Fastnet this morning
The leading MOD70s on the Route des Princes' second leg from Lisbon to Dun Laoghaire should pass the Fastnet rock this morning where the first to pass gains two bonus points. At 0600 UTC it is Sidney Gavignet’s Oman Air-Musandam which has the race’s only Irish sailor on board, Damian Foxall, which held a small lead of just over five miles.
There is nothing really to choose between the MOD70s as they close on the Fastnet which they should reach this morning. Three different crews have lead on this leg now. By virtue of their more easterly position and faster speeds during the night, Virbac-Paprec 70 took over in the very early hours but it is Sidney Gavignet’s Oman Air-Musandam, which has built a lead of just over 11 miles with 72 miles to go to the Fastnet where the leading MOD70 gains the two bonus points. Winds are expected to get remain from the north for the remainder of their passage to Fastnet but there may be some slight lift as they approach the rock which would allow the first there to extend perhaps.
Thereafter the passage along the south and east coast of Ireland this evenign and afternoon promises a slow down according to the forecast. Light downwind conditions off Kinsale and Cork will not be easy and the battle does look set to go to the finish line off Dun Laoghaire. The MOD70s are expected in very early tomorrow morning.
The big red Ultimate class trimaran Prince de Bretagne remains in close touch with the MOD70s, but may struggle in the light downwind conditions after Fastnet after reporting yesterday afternoon that they have split their big gennaker.
In the Multi50s the duel at the front of the fleet is incredibly close with leaders Cardinal FenêtréA and Actual sharing almost exactly the same distance to the Fastnet Rock. The real separation is closer to three miles with Actual just slightly to windward in second place. They are on a long starboard tack with around 80 miles to go to their turn but they will likely see the wind head them requiring them to make a shorter tack up to reach the famous rock.
Since yesterday afternoon when Actual led through the points gate off the west of Brittany, the duo stayed close to the Breton coast, passing inside Ushant. And so having passed the Scilly Isles this morning they are now upwind in 13-17 knots of wind making around 18 knots despite an awkward sea state making it difficult for the helmsman. They should reach the Fastnet later this afternoon.
Actual skipper Yves Le Blevec reported: “It’s beginning to get a bit bouncy this Irish Sea. It is a great fight, though. We are upwind in around 20kts. Im thinking we won the bonus point. These things are fun and it is good for the crew morale. We might see some rotation of the wind more to the west so we will have a tack up to the Fastnet. We should be there at around 1630hrs local time according to the routing. We lost FenêtréA – Cardinal on the AIS, we were with them in the Iroise. We will probably cross the MOD70s, but theirs is a different race. The Fastnet is legendary in racing. Now we are going into the swell and it’s a bit bouncy.”
Positions at 0600hrs UTC
1- FenêtréA - Cardinal, Erwan Le Roux, 273.79 miles to finish
2- Actual, Yves Le Blevec, + 0.09 miles to leader
3- Arkéma - Region Aquitaine, Lalou Roucayrol,+ 87.00 miles to leader
4- Rennes Métropole - Saint Malo Agglomération, Gilles Lamiré +226.42 miles to leader
1- Oman Air - Musandam, Sidney Gavignet, 281.81 miles to finish
2- Spindrift, Yann Guichard, + 11.83 miles to leader
3- Virbac - Paprec 70, Jean-Pierre Dick, + 15.95 miles to leader
4- Edmond de Rothschild, Sébastien Josse, +16.30 miles to leader
1- Maxi 80 Prince de Bretagne, Lionel Lemonchois, 299.62 miles to finish