Video courtesy Transat Jacques Vabre.
Atlantic Ocean – The two leading Multi 50s continue their duel down the Brazilian coast in steady E’ly trade winds on what is presently just a straightforward head to head boatspeed contest. They have no real strategic options ahead until Cabo Frio at the entrance to the Bay of Rio. They should pass the entrance to Salvador de Bahia today in just a little over 12 days which will stand up well against the 2005 mark set by Franck Yves Escoffier of 12 days and 6 hours 14 minutes.
FenêtréA Cardinal (Le Roux-Elies) and Actual (Le Blévec-de Pavant) remain in close contact with some 25 miles separating this closely matched leading duo.
IMOCA Open 60 Straight and narrow
It is one long straight for the IMOCA Open 60 monohulls, the leaders having crossed the Equator last night. Just as the feedback from the pre-race training sessions for the Famous Five at Port La Foret indicated, it seems Macif find a sweet spot at times and are simply quicker. From being a matter of half a mile to a mile away from PRB (Riou-Le Cam) yesterday Francois Gabart and Michel Desjoyeaux have been able to climb steadily away in the trade winds, opening the gap to over 12 miles this morning, the Vendée Globe winning duo sailing almost a knot faster than Riou and Le Cam as they passed the Fernando de Noronha island group. Presently they are just around one day behind the leading Multi 50s. As their SEly trade winds back E then they should accelerate still further away from the boats behind them.
Italian Vendée Globe skipper Alessandro de Benedetto was on typically excellent form when he spoke to Race HQ in Itajaí from his trusty Team Plastique. He and his co-skipper Alberto Monaco are enjoying their race against their friends on Energa and Initiative Coeur: “It is a sunny day and we are taking the advantage to be at the helm all the time, to exploit our capacity to sail faster than the autopilot. Energa are a faster boat and it is difficult to keep them behind us, Magic and Gutek are faster, and so is Initiatives Couer. So we are really taking this chance to always be at the helm and push. It will not be easy to stay ahead of them, but we will try and do out best.”
The Polish duo Magic and Gutek on Energa were tidying up after an encounter with an unspecified sea mammal or big fish, lying just five miles behind the Italians on Team Plastique. Gutek reported: “After our collision with a with UFO we seem to be all OK after our keel inspection. We washed out all the blood from cockpit. After an inspection with the GoPro we’re sure the keel is OK, no traces of yesterday’s collision. Huge relief… Fish are flying like crazy, but only at night. Temperature – hot!!! Very hot! We wish we’d like some good lightwind sails, but for now we need to go with what we have.”
Class 40 If Opportunity Knocks
In Class 40 Jorg Riechers and Pierre Brasseur on second placed Mare are waiting for the Doldrums for their chance to pounce on long time leaders GDF Suez, sailed by Sébastien Rogues and Fabien Delahaye. “Everything is good on board, we are in good shape and the wind is building, we should catch up some miles on GDF Suez soon. I still have some pain in my back with the bruising I got when I fell during the first night out from Roscoff. It will pass.” Riechers said today “And looking at the Doldrums we can certainly see an option. We have an idea of what we are going to do but we are not saying what.”
Class 40 are still in the NE’ly trade winds passed or passing the Cape Verde islands, most at least 80 miles to the west. Only Phoenix (Duke – Alran) passed through the islands without losing out too much. But now the target seems to be 29 W for the most favourable passage which is good for those in the west but those to the east will have to run deeper and slower or maybe make two gybes to get down. So that is the choice for the chasing pack but the leaders seem to have it taped,
Philippe Legros, co-skipper Cheminees Poujoulat: “Congratulations to the MOD70s. They were fast. I sailed with Roland Jourdain at first and they are really fantastic boats. I congratulate them for their performance. Our boat is going well but we are bit down after the Doldrums option which sees us feeling it now, trying to pick up the pieces, to keep getting the rankings and be going backwards, but we are happy to be here and keep attacking. In front of us there is a long, straight line of 1000 miles but after that there is a Cabo Frio where there might be some options, a few potholes perhaps and after that still three or four hundred miles of coast. The Multi 50s have chosen to stay near the coast, but the weather files change , it is not really clear whether it will be as good an option for us when we get there. The gap to Macif? Well I’d love to say that we can catch up, but in fact we are not really seeing it as possible right now. But nothing is wrong with the boat, it works perfectly, and so there is no reason not to continue to push very hard.”
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