Mark Lloyd / Oman Sail /

Oman Air-Musandam pulls ahead

Route des Princes MOD70s en route to the Fastnet Rock

Tuesday June 25th 2013, Author: Andi Robertson, Location: Ireland

After losing out slightly in the strong currents at Tuskar Rock on Ireland’s southeast coast when they were climbing north towards Dun Laoghaire over a week ago, Sidney Gavignet’s Oman Air-Musandam made no such errors yesterday evening as they built a small lead on leg three of the Routes des Princes.

On the passage from Dun Laoghaire to Plymouth via the Fastnet Rock, which they should round later today, Oman Air-Musandam was the only one of the MOD70s to stay very close to the Irish coast and so lead, six miles ahead of Edmond de Rothschild.

This morning, with around 50 miles to go to reach Fastnet, Oman Air-Musandam has built that lead to 8.7 miles although more recently Edmond de Rothschild – leaders at Bardsey Island yesterday afternoon – has caught them a little.

In light airs and strong currents it was a trying first night at sea after a relatively fast downwind slide to Bardsey Island – off Wales’ Llyn peninsula – where Edmond de Rothschild and the Yves Le Blevec-skippered Actual collected the available bonus points for the MOD70 and Multi 50 classes.

From Oman Air-Musandam, Sidney Gavignet reported: “Daybreak was early today, with clouds and a little bit of drizzle. We still have a little bit of wind but we are expecting a period with just two or three knots, but the first to break through the other side of that can do well out of it. At Tuskar we went in close to the coast to get the lift in the breeze and to protect us from the current which is quite a bit stronger than we see on the charts. The moon is full and the coefficients for the tides are high. Ahmed our rookie is doing great and the absence of Gilles Favennec means the boat is quiet…almost too quiet for us."

Thomas Rouxel on Edmond de Rothschild added: "At the moment it is quite light. We had a lot of wind until we passed Bardsey Island and since then it is light. It was a little weird with the flow tonight and the forecasts are not very optimistic. And we are not yet at the Fastnet. The track overnight? In the Saint Georges channel we had to negotiate the DST. We wanted to go outside and we had a very light wind. Oman Air - Musandam chose to go inside and they had more wind than us. We are in sight of Virbac-Paprec 70 since the start. We have between 8 and 10 knots of wind at the moment and it will drop again more. And so because of this its hard to say when we will get to Fastnet but likely late afternoon or early evening. So we'll see. The idea is that it lifts slowly and we will be back downwind and we will gybe. But we don’t really know."

Le Blévec and his crew were half an hour ahead at Bardsey, but pushed into the adverse current when they lead by over ten miles and have seen that cushion cut right back to just 1.5 miles over Erwan Le Roux’s FenetreA-Cardinal.

Le Blévec said: "It's a little tight and close. FenêtréA-Cardinal came back at us big time! We had built a small gap to Bardsey Island and then made a big tack with the same options, except that there was adverse tide and we ran into the current earlier than him. We lost ground but now we are back in contact. At first, it went as we thought it would, close to the forecast. but there is a lot of current and it is very unstable. Here the current is now helping us, we have two knots with us and that helps us build an apparent wind. We have between 6 and 8 knots of wind, it is light but it will keep dropping. The next few hours? We will continue to tack upwind then we should be able to take a more direct course. This suggest that we get to the Scilly Isles tomorrow late afternoon.”

The leading Multi50s are upwind in light airs some 80 miles to the Scillies and Bishop Rock at 0600 UTC making around 6 knots VMG. Winds should pick up slightly while the MOD70s should get to Fastnet later this afternoon, or possibly earlier although when the tide changes they will have adverse current to push against.

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