La Solitaire Afflelou Le Figaro fleet has been battling with strong winds overnight but the worst is yet to come

The 43 competitors in La Solitaire Afflelou Le Figaro are entrenched in the fourth and final battle to the finish in Port Bourgenay on the fourth and final leg of the event.

The rough conditions forecast for the leg prior to yesterday’s start have strengthened overnight reaching a steady 25 knots with gusts of 35kts and three to four metre waves. The sea state “is already like a minefield,” confirmed Michel Desjoyeaux (Géant) early this morning,” and it is only going to get worse all morning: with the cold front that is coming, still heading south-west – which will increase o 30-35 knots with gusts of 40-45 and we are expecting waves of between 3 and 4 metres at midday near Ushant. It was the right thing to avoid the Fastnet Lighthouse on the course: gusts up to 55 knots of wind were registered overnight.

At the 04h00 morning rankings Mark Lepesqueux on Maisons Pierre was leading the fight with Gildas Morvan on Cercle Vert. However, Lepesqueux is positioned himself furthest east from the lay-line and may well find that he gets pushed up the English Channel both by the strong currents waves on the approach to the Brittany head and by the wind 20 to 30 degree change in the wind angle, forcing a less optimal route.

The current overall rankings leader, Laurent Pellecuer on Cliptol Sport, further west along the line, who’s sailing the ‘perfect’ route appears to be best placed to tackle the shift on the approach to the Brittany head this afternoon said this morning: “I could not go any faster anyway!”

Due to the weather conditions forecast the competitors are expected to cross the finish line from Thursday morning in Port Bourgenay. However, the race director has also announced that entry to the port in Port Bourgenay could be difficult due to the strong south-west swell; the fleet could therefore be re-routed to the port in Les Sables d’Olonne once they’ve crossed the finish line.