by Matthew Thomas
It takes a lot of work and effort to push hard enough to gain back miles on the leader, especially in bad conditions and in a close boat race, but this is exactly what has happened overnight.
Phillippa Hutton-Squire and Pip Hare have clawed back 16 miles on the Class 40 leader, which is now ‘Le Conservateur’. For the leader, the westerlies have arrived and they have now gybed to the south. Phillippa and Pip will be in the westerlies in the next 12 hours and will then gybe to the southwest which will give us all a much better idea about how they’re doing in their fleet.
The Class 40 fleet is still tightly bunched together and while the lead has changed, the first 4 boats are all within 4 miles of each other. As the westerlies arrive, the sailors will all gybe to the southwest and we’ll get a much better idea of where everyone is.
For the Class 40’s, it looks like the wind will become more southerly as the approach Cape Finestere at the end of the Bay of Biscay. At that point, the high pressure ridge is expected to affect them, so the fleet will bunch up and the teams that get through quickly will take the lead.
Out at the front of the fleet, ‘Sodebo’ still leads, but the Ultime fleet has now entered a light air region caused by a high pressure ridge. Their speeds have slowed slightly and it is expected that the fleet will slowly start to bunch up.
There have been big changes in the IMOCA fleet, where they have all gybed to the south west and there has been a massive shift in positions with ‘Queguiner’ now leading the charge and yesterday’s leader now in 8th place.
‘Ciela Village’ is still leading the Multi 50 tri’s, but overnight, ‘French Tech Rennes Saint Malo’ collided with a container and damaged one of their floats and is now heading for Brest. Lionel Lemonchois and Roland Jourdain who were in the upturned ‘Prince de Bretagne’ have been rescued after triggering their EPIRB due to worsening weather condition.