MOD70 European Tour : Warming up, nothing in it
Tuesday, 11 September 2012
At approximately half way down the race course of Leg 2 of the MOD70 European Tour from Dun Laoghaire to Cascais, having sailed more than 550 miles since Sunday afternoon start, the MOD70 fleet remains very tightly spaced but it is still Yann Guichard’s Spindrift racing which holds a small lead of just 3.4 miles.
Last night saw the top four separated by less than two miles at one point, after the chasing pack closed miles in to the leader when the leader hit a nasty hole in the breeze which slowed them to nine knots while all of their main rivals were still making 20kts.
But after gybing early this morning, at around 0400hrs, as the wind rotated to the NE with around 15-18kts of breeze all of the top four were making 20-22kts boat speed and Guichard’s crew had extended again slightly. There is less than five miles between the top four in terms of distance to finish.
Some 175 miles NW of Cape Finisterre this morning Spindrift racing have FONCIA to their NE by some 3.7 miles but Yann Guichard, skipper of the leading boat, said that he was more concerned about Musandam-Oman Sail which is at the same latitude but which is some 12 miles to the west.
In view of the light winds expected Race Direction have changed the course. After passing in front of Cascais the MOD70 trimarans sail down to Cape Saint Vincent and were due to turn at Lagos but now the turn is at Sines some 50 miles to the south of the Tagus.
Though their progress was good, heading on a SE’ly course, the breeze was due to lighten after daybreak as they dig into the high pressure ridge which stands between them and the finish at the moment. Guichard said that they remain a little unsure as to whether they will be better sticking to the Portuguese coast or whether the offshore routing will prove better. Present ETA, according to Guichard is tomorrow afternoon.
“We gybed an hour and a half ago because the wind turned sharply to the right. Now we are getting into warmer waters and that is nice because I have the fleece off now. We don’t really know how it’s going to finish because there its very uncertain what the wind will do in terms of strength and direction over the next few hours. We have seen our rivals come back at us since yesterday afternoon. It’s all a bit tense on Spindrift racing.” Reported Yann Eliès on this morning’s call to the leader.
"We were twelve miles ahead of FONCIA but we fell into a wind hole and our speed dropped by five knots.” Reported Yann Guichard, “We were powerless because as well as the lighter winds, there was a sloppy sea: there was no more than than six to nine knots of breeze. Now we are close together and the four trimarans are all in a good fight to the finish. But the route is still long and there is not much wind ahead.” Continued Eliès.
Yann Guichard (FRA) Skipper, Spindrift racing: “The wind is in the North-East now but will go more E and soften quickly after sunrise. There are really two options, more land or more offshore. And that can make the difference for the finish. There will be areas of erratic pressure and so we took the chance to rest. We had only two people on deck at times yesterday to be ready and rested for this final stretch to Cascais.”
“With the course that we have, we can not finish until Wednesday afternoon or evening. This transition zone extends over a hundred miles and our progress will depend entirely on getting across it. There is Finisterre to negotiate and just now and currently there is no wind along the Portuguese coast: there are a lot of pitfalls on the road! Normally, the breeze will settle again tomorrow night but today is difficult ...”
“We are making between 20 and 23 knots, but it is difficult to go fast as the wind is very unstable and the helmsman has to work hard not to drive too low on the course and it is not easy because we have not much moon, but the sea, fortunately is beginning to calm flatten out.”
“Two boats are a bit downwind of us, offshore: they managed to get higher before the jibe and it allowed them to get outside. And Race for Water was handicapped by its technical problem which is a bit slowed, but it can come back at us today.”
“The wind will ease off at dawn turning towards the East-North-East but nothing is really safe. We'll have to get the balance right between taking risks and covering the opposition.”
Standings at 0430hrs UTC
1 Spindrift racing, EUR (Yann Guichard FRA) 673.3 miles to finish
2 Musandam-Oman Sail, OMA (Sidney Gavignet FRA) +3.7 miles
3 FONCIA, FRA (Michel Desjoyeaux FRA) +3.9 miles
4 Groupe Edmond de Rothschild FRA (Sébastien Josse FRA) + 4.6 miles
5 Race for Water SUI (Stève Ravussin SUI) +16.8 miles
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Last Updated ( Tuesday, 11 September 2012 )