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Québec - St Malo

Desjoyeaux leads the 60’ multihull fleet when arriving in Atlantic

New Stretch of Water, New Race ?

mardi 13 juillet 2004Redaction SSS [Source RP]

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After 48 hours the majority of the twelve Orma multihulls have left the Madeleine Islands, in the middle of the bay of Saint Laurent, to port and should make it out into the North Atlantic this evening, European time. The leaders, 10 of which are within sight of each other, were making an average of 25 to 30 knots in around 20 knots of well-established wind at lunch time. By 1430 GMT however they had around 7 knots of south-easterly with a wind shift due in from the south-west later in the day, increasing to 15 knots. • Groupama is unofficially making for the island of Saint Pierre et Miquelon, 150 miles away, to make repairs after hitting a creature in the river whilst making 28 knots. It has broken its central port rudder but has a spare aboard which will require a simple pitstop because of their current point of sail with the damage downwind.. • Yves Parlier’s Hydraplaneur is clearly having problems in the conditions dished up by the Saint Laurent. It still has to pass the last mark in the river (Percé) and has even been outpaced by 2 of the Class 2 multis with the 50 ft monos on the warpath. • The expected wind shift crept in from the back of the fleet finally enabling yesterday’s backrunners to make great gains. The leading 11 multihulls are spread out at fairly regular intervals across a 50 mile zone. • A bitterly disappointed GIFI had a shocker in the Class 2 multihull fleet - caught within the clutches of a local calm that has even let some of the 50ft monohull slink past on a vein of wind just 2 or 3 hundred metres away. During the day it has made up good ground however, just behind Nootka (Officially known as Bonjour Québec). •"We learnt at 1600 GMT that TIM also broke a rudder yesterday night when it hit an animal".

Photo : B.Stichelbaut

"Erratic" conditions have created havoc throughout the fleet in the Transat Quebec Saint Malo. Géant is the new leader this afternoon at 1300 GMT with 1.1 miles on the injured Groupama which has nonetheless escaped the calms and continues to make 9.4 knots of boat speed. The 100% Italian team, Tim Progetto Italia is really right in the match, on a level pegging with Groupama making 3 knots more boat speed. Clearly they must ecstatic onboard after some rather mediocre performances in the past. Foncia seems to be turning its luck around too in fourth on a unique course heading towards Cape Breton island, with Sergio Tacchini down to 5th nearly five miles off the pace.

Crew and 60 foot monohull sailor Vincent Riou aboard today’s new leader, Géant, was particularly animated. "We passed the Madeleine islands two hours ago. We’ve got 20 knots of southerly. We’re going fast and really enjoying ourselves, sailing under solent and full main making 30 knots on flat seas. The conditions are superb and we’re flying both hulls, upright on the leeward foil. Behind are Groupama and Sergio Tacchini. We saw Banque Covefi, Foncia and Gitana XI so it’s fairly grouped with a permanent regatta feel since the start. The acceleration is something else and we’ve almost always had some wind. We expect to pass Saint Pierre et Miquelon at the end of the day. As regards the weather it doesn’t look likely to be a very complicated passage. We’ll pass north of the zone of the Azores High. The conditions are not extreme but they are interesting. A westerly wind will make the pace pretty quick in the Atlantic," now fast approaching.

As regards damage across the fleet, Groupama is likely to moor out at sea in the shelter of one of the bays of Saint Pierre et Miquelon. It is planned that a member of the crew will have to go into the water to replace the damaged port rudder without exterior assistance. If this is the case then it will not be considered as an official pitstop. The island is virtually on the exit route into the Atlantic.

Gitana X apparently hit something yesterday but did not suffer damage. Victims of broken battens at the start of the race, Banque Populaire and Sodebo have made great gains during the day after benefiting from a wind shift that surprisingly kicked in from the back of the fleet, propelling the backrunners up the rankings and back into play. As a result Banque Covefi in particular has really shot into touch, now just 5.1 miles from the leader, much to the amusement of an entertaining Stève Ravussin.

Franck-Yves Escoffier on Crêpes Whaou ! has seen his lead shrink away to just 1.8 miles during the day with Jean Stalaven, and Nootka (officially known as Bonjour Quebec !) completing the podium. The 50 ft multihull fleet GIFI has dropped back a shocking 54 miles from the leader after turning round and round on itself in a windless zone last night with some of the 50 ft monos stealing by on a vein of breeze just 2 or 300m away.

Meanwhile, Ciment St-Laurent has smoked into the lead of the 50 foot Monos, 7.4 miles ahead of the originally pole-positioned Marina Fort Louis Ile de Saint Martin, with Branec III just 0.1 miles behind.

Towards those at the rear of the fleet a depression is due to come in from the west with easterly winds. This may mean that the leading 60 footers will lose some of their advance as they have to negociate a zone of high pressure. With a 236.4 mile deficit, Yves Parlier on Médiatis-Région Aquitaine, can but hope for the concertina effects to benefit them. "We’re currently tacking along the coast of Gaspésie. We haven’t had much luck as the wind has been fully aft while the ideal point of sail for the boat is a reach. We’re trying to keep our spirits up and to reflect on the weather conditions which look particularly interesting," as will tomorrow’s rankings no doubt...

Written by Kate Jennings

Voir en ligne :

• Classement à 15 heures

Multicoques Orma : 1. Géant (à 2334,1 milles de l’arrivée) ; 2. Groupama (à 1,1 milles du leader) ; 3. Tim Progretto Italia (à 1,1 milles du leader)

Multicoques Classe 2 : 1. Crêpes Whaou ! (à 2539,2 milles de l’arrivée) ; 2. Jean Stalaven (à 1,8 milles du leader) ; 3. Nootka (à 5,1 milles du leader)

Monocoques Classe 2 : 1. Ciment Saint-Laurent (à 2739,6 milles) ; 2. Marina Fort Louis-Ile de Saint Martin (à 7,4 milles du leader) ; 3. Branec III (à 7,5 milles du leader)

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