Candy Islands – This Saturday, while the vast majority of them are sailing off the coast of Portugal, between Porto and Lisbon, and in the eastern part of a ridge, the 89 sailors still competing in the 24th edition of La Boulangère Mini Transat are progressing downwind, propelled by a north-northeast flow. This wind, which is currently blowing between 7 and 10 knots, is however expected to run out of steam in the evening, thus promising to significantly slow down the pace of the fleet. If this confirms the scenario anticipated yesterday, particularly for tomorrow, what changes, however, is next week’s menu. The unstable and evanescent light airs forecast should in fact give way to the famous Portuguese trade winds. Having been down for a few days, the latter seem well and truly determined to establish themselves again, and thus to (finally) open the Canary Islands highway to the Minists!
While all of the competitors in La Boulangère Mini Transat (except Franck Lauvray (346 – Alice), Alpha Eon Diakite (254 – 30 days at sea for our heroes) then Matthieu Sapin (958 – Assurinco – Urban Corail ) and Aurélien Dhervilly (429 – XFLR6 Cherche Propergol), authors of a pit-stop in Gijón) have now overflowed Cape Finisterre. They are now continuing their journey off the Portuguese coast, enjoying rather pleasant conditions. Bearing wind conditions, on seas which have clearly flattened and tidy in recent hours, which allow them to sail between 6 and 9 knots on average, on trajectories which are nevertheless relatively different. As proof, the peloton is spread out this Saturday over more than 130 miles sideways. And for good reason, everyone is looking for the best way to reach the south as quickly as possible, composing at best in the eastern part of a barometric ridge. Some are betting on a trajectory as close as possible to the coast, rightly hoping to take advantage of the thermal breeze this afternoon. Others prefer to stay further offshore. In this context, it is clearly appropriate to take some caution regarding the pointing, the sailors being positioned as close as possible to the great circle (direct route) logically having the advantage on the cartography. In fact, it cannot be excluded that the small band made up of Federico Waksman (1019 Repremar – Shipping Agency Uruguay), Marie Gendron (1050 – Léa Nature), Jacques Delcroix (753 – Actual), Carlos Manera Pascual (1081 – Xucla) and Julien Letissier (1069 – Frérots Branchet) is really the best placed among the Protos.
Increasingly significant gaps to expect
The following ? It looks to be a little tricky for the next 36 hours, with a wind that will lose intensity in the evening. Tomorrow’s day, in particular, should clearly be played in slow motion for all the solo sailors. On Monday, on the other hand, everyone will probably be subject to different regimes. The leaders should indeed benefit from an easterly flow after passing Cape Saint-Vincent, in the extension of the Strait of Gibraltar, while the others should battle upwind in a sluggish southwesterly flow. If this goes as announced, the gaps, already significant to the extent that nearly 270 miles separate the first from the last, should further increase, as confirmed by Christian Dumard, the weather consultant for the event. “ We can expect the fleet to stretch out in front but the good news is that on Tuesday, all the skippers should benefit from a north-easterly wind, the Portuguese trade winds having clearly decided to pick up again “. This is an important change for the end of the race of this first stage between Les Sables d’Olonne and Santa Cruz de La Palma. First of all, because this new weather scenario will finally offer sailors some great spinnaker slides. Then because the first arrivals in the Canaries are now scheduled for the night of Tuesday to Wednesday for the leading boats. Also note: Martin Oudet (871 – Overcoming Melanoma) reached the port of Baiona, in Galicia, this morning around 8:30 a.m. The Lorient resident indicated to Race Direction that he was facing an energy blackout. He is currently trying to find the source of the problem in order to resolve it and then resume his race. Remember that your stopover must last a minimum of 12 hours and a maximum of 72 hours.