MOD70 European Tour : Musandam-Oman mastering the Med
Saturday, 22 September 2012
After leading the MOD70 fleet from the Atlantic for its first passage yet into the Mediterranean Sea, passing the longitude of Tarifa yesterday evening at around 1730hrs UTC, Sidney Gavignet and the crew of Musandam-Oman Sail are pushing into the western Alboran Sea this morning with their leading margin at a healthy 14.3 miles.
As the MOD70 European Tour bid farewell to the Atlantic, the passage through the Strait of Gibraltar – one of the busiest shipping lanes in Europe – was a complex one with very light breezes and strong contrary currents. That combination is proving a taxing one in particular for Spindrift racing and Groupe Edmond de Rothschild early this morning. On the 0330hrs UTC position report they were both polled making less than one knot, some eighteen miles to the east of Gibraltar towards the Spanish mainland.
Their deficit to the leaders was at 46 and 49 miles and was continuing to grow as Musandam-Oman Sail punched east at 8 knots boat speed this morning.
“We feel better here, in the lead, than 40 miles behind, but in these flukey winds, each position report is stressful. Stress is useless, what can we do if we fall in a “hole of no wind”?!” skipper Sidney Gavignet noted this morning.
And from on board Brian Thompson also wrote last night: “Today provided some memorable sailing as we tacked up the Spanish coast towards Tarifa, flat seas, 20knots of wind and great scenery. At one beach we tacked just to windward of about 100 kitesurfers, their kites darting across the blue skies like butterflies.”
It has been a relatively profitable night too for Michel Desjoyeaux and the team on FONCIA. The overall leaders of the MOD70 European Tour lie third but have made a steady inroad into their deficit to second placed Race for Water, now less than one mile behind.
The scenario might be a ‘rich get richer’ one for the leaders as they approach the western fringe of a system centred to the west of the Balearics which will generate slightly more wind. Gavignet noting that they anticipate a SW’ly flow to get to them first.
On the morning radio vacation call to the leader from Race HQ in Marseille, where the fleet should finish, Gavignet explained: “There is not a lot of wind but some seas so the rig is moving around a lot in all directions. We have our main and gennaker set (he does not say what wind). Last night I had one watch where we ended up gybing because we had no speed whatsoever and gybing got our back to the waves to get a little push. We had one little episode with a ship, which was right close to us. I even asked we start the engine but we did not need it.
It has been light with more wind than waves and so it was not so pleasant with the rig moving around. It is hard to trim the sails. But now we see Brian is back and we are making 10 knots, 11.1 being the record for the night. Of course it is nice to be at the front but at the same time you worry about falling into a hole, and each sched report is stressful waiting to see what has happened.
According to Jeff (Cuzon, navigator) the wind will pick up in the day and will come from the SW and for us that should be good because it will fill down from the north and we will be downwind of the fleet.
Brian is at the helm, Khamis on deck asleep on the forward net. Jeff and Fahad are in the bunks and Thomas Le Breton is eating.
So we are happy, we have the feeling we have good speed in the light winds. We made some good manoeuvres, Jeff as taken us on a good route and so spirits are good on board. Since passing Gibraltar we have had everyone on deck, missing some sleep so we will take today to catch up. Jeff is even more sleep deprived because there has been so much navigation.”
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Last Updated ( Saturday, 22 September 2012 )