Following the retirement of two yachts, the remaining 24 all round Madeira heading for Atlantic 29/4/08

On Sunday Nicolas Troussel and Christopher Pratt, sailing aboard FInanco, were the first Figaro Beneteau to round the turning point of Madeira in the doublehanded AG2R. At 1700 UT Monday they had a lead of 15.9 miles over Thierry Chabagny and Corentin Douguet on Suzuki Åutomobiles.

After the rounding on Monday night of NIVEA Athletes du Monde (Jean Galfione and GIlles Favennec), the 24 boats remaining in the race have now all rounded Madeira and are headed into the Atlantic looking in the swell for the lost trade winds. Eric Drouglazet and Christophe Bouvet on Luisina and Tangi Mahe and Claude Bertrac on Iroise Promotions have abandoned the race.

While life on deck in the moderate winds may be peaceful (the fleet was sailing under spinnaker at an average of 10 knots with winds from the Northeast), life at the chart table is anything but. For those who dare deviate from the direct route there are huge uncertainties and that knot in the stomach.

Faced with this complex situation, some leaders play the card of radio silence: the best secrets are those that are detected as late as possible and several large arms race were enjoined today. Others portrayed an immutable calm, confident of their good fortune, followers of the good old recipes.

Bertrand de Broc relied on a strategy less bold, remaining confident in his position of waiting until the situation had clarified. Jeanne Gregoire aboard Banque Populaire confessed that she was stressed at her chosen path: “Yesterday evening, we saw things that we have confirmed our decision. Today, I am much less confident. At times, the road north of the direct route seems good, but then yesterday it does not appear so.”

Top ten at 1700 UTC 28 April:

1. Financo – Nicolas Troussel / Christopher Pratt, 2341.1 nm to finish
2. Suzuki Automobiles – Thierry Cabagny / Corentin Douguet, 15.9 nm to leader
3. Les Mousquetaires – Bertrand de Broc / Gwen Riou, 16.9
4. Cercle Vert – Gildas Morvan / Jean Le Cam, 17.3
5. Defi Mousquetaires – Thomas Rouxel / Erwan Israel, 23.1
6. Athema – Erwan Tabarly / Vincent Biarnes, 28.5
7. Gedimat – Armel Tripon / Dominic Vittet, 30.8
8. Degremont Suez Source De Talents – Jean Charles Monnet / Alexandre Toulorge, 76.6
9. Atlantik Ft – David Krizek / Phil Sharp, 82.8
10. Lenzele – Franck Gal / Erwan Le Roux, 83.4