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Québec - St Malo

Fauconnier and Soldini first to round Cap Race

Top ten Orma multihulls were grouped into a 60 mile zone

mercredi 14 juillet 2004Redaction SSS [Source RP]

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At the 1300 GMT ranking the top ten Orma multihulls were grouped into a 60 mile zone and the leaders have made a hard left at Cape Race to the south-east of Newfoundland with Sergio Tacchini and Tim Progetto Italia first to begin the cold and wet ascent of the Atlantic. Crew on Sodebo, including French sailor Loick Peyron and American, Cam Lewis, are third on Sodebo. The most significant development today is Sergio Tacchini’s two-staged escape, greatly admired throughout the fleet (Helm- Brian Thompson, Nav- Damian Foxall) 

 The leaders were making 12 to 16 knots in 10/15 knots of south-westerly at lunch time today GMT, reaching under full main and gennaker on a starboard tack in the chilly waters of the Labrador. The boats picking their way through the fog and the fishing boats on the approach to an ice field and the Azores high. 

 By 1300 GMT the first six had gybed onto a port tack and if they manage to stay above the high pressure zone they should have at least 15 knots of west south-westerly. At this stage it looks likely to take around 4 days to cross over to the Fastnet and for the time being there are no great options to be played, it is simply going to be down to pure speed.

 250 miles back down the fleet conditions are vastly different with leader of the 50 foot multihull fleet, Crêpes Whaou ! close-hauled tacking in 18/20 knots of wind.

 Groupama is back up into 9th place after a rapid 180 minute pitstop on the welcoming shores of Saint-Pierre. The port rudder was quickly replaced followed by the more complex job of repairing a leak in the aft port float.

Groupama au passage de la Roche Percée à la sortie du St Laurent
Photo Welcome On Board pour Groupama

After cutting their way through the fog and darkness enveloping Saint Pierre et Miquelon at around 0400 GMT, Sergio Tacchini were continuing to stretch out a lead in the Orma fleet with 18.2 miles on Tim Progetto Italia and 30.1 miles on Sodebo at the 1300 GMT ranking. Their escape, much admired and undoubtedly much envied by the remainder of the fleet, has been the main news today along with Groupama’s rapid return to the race after a Grand Prix style pitstop.

“We sailed well” said a happy but realistic Karine Fauconnier. “We worked pretty hard on the sail trimming and changing and for once the wind filled in from the front. It’s not over yet though. We’re still heading towards an area of high pressure and there’s no real depression that is tracking its way across the Atlantic. Conditions are lighter than normal but things are going really well aboard. Brian Thompson (UK) is a bit too big for the bunk and I think my boat’s a bit too small for him, but he seems to manage to fold himself in four ! The rhythm of the Saint Laurent was pretty frantic and I regret not seeing Saint-Pierre. We couldn’t see any lights at all so we only witnessed it on the radar but you could smell the land. It smelt like smoke from a fire, maybe peat if they have that there. You could feel the heat of the land too. For the next part of the race we’re not expecting much wind, just a bit of downwind. The big decision is when to gybe later today. We’re getting into the very cold Labrador current and that mixed with the south-westerlies creates this thick fog. Fortunately the icebergs and growlers should have melted considerably since our passage in The Transat so we’re not too worried about that.”

Nearly a hundred miles down the fleet, weathered sailor and journalist, Nicholas Raynaud on Gitana X spoke of having “passed from summer into winter overnight. It’s cold and I can’t see a thing”. Clearly the main preoccupation of the crews as they take a hard left under Newfoundland is going to be the surveillance of growlers and the negotiation of the Azores high which is currently blocking the way.

The general consensus throughout the fleet is for a northerly avoidance course, with perhaps the exception of Groupama. They have a few additional considerations after a lightening pitstop at 0700 hours local time in Saint-Pierre. Franck Cammas and his crew were able to head back into the race after a 2 hour 30 minute pitstop. After changing the rudder the most complicated operation was to plug the crack in the transom (which had lead to a leak). “We had to cut out a little hole with a jigsaw to access the float and make the transom watertight again with strapping and sikaflex ! It’s in the lap of the Gods now but our time deficit may necessitate a different course than the others because of the timing with our passage of the ridge of high pressure.” Groupama is currently making 12 knots in 9th position, hammering their way under Newfoundland in hot pursuit of the leading group, eager to keep in the same weather system.

The game plan aboard Yves Parlier’s revolutionary Médiatis-Région Aquitaine is also going to needsome serious reflection. Despite some huge variations in its deficit on the leaders due to a bug in the rankings today, the picture is still rather pessimistic at this stage with 214 miles to make up...

At the rear of the fleet though the fog remains a common denominator, the sailing conditions could not be more different. Franck Yves Escoffier has reinforced his lead in the 50’ multis and is tacking in 25 knots of south-easterly, a situation he reckons will remain the same for another three days. He is probably suffering the effects of a depression further to the south, which is likely to be the case for the 50 foot monohulls too, still headed by Georges Leblanc.

Written by Kate Jennings

Voir en ligne :

• Classements à 15 heures

Multicoques Orma : 1. Sergio Tacchini (à 2004,9 milles de l’arrivée) ; 2. Tim Progretto Italia (à 18,2 milles du leader) ; 3. Sodebo (à 30,1 milles du leader)

Multicoques Classe 2 : 1. Crêpes Whaou ! (à 2539,2 milles de l’arrivée) ; 2. Bonjour Québec (à 13,8 milles du leader) ; 3. Jean Stalaven (à 25,8 milles du leader)

Monocoques Classe 2 : 1. Ciment Saint-Laurent (à 2457,6 milles) ; 2. Marina Fort Louis-Ile de Saint Martin (à 29,2 milles du leader) ; 3. Branec III (à 43,9 milles du leader)

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