After a light airs start only one mile separates the top eight boats
After a general recall, Leg three finally got underway yesterday at 1617 BST, in a light wind of around 6 knots, starting with a five mile windward/leeward course before heading out of the bay. Solo offshore legend, Michel Desjoyeaux, skipper of Geant, led the fleet around both the AGF and Radio France buoys, just ahead of Erwan Tabarly (Thales) followed by Yann Eliès (Groupe Generali Assurances). Yesterday evening, as the fleet pointed their bows towards the Emerald Isle 456 miles away, SKANDIA was lying in 19th place.
It was a difficult night for the 45 skippers as they sailed across busy shipping lanes and fishing areas, making it almost impossible for them to sleep. But the sailing conditions were good – flat seas and a breeze of around 10 knots.
Overnight, Davies fortunes turned as SKANDIA climbed up the leaderboard and she is now battling it out with the front runners at the head of the fleet. At 0800 BST SKANDIA was polled 4th place and then 5th at 1200BST within one mile of the leader. The 1500 BST positions put SKANDIA in 6th just 0.7nm behind the new race leader, Jeanne Gregoire skipper of Banque Populaire. Gregoire is one of only three females competing in event. Kito de Pavant (Groupe Bel) is hot on her heels in 2nd place, with Laurent Pellecuer (Cliptol Sport) in 3rd – the leading trio are within shouting distance of each other, just 0.1 mile apart. Only one mile separates the top 8 boats including SKANDIA and just 5 miles separates the top 30 – Figaro racing at its best!
Although, the fleet are fairly spread out from west to east as they progress north along the French coast towards Ushant in a north-westerly wind of around 12-15 knots. Davies will be trying to make the most of this before she hits the cold front tonight which will bring strong winds, rough seas and tough sailing conditions.
LEG 3 POSITIONS LA ROCHELLE – CORK, IRELAND (1500BST 18/8/05)
1. GREGOIRE Jeanne/ BANQUE POPULAIRE 362miles to finish
2. DE PAVANT Kito / GROUPE BEL 362miles
3. PELLECUER Laurent / CLIPTOL SPORT 362miles
4. TABARLY Erwan / THALES 362.3miles
5. CAUDRELIER Charles / BOSTIK 362.5miles
6. DAVIES Sam / SKANDIA 362.7miles
7. PETIT Benoit / DEFI SANTE VOILE 362.8miles
8. D’ALI Pietro / NANNI DIESEL 362.9miles
9. BEYOU Jérémie / DELTA DORE 363.2miles
10. MORVAN Gildas / CERCLE VERT 363.5miles