With less than 250 miles sailed in 44 hours this morning, the 45 Class40s participating in the 15th Transat Jacques Vabre are reduced to begging, begging the wind to give them a few light breezes, and begging Neptune to put an end to the power of the currents that are forcing the duos to go backwards countless times from the tip of the Cotentin peninsula, and forcing them to draw incredible arabesques on a perfectly still stretch of water.
From the Héaux de Bréhat to the Iroise Sea, the Class40 fleet is languishing in desperate search of the slightest wind. The Normans Nicolas Jossier and Alexis Loison (La Manche#Evidence nautique) are entering the Atlantic thanks to a nice economy of maneuvers and backward steps, at least in comparison with some competitors. After the pebbles of the Côtes d'Armor, they are now passing the beaches of Finistère this morning, with some of the favourites of the event in their wake, including Ian Lipinski and Julien Pulvé (Crédit Mutuel) and Axel Tréhin and Frédéric Denis (Project Rescue Ocean), who have managed to get out of the Channel. Of course the gaps are small but the fleet is stretching this morning from the island of Batz to the Crozon peninsula. The courses are getting tighter, thanks to a light westerly breeze, which the duos are immediately taking advantage of to progress due south. The bill for the latecomers, and we think of Morgane Ursault-Poupon and Julia Virat (UP SAILING Unis pour la planète) and Clara Fortin and Martin Louchard (Randstad-Ausy) still struggling with the currents west of Batz, could increase by the hour.
The Bay of Biscay, still blocked by the high pressure, should become more lively by mid-day under the effect of the SSE flow. In this perspective, the fleet will remain as close as possible to the coast of Brittany, taking advantage of favorable currents to pass through the Raz de Sein, before heading off on port tack towards Cape Finisterre, and really launching this exceptionally strange Transat Jacques Vabre.
What if Polkat Dot?
The American Alex Mehran and the British naval architect Merfyn Owen (Polka Dot) are, for the moment, the only crew of the whole fleet, all classes included, to tempt fate by passing north of the DST of Ushant. The routings indicate the existence of a tiny hole in the west, which the two men seem to be inclined to seek out, by facing the front circulating on the distant Atlantic with gusto and upwind sailing. An extremely bold move to be observed over the next few hours, and the results of which will not be seen until next night, or even tomorrow morning....
The crew of the day : Clara Fortin and Martin Louchard (Ranstad-Ausy) stopped overnight for 4 hours in Roscoff to fix an electronic problem.
Performance of the day : Equipe Voile Parkinson - Florian Gueguen - Raphael Auffret. Back in the currents of the Raz Blanchard after an speedy stop in Cherbourg, Florian and Raphael managed to get back to the rear of the fleet last night. This morning, they appeared in 41st place.
"We had broken our bowsprit, which allows us to send our spinnaker, during the tack to Etretat. It broke in two. Without this part, we can not consider continuing the race. Our whole team worked hard all night to get the part in Lorient. Everything is back in order. The goal for us is to go back hunting."
Banque du Léman, Valentin Gautjier - Simon Koster : " Amazing sailing (Laughs). Not easy to sail upwind in less than 10 knots, with our hulls built for speed; we sailed well at the start! Less good night with knitting in the currents. We are fighting to stay in contact."
Sébastien Audigane, Entrepreneurspour la Planète "Well, we are not dumb as a post, but to tell you the truth, since the start we have not had much time to write to you and hardly any time to sleep... In short, after a night of "shit" in no wind and current, it's the same for everyone, we're not giving up. There will be other reversals. »
Gwen Gbick, HBF Reforestation : "I'm picking up some salad for lunch! It looks like there is some seaweed in the rudders.... "