After the incredible "marasmic" episode of the first three days of racing, and with the return of the wind from the East, the 45 Class40s still racing have, for the most part, regained speeds and performances in line with their capabilities, and have resumed a course in line with the demands of the competition. And in this context of "normality", the big guns, the big names, the favorites have been eager to show their nose, often rounded ones, to the front. Approaching Cape Finisterre and its tricky Traffic Separation Scheme cluttered with cargo ships, the Normans Alexis Loison and Nicolas Jossier continue to delight their supporters, led by their coach Benoit Charron. They are leading the way ahead of all the favorites, and there are many of them in this highly competitive Class40. We find the "big names" Berry-Nebout (Lamotte Module Création), Le Roch - Quiroga (Edenred), Gerkens-Hantzperg (Volvo) and the Swiss duo Gautier-Koster (Banque du Léman) grouped together within fifteen miles. Axel Tréhin and Frédéric Denis, who made one of the best progresses of the night, have brought their Project Rescue Ocean from 30th to 6th place. As one can see, the big guys are hard at play to tackle the tricky descent along Portugal and take advantage of this narrow corridor of wind surrounded by high pressure off the Iberian Peninsula. It's time for the big dance and the waltz of gybes under spinnaker!
With the return to the forefront of the potentially fastest boats in the fleet, we are once again praising the fine performance of the older boats Tquila (Richardson-Thompson - 2014) and Milai (Beaugé-Suzuki - 2011), which we did not expect to see at this stage of the race. We can also see the pride of the fast boats that have been trapped for too long by the calms at the tip of Finistère, and which are now putting a lot of energy into their machines to get back in touch with the leaders. Redman (Carpentier - Santurde), Crosscall (Ducroz -Sineau) and Crédit Mutuel (Lipinski-Pulvé) are not fooling around but are doing what is necessary, at an average speed of 12 or 13 knots on the road, to come and play with their little comrades at the front. The leaders of the fleet are now teasing the latecomers in the Imoca Class.
While the majority of the fleet is enjoying some nice slips under spinnaker and on flat seas, there are still a number of them who are not enjoying these privileges. From Entrepreneurs pour la planète (Audigane-Jambou), 30th this morning to Rennes Saint Malo Rêves (Hugin-Bachmann) 44th, they are still struggling to get out of the vast tongue of high pressure which, at the rear of the fleet of this Transat Jacques Vabre, is still languishing across the Bay of Biscay. Finally, a word about the western breakaways. The American-British tandem Mehran-Owen (Polka Dot), the only boat in the whole fleet, including multihulls, to have crossed to the other side of the ridge of high pressure, is struggling to put its option into practice. Positioned 27th this morning, the duo is facing the edge of a strong oceanic low, for the smallest gain in approach of the whole fleet, with only 195 miles covered in the last 24 hours.
Performance of the day : Project Rescue Ocean (Axel Tréhin-Frédéric Denis) 244 miles covered in 24 hours, at an average of nearly 11 knots, and a stunning comeback from 30th to 6th place.
The duo of the day: Improbable, and so endearing, the duo of the Norman Calliste Antoine and the Croatian alpine ski champion Ivica Kostelic (Croatia full of life), author of an excellent start of the race; " We are proud of our performance so far. Being in the top 12 after 4 days of racing in the Transat Jacques Vabre is beyond our expectations »
Quotes of the day :
Luke Berry - Lamotte Module Creation
"Hello. We are hoping for some northerly winds with the Portuguese trade winds to come down after Cape Finistere. Otherwise, it's a bit cool at night but it's ok. We ate well, we were able to start doing real watches and try to recover a little from these first days of racing. We saw lots of marine animals, dolphins, tuna and even a whale."
Antoine Carpentier - Redman
"It's good not to hear the sails flapping for lack of pressure... it was hard to see the competitors from the west take off at the same time as us, but we're not going to complain. The Bay of Biscay will have passed quickly and this, in an absolute comfort, we did not even put the oilskins, not a drop on the deck, nor of rain. Only happiness. We can see that the Manuard plans have done the housework well, it must be said that, even if the swell was quite big, the angle that we had with the waves was not embarrassing for beautiful accelerations without planting the bow at the bottom of the surf ... The dolphins left us when the wind returned. On the sporting side, we are hanging on even if the leaders are still far away, the sea seems to be smoothing out a bit, the wind remains quite unstable in strength and direction, which makes sailing demanding: we have to constantly change the settings of the sails and the pilot to stay fast."
Manu Le Roch -Edenred
"Hello! Soon the Finisterre Cape is approaching! Nice day on board Edenred. Initially unstable, the wind has gradually settled in, giving us our first nice slides! We are delighted to be back at double-digit speeds! We crossed the Imoca group Setin this morning, which makes us say that our Class 40 are really fast! It's great to see the rankings, it gives us a boost! See you soon!"
Mathieu Crépel - Everial
"We started to touch the wind heir dan sua day. Nice night. We slid well under spinnaker at the beginning with 10-15 knots of wind that started to turn a little. We went back under gennaker. We are making good progress. Stan still hasn't opened any packages of candy, a good indicator of the atmosphere. We hope to pass Cape Finisterre during the day, so that we can deal with the daytime freighters... "