8 52.43' W 5.8 351 ° 218.1 85.8 2.44
3 Erwan Le Roux  FenêtréA-Cardinal 36 55.84' N 8 53.22' W 7.8 296 ° 207.8 111.4 27.99
NL Gilles Lamiré  Rennes Métropole - Saint-Malo Agglomération 39 27.67' N 0 19.37' W 0 000 ° 0 669.8 0


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