Racing with the whole MOD70 fleet in close contact for periods today, Yann Guichard and the crew of Spindrift continue to lead leg 2 of the Route des Princes as they passed to the east of the centre of the depression and have been enjoying fast downwind sailing, slowed only by the confused, difficult seas.
Guichard reported that conditions on board Spindrift were like ‘being in a washing machine’. Their lead over Sidney Gavignet’s Oman Air-Musandam this afternoon was around four miles as they surged north at speeds of up to 30 knots. “The night was okay. After we got the points at Cascais, my pals let me get some sleep so I was in good shape later in the night and this morning. There was a wind of around 20 knots and the seas were quite small.
"Now it is more complicated as we are heading towards the centre of the depression to the get the rotation. The wind is unsettled and we are going into the seas, the boat is slamming and always jumping. At the helm it takes a lot of concentration. And even more so because we are all in sight of each other. It is all a bit tricky. We are under gennaker and going fast, but because of the seas we are not pressing super hard. The atmosphere is like being in a washing machine. In a few hours there will be a gybe for the fleet. The goal is to stay east of the depression and then we will be heading for the Fastnet which should be quick. The winds will be lighter after Fastnet with the possibility of a re-start in the Irish sea".
Charles Caudrelier reported from Edmond de Rothshchild this morning. “We had 18-22 knots of wind, started to tack upwind, the wind came back around, we took off again and accelerated downwind in 20-25 knots. The problem is the sea with a heavy northwesterly swell that is not easy to deal with, but we managed to get back up with the pack. The speeds are impressive, but that's normal for these boats. As soon as there's a little wind sailing downwind, these boats take off, but the problem is they're taking a pounding with these nasty seas, and as we are racing we are forced to push them hard... We're going along 28-30 knots we are hitting the sea coming towards us and banging up and down on the waves. There are noises coming from everywhere on the boat. But we're making headway...
"We had a long tack last that night, so we got some rest, we got into the watched very early because it will be a complicated passage. Meantime we have goggles to protect us but no helmets. We are watching the wind in the depression, looking for the rotation around the centre within the next two or three hours. We are all in visual contact with Oman Air-Musandam no more than 200m away, Prince de Bretagne is to leeward, Virbac-Paprec 70 a bit behind us and Spindrift just a bit ahead".
The four MOD70s are heading directly to the Fastnet Rock 270 miles due north of them. Guichard says they are expecting a fast passage up to the famous mark, but anticipates a re-start in light airs in the Irish Sea.
In the Multi 50 class, Yves Le Blevec’s Actual was leading towards the scoring mark off the west of Brittany this afternoon but their lead over FenêtréA-Cardinal was just one mile with six miles to sail.
From Rennes - Saint-Malo Agglomeration, Gilles Lamiré reported: "It is now soften, here, this morning we are under gennaker, we are moving away from the depression is now lighter with the wind atabout 13 knots. In front of us, there is a little cell and try to take advantage of the rotation of the wind that is moving from the left to the north-northeast, and then after to the east. So we took the opportunitytry to cut the ridge where there would be more wind. We know we have lost a lot, it is hoped that this configuration will now allow us to pick up a bit."
Positions at 1600 UTC
1 : Actual (Yves Le Blevec) 464.70 miles to finish
2 : FenêtréA-Cardinal (Erwan Le Roux) 1.75 miles to leader
3 : Arkéma – Région Aquitaine (Lalou Roucayrol) 32,94 miles to leader
4 : Rennes Métropole – Saint-Malo Agglomératio (Gilles Lamiré) 141.76 miles to leader
MOD 70 :
1 : Spindrift (Yann Guichard) 458.33 miles to finish
2 : Oman Air-Musandam (Sidney Gavignet) 3.28 miles to leader
3 : Edmond de Rothschild (Sébastien Josse) 5.14 miles to leader
4 : Virbac-Paprec 70 (Jean-Pierre Dick) 7.80 miles to leader
1 : Prince de Bretagne (Lionel Lemonchois) 466.19 miles to finish