Closing in on GDF Suez
The final boat to finish in the Transat Jacques Vabre's IMOCA 60 class is due to arrive later this morning in the form of popular Vendee Globe competitor Tanguy de Lamotte and François Damiens' Initiatives-Coeur. They have 48 miles to go at the latest sched. They are the only boat outside of the Class40s still to finish.
Behind them Sébastien Rogues and Fabien Delahaye on leader GDF Suez feeling a building threat from the second and third placed boats, Tales Santander 2014 sailed by Spaniards Alex Pella and Pablo Santurde and mare sailed by Jörg Riechers and Pierre Brasseur. The latter have closed from 64 and 81 miles behind the leaders respectively, down to 34 and 56 at the latest sched. However they are running out of race track as all three have now passed Cabo Frio and made the slight right hand turn towards Itajaí with GDF Suez now 367 mile from the line. As the chasers close on the lead so the conditions experienced by the boats evens out and at present they are still enjoying 20 knots from the NNE. However conditions will get tricky from here with a front forming which they will have to cross directly off Itajaí. Once through this final hurdle, the boats will be into solid southeasterlies to take them to the line.
Yesterday Sebastien Rogues reported: “It’s a bit quieter right now, we are getting down to the south more and so it is cooler again. We keep watching the files and preparing our strategies. There is a little front to pass at Cabo Frio and then we will get back into wind, nothing exceptional. The Spanish are going great when you watch them. This is a great boat for this kind of Transatlantic but downwind and reaching I don’t think there is much difference. There is a small area of light winds and that can be the difference, but by Saturday night we will be in port."
Behind Christof Petter and Andreas Hanakamp on their new Humphreys design Vaquita have overhauled Damien Seguin and Yoann Richomme on ERDF-Des Pieds et des Mains, moving them up to 7th place. Vaquita has put on almost 40 miles on ninth placed Halvard Mabire and Miranda Merron on Campagne de France, suffering from having blown out a kite.
Having stopped in Recife to repair their mainsail on Tuesday, Mike Gascoyne and Brian Thompson on Caterham Challenge have pulled up a place and are now into 15th. Gascoyne said yesterday that their target is to get back to 11th, or better.