Day nine sees yet another dramatic rescue, another ORMA finish and the rich definitely getting richer 8/11/06

British sailor Ross Hobson was involved in a dramatic rescue overnight after his 13m Nic Bailey-designed trimaran capsized in 50kts of wind. Fortunately Hobson was unharmed and is now safe and sound on a Spanish freighter Carmen enroute to Santander.

Meanwhile Alain Gautier on Foncia became the seventh competitor in the ORMA fleet to cross the line in Guadeloupe earlier today. Gautier took a total of 9 days, 16 hours, 14 minutes and 40 seconds sailing at an average speed of 15.25kts and finished 16 hours behind sixth-placed Yvan Bourgnon on Brossard.

Elsewhere in the Route du Rhum fleet Kip Stone leader of Class 2 monohulls encountered a few engine and power problems yesterday consequently losing nearly 100 miles over the last 24 hours. He remains in the lead but Servane Escoffier is now just 57 miles astern. Chatting about the problem on his latest log Stone said: “I was short tacking my way between clouds in the Quiet Zone, the engine shut down while I was charging the batteries and presented a project for which I was thankful there was little wind. Clearly, it was a fuel problem but it took me awhile to work out that a bleed screw on the fuel filter had stripped the treads and was allowing air to be introduced into the line? As you can imagine: no engine, no batteries; no batteries, no pilot; no pilot – no race. Pretty much as simple as that?”

In the IMOCA fleet Roland Jourdain on Sill et Veolia is still in control of the fleet but Jean Le Cam is not making his life easy. Snapping at his heels, Le Cam on VM Materiaux is just over 100 miles astern with 750 miles to go while Jean Pierre Dick in third has lost 30 miles on Le Cam. British sailor Brian Thompson is sailing consistently in sixth place but things could change once the big winds expected fill in. Chatting from the boat yesterday Thompson said “We will finally, hopefully, go through the cold front and the wind will change really rapidly. I am expecting it to increase up to 25 to 30 knots. I am now making sure that the boat is all ready for that, and once we get to the cold front we will have fast downwind conditions, for at least 2 or 3 days towards Guadeloupe.” Fellow British sailor Lia Ditton in Class 3 monohulls remains in second place.

British Class 40 hero Phil Sharp just keeps getting better and better. Having made a fantastic transition through the fleet into the lead during last weekend Sharp sailing is monopolizing on his position and now leads Gildas Morvan by 120 miles. Okay the leading duo still have nearly 1,600 miles to go to the finish at Guadelope but if Sharp’s current tactical form is anything to go by, keeping ahead of the pack at this stage is reasonably straightforward. The two other British Class 40 sailors – Ian Munslow and Nick Bubb – remain in 9th and 11th position respectively.