South or direct?
As the Mini Transat sailors choose their route across the Atlantic, so 12 boats remain in Lanzarote where their skippers continue to finish repairs before returning to the race course.
Sadly for two, their Mini Transat adventure stops here. Stan Maslard (Sefico Group) and David Genest (Bingo) will not continue. For Stan, the accumulation of minor technical glitches have got the better of his efforts to continue, especially as he was gunning for a podium finish. Meanwhile Genest's broken mast means there is no hope that he can leave on time. As his race must end there, he has offered Jerome Lecuna, who has major power problems, his generator, in a typical display of solidary in this class.
For others it is a case of fixing issues relating to power generator, autopilots and often rudder damage, an area which again seems to be a weak point on the Minis. The status of those in Lanzarote is as follows:
Richard Hewson (RG650.com) repairing an aerial problem
Hugues Cholet (Pour le Bel Espoir) had planned to stop at the outset
Jerome Lecuna (I Feel Good) departure imminent departure
Marc Dubos (CEPAT), leaving tomorrow morning
Nolwen de Carlan (Reality), leaving tomorrow morning
Eric Jezegou (Déphémérides - AM2I), waiting for a chain plate
Charles Boulanger (Foksamouille) has not clarified his intentions
Axel Tréhin (Ty Startigenn) departure imminent departure
Federico Cuciuc (Your Sail) has not clarified his intentions
Thomas Guilbaud (Technip Planète Urgence), has not clarified his intentions
Robin Marsh (Marcel for Ever) departure imminent
Jean-Marie Oger (Acebi) - Last minute news: Jean-Marie just called the Race Direction to signal its retirement (a problem with his navigation system)
Back on the race course, in the Protos, the first three seem to have made the same strategy choice: to get south quickly. Giancarlo Pedote (Prysmian) and Benoit Marie (benoitmarie.com) were just waiting the daily weather report to be issued (its transmitted to competitors over HF/SSB) before making their routing decision. They were followed a few hours later by Rémi Fermin (Boreal). The route is less obvious for Bruno Garcia (Sampaquita) who appears to be procrastinating for a little longer before making his decision.
However, Bertrand Delesne (TeamWork Proto) has apparently decided to bet everything on a route close to the great circle,a choice which seems to have also given Jean-Baptiste Lemaire (L’œuvre du Marin Breton) a solid fourth place in the Series class. Their route, if they stick to it, is bold, but it could pay off over time. The arrival of a cold front at 40°W should cause a break in the trades and generate light winds for several hours. If those to the south are able to get far enough south to escape its influence, they will stay in the established trade winds and will sail faster than those sticking to the direct route. However, if this is not the case, those who have chosen to sail the direct route will make the gains as they will sail a shorter course.
Lemaire is known for banging corners successfully as he proved in last year's Les Sables-Azores race when successfully took a very northly option on the leg back to Les Sables d' Olonne. The battle for second place between Simon Koster (Go 4 it) and Justine Mettraux (TeamWork) is lining up to be a fierce one.
Behind the leaders, for the main body of the fleet, it's about escaping the lights airs in the wind shadow of the Canaries and the Azores high. Eric Cochet (Abers & Co), Tanguy Le Turquais (Terréal Rêve d‘enfance), while Damien Audrain (Gerinter) and Jerome d' Aboville (Bel) have significantly adjusted their routes. Alberto Bona (onelinesim.it) will not follow immediately, as he has a technical problem. The Italian skipper has activated the "on board" button on his ARGOS beacon several times, which means it is not asking for assistance and is trying to solve a problem himself. At the 16.00 update, only two competitors, Louis Segre (Roll my Chicken) and Julien Pulvé (MEXT-ICA) showed speeds of greater than ten knots on a clearly southerly route. It is still very early in the great crossing for anyone to play their cards openly.
Britain's Pip Hare on The Potting Shed is currently lying 22nd in the Series class.
Series fleet at 15.00 UTC
1. Aymeric Belloir (810 – Tout le Monde chante contre le Cancer) with 2177.9 nm to the finish
2. Simon Koster (819 – Go 4 it) + 58.2 nm
3. Justine Mettraux (824 - TeamWork) + 63.4 nm
4. Jean-Baptiste Lemaire (607 – Œuvre du Marin Breton) + 83.7 nm
5. Eric Cochet (Abers & Co) + 163.4 nm
Proto fleet at 15.00 UTC
1. Giancarlo Pedote (747 – Prysmian) with 2049.8 nm to the finish
2. Benoit Marie (667 – benoitmarie.com) + 11.1 nm
3. Rémi Fermin (741 – Boréal) + 85.9 nm
4. Bruno Garcia (240 – Sampaquita) + 147.2 nm
5. Bertrand Delesne (754 – TeamWork Proto) + 178.4 nm