Strong winds on the way as the trimarans pick up pace

The southerly gamble taken by leading Open 60 monohull, Virbac skippered by Jean-Pierre Dick paid off and the Frenchman reports that he caught the new, southwest wind before the rest of the fleet and now has an 18 mile lead over Mike Golding on Ecover further to the north.

The two, leading 60ft trimaran skippers continue to match race. Thomas Coville (Sodebo) and Michel Desjoyeaux (Geant) have spent much of the last 24hours within 200m of each other, juggling positions as the boats encountered wind shifts and lifts.

The leading trimarans have broken free of the light airs and picked-up pace. Desjoyeaux (Geant) reports that in the constant reaching conditions expected, he plans to remain strapped into his seat, clutching the mainsheet, always ready to depower his mutlihull. Desjoyeaux has no qualms of the 35 knot winds in the current low: “These are good winds for us. It is what the boats are designed for.”

The next depression now building in the Western Atlantic looks set to cover a huge area of the North Atlantic by Friday 4 June 2004 and it is unlikely that any of the race yachts will escape the resulting strong winds, driving rain and tall seas produced by this system.