Kingfisher-Foncia has regained the lead from Groupama as the leaders of the multihull class emerge from the swamp of the Doldrums
Today’s figures, polled at 1300, show Kingfisher-Foncia back at the front of the multihull class of the Transat Jacques Vabre after overturning Groupama’s two-mile lead this morning. Both Ellen MacArthur and Alain Gautier have been too busy protecting their nascent three-mile lead to send in a report from Kingfisher-Foncia but Franck Cammas’ Groupama has managed to squeeze out a few words.
“We’ve finally got into the southeast Trades but the effects of the Doldrums are still plaguing us,” said Cammas. “Yet another night without sleep and lots of manoeuvring on deck. We are keeping a close eye on the whole fleet on both sides, and feel well placed to windward on port tack, with the occasional tack onto starboard to gain to the East.”
Behind Groupama, Loïck Peyron’s Fujifilm is third, 64 miles off the lead with Jean-Luc Nélias and Michel Desjoyeaux on Belgacom fourth, 72 miles from Kingfisher-Foncia. Belgacom, despite her DTF deficit, is furthest south but hopes of stepping onto the Tradewind conveyor belt and leaving the fleet behind have come to nothing.
The Doldrums have been especially obstructive on this occasion, as Yvan Bourgnon on Nautica – a regular in these latitudes – pointed out: “I don’t think I’ve ever experienced such a long period of totally zero winds and we’re longing for the breeze, the Trades must come soon.”
Bourgnon has yet to escape the Doldrums but the leading four boats, followed by Bonduelle and Banque Populaire, are now enjoying Tradewinds and polling speeds in the 15-17-knot range.
In the 60ft monohull class, Roland Jourdain and Gael Le Cléach have drawn Sill 90nm clear of second placed Voilà.fr. “We’re always keeping watch, you never know when a few stray squalls will blast you for a couple of hours, and then the others will be right there again! There is still the Doldrums to cross and then the decision to stay on the direct route or head nearer to the Brazilian coastline.”
Mark Turner and Nick Moloney are pushing hard on Casto-Darty-But (formerly Kingfisher) in third place, 124 miles off the lead. Despite having shredded much of their sail wardrobe, the Anglo-Australian duo is still managing to hold off Javier Sanso’s Sme Negoceane, 12 miles behind, and Mike Golding and Marcus Hutchinson’s Ecover, 51 miles behind the former Kingfisher.
In the 50ft monohull class, the long-time leaders Alex Bennett and Paul Larsen on One Dream One Mission have regained their lead after losing 150 miles in 24 hours and slipping to third yesterday. The 1300 figures place them 32 miles clear of Renaud Le Youdec’s second-placed Saving. The third-placed boat Setrabio leads the rest of the fleet but she is nearly 300 miles off second place.