New leader in the Mini Transat
The Mini Transat has seen a change of leader. Italian Giancarlo Pedote (Prysmian), whose powerful 2011 race winning scow has ruled the roost since the start in Sada, has had his lead stolen by Benoît Marie (benoitmarie.com) on his 2007 generation Finot-Conq design.
Between the two leaders the race has a long way yet to run, but others can still hope. Rémi Fermin (Boreal) has now closed to within 60 miles from the Protos leaders despite being the furthest south from the great circle.
In the Series class, Aymeric Belloir (Tout le Monde chante contre le Cancer) is consolidating his lead, and on the water is the equivalent of fifth place in the Proto class. This morning he holds a 94 mile lead over second placed Justine Mettraux (Teamwork) having managed to maintain a speed 6% faster than his rivals. Mettraux is sticking to her guns and hanging on to her northerly route while over the last 24 hours Simon Koster (Go 4 It) has split from his female Swiss rival and dived south and at the latest sched had just gybed back.
Jean-Baptiste Lemaire (L’œuvre du Marin Breton) in fourth place is following a similar southerly route to Belloir.
Britain's Pip Hare (The Potting Shed) is currently in 20th place among the 34 remaining boats competing in the Series class.
The first boats should arrive at the finish in Guadeloupe between 1 and 2 December, but the route remains difficult. Around Thursday-Friday a shallow depression is forming right bang in the middle of the race track, in an abnormally south position causing a complete failure of the trade winds. So while the sailors in the south currently have the best conditions, in a few days time they could find themselves on the wind, whereas the favourable breeze will be in the north.
For now, those who bet on a southern route are reap dividends, but it may well be that the situation is reversed in the next two days. You have only to look at the routes of the soloists to see that no option ensures certainty.
Even now the trades are proving varaible. A message sent to Race Director, Benoît Parnaudeau, from one of the support boats, confirmed the very unstable conditions in the Atlantic, including squalls, with sudden holes in the wind on their periphery.
Latest sched here