First Class40s due tomorrow morning
The elastic is extending again in favour of the Class40 leaders in the Transat Jacques Vabre with Sébastien Rogues and Fabien Delahaye on GDF Suez now back up to 53 miles ahead of second placed Tales Santander 2014, sailed by Spaniards Alex Pella and Pablo Santurde, the former now having just 144 miles to go until she reaches the finish line in Itajaí. They have extended from 34 miles in front yesterday morning.
Part of the reason for GDF Suez losing miles was revealed yesterday afternoon. Rogues explained: “We tore two of our three spinnakers. We exploded them one after another in the Doldrums. That was a real blow to our morale. We tried to repair them with what we had on board during the descent of the South Atlantic but to no avail. The first time it held for about two hours but then the winds were too much. As you can see from the tracking our lead has melted like snow in the sun. We are battling the best that we can not to lose the miles, to sail the optimum route, to find a way to stay ahead in the race. The boat has suffered, we broke a lot of things, which we have fixed the best we could. The weather for the 300 miles from the finish line is very complicated, we can see light winds which are unstable in strength and direction."
Over the early hours of this morning the lead trio of Class40s have been negotiating a front lying on a NNW-SSE axis midway between Rio and Itajaí. At the 0330 sched the speed of Tales Santander 2014 and third placed mare of Jörg Riechers and Pierre Brasseur were down to 2.9 and 4.3 knots respectively, before emerging into light southeasterlies.
At her present speed, GDF Suez will finish in the early hours of tomorrow morning.
Behind the lead three, the next wave is just rounding Cabo Frio at the latest sched, making good progress as they gybe downwind in the slowly backing northeasterlies.