Slowly, but surely, with 600 miles to go and after nearly three weeks of racing, the situation at the head of the group of 43 Class40s in the race is beginning to settle down. The historical leader of the event, Redman, with the Franco-Spanish duo Antoine Carpentier - Pablo Santurde, has not been able to widen the gap, but has managed to sail in a position of control, well positioned between the mark and his pursuers.
To overtake him, the latter have to lengthen their route, in a trade wind that is still soft and capricious, not very conducive to beautiful surfs. It's still a tough battle just thirty miles from the leader! See by yourself. From the second place, the amazing Havro-Havrais crew of Seafrigo-Sogestran Chateau - Mion, to the 11th place, the girls of La Boulangère Bio Amélie Grassi and Marie Riou, there is only a fifty miles gap. Ten boats are still in a position to fight for the podium, including at least 6, Banque du Léman (Gautier - Koster), Volvo (Gerckens - Hantzperg), Lamotte Module Création (Berry - Nebout), LaManche#EvidenceNautique (Jossier - Loison) and Edenred (Le Roch - Quiroga), always in capacity to exploit the slightest failure of the leading men. Of the big favourites, all of them are there, except maybe Crédit Mutuel (Lipinski -Pulvé), penalized by their damaged keel since the collision with a UFO.
The messages from the boats attest to the fact that all the crews want to finish this interminable transatlantic race. Fatigue, water and food restrictions for many, intense heat, unstable trade winds, sargassum... the litany of worries is wearing down their bodies and minds. Of course, the wind and sea conditions are peaceful, but they require the sailors to be all the more diligent as the gains on the road are made on details, micro-adjustments, and a concentration that is increasingly difficult to control after nearly 4,000 miles of incessant struggle, as the density of the fleet, in number as well as in quality, has pushed the crews to outdo themselves since the first minute of the race.
The intensity of the race, the shifting trade winds and the gaps of more than 1,000 miles between the leader Redman and the last one, Terre Exotique (Guiguen - Pinson) have insidiously split the pack into three increasingly distinct groups. The leading group includes this morning 17 boats, including Croatia Full of Life (Kostelic - Antoine). 50 miles behind the Croatian boat, a dozen boats where we want to include Entrepreneurs for the Planet of Sébastien Audigane and François Jambou, still clinging to their 29th place, and fighting to stay in contact with this group. The Kervarrec family, Simon and Yannick (Samsic E.Leclerc) are leading the rear guard, 14 Class40s perfectly in their race, where each crew is living the adventure to the fullest, the unique maritime experience and this sailor's life entirely dedicated to the smooth running of the ship, to the harmony between man and machine, in the contemplation and admiration of an exclusive, rare, unique environment, and its ocean languor ....
Enguerrand's Fun facts - Exploring Tech for Good
⁃ We continue to play little games of yams in the downtime :) 3-0 for Victor :-/
⁃ Still not seen any trade winds
⁃ It's been exactly 15 days that we sail under spinnaker!!! Unbelievable why we are carrying the other sails?
⁃ A nice peak at 13.1 knots in the afternoon!!!
⁃ On the menu tonight : Tartiflette !
Quotes of the day :
Morgane Ursault-Poupon - UPSAILING Unis pour la planète
"Long night under the clouds or bipolarity of wandering mood. Tonight, it is Orion who shows us the way. The constellation brightens up the sky darkened by large dark masses. The wind is weak, the boat too. Fortunately the sea is beautiful. Tonight my mood wavers like the waves. Sometimes in the hollow in full spleen, sometimes at the top in full form. Melancholy takes hold of me in view of our position. I say to myself that we do not deserve to be where we are now, that it is not fair and that we should be ten places in front... I hope that our "South" option will pay off... That's what ocean racing is all about, it's a mixture of strong emotions, from the most difficult to the most pleasant. There are moments of rage, anger and sadness. Then, in the space of a moment, we put things into perspective, we tell ourselves that we are really lucky to live such adventures. After a small drop in morale, you have to pull yourself together. It should not last, it should not spoil such magical moments, suspended in time. This race is beautiful and whatever happens, we must fight until the end to not regret anything. We raise our heads, we remain proud and dignified, we remain concentrated. This is what is powerful in the competitions we live, it is this intensity of emotions that overwhelm us. Everything is relative, the strength of the mind is exciting."
Calliste Antoine - Croatia Full of Life
"All day under pilot, too much sun outside, the inside of the boat was a real oven. After 3pm, it was a real relief! The sun is on the other side of the sails. We can finally go out! Ivica has opened the last block of meat which in fact is only fat, a big block of fat, he eats it in slice with raw garlic "that's good energy you know! yes but no way thank you! especially by 40°, my stomach is not strong enough for that!"
Antoine Carpentier - Redman
"We were sailing in the same wind conditions as the others this morning and then, at around 12:00 GMT, the wind eased off, we went from 14 knots of wind to 12, then 10, then 8 knots, with 7 knots of wind from time to time. Whereas 50 miles behind they posted the same speeds as in the morning! And now, it hurts, we saw our lead go from 50 miles to 38 in less than 6 hours ... it makes you think well for those who think the game is over ... We have an ideal control position, the chasing group is in our axis, if they want to overtake us, they have to pass us or make a huge detour, so at some point they will have the same wind as us... "
Jean Galfione - Serenis Consulting
"We've just come back from the Devil's Eye. We had a tricky phase where our morale was at zero. We fell behind quite a bit, but we got our act together and today we're in a decent position. We obviously don't intend to stop there. We are letting go of the horses even if, for the time being, there are no tactical moves to make. We are continuing to claw back miles even if the competitors who remain ahead are also the fastest in the pack. The fact that we are back on the leading group gives us hope. Every hour, we are analysing the position reports of our competitors. We are in it. We don't skimp on the gearing. We're constantly adjusting and we're constantly fighting with the seaweed."
Anne Beaugé - Milai
"823 miles, it's starting to feel a little bit like the finish! I'm starting to think about the mosquito bites to come, the noise of the frogs at night, the laughter with my friends... I saw on a photo that Gilles Lamiré and Yvan Bourgnon had fresh coconuts with a straw at the finish, we will have coconuts too?"
Amélie Grassi - La Boulangère Bio
We are now 3 days from the finish, the ETA is becoming clearer. For me, the end of the race is always accompanied by contradictory feelings, between the desire to arrive as quickly as possible in order to win places and meet up with our loved ones, and the anxiety of finishing a pleasant journey to return to the daily life on earth. Besides these personal questions, the race is in full swing. We are clinging on to the leading group and we are making sure we never lose our rhythm, with the firm intention of playing every possible move to regain a few places. We are rested, serene and concentrated. I'm delighted with the positive state of mind we've been able to maintain up to now, which should be a strength for the final decisive moments of this Transat Jacques Vabre."