IMOCA 60 leaders plough on towards Costa Rica in a spell of lighter winds and warmer temperatures
The small advantage, such as it is, is back with Marc Guillemot and Charles Caudrelier-Bénac as the moods turn tropical and the Transat Jacques Vabre leaders plough onwards towards Costa Rica. They have a spell of lighter 5-10 knots breezes to negotiate, but on board the leading trio of IMOCA Open 60’s, with Safran now under 2000 miles to go the finish line in Puerto Limon, thoughts during the long starlit nights and pleasant temperatures, are inevitably of a seemingly assured podium place.
Leading co-skipper Marc Guillemot of Safran said as much this morning: “From now on the race will be played out between the three of us.”
Safran has re-built some small, but hard earned miles against the pursuing duo – 38.4 miles on sister-ship Groupe Bel while Mike Golding and Javier Sanso have successfully regained 20 miles since last night. The duo were 98 miles behind Safran and 58 miles shy of second placed De Pavant and Gabart.
Marc explained: “It is pleasant, we can spend more time outside on the deck and things are less frenetic, we go a bit more slowly. This enables us to get some fresh air, and work on the deck. All is well on the boat and nothing slows us, we are all under control. The ink is far from dry on this race yet, but my view is that tomorrow it will be all but done. We cover our opponents carefully, Groupe Bel and Mike Golding. If there are no breakages the race will be between the three of us, the others are too far back. But meantime the conditions allow us to tackle the second stage more rested.”
On board the leading boats they know that every mile lost or gained may prove vital, but at the same time Guillemot emphasized how he and co-skipper Caudrelier Bérnac are trying to make sure they are mentally and physically rested as much as possible for the final push through the Caribbean. Forecasts for the final stage of the race show nothing by way of major meteorological potholes on the route in.
From Golding to fourth placed Michel Desjoyeaux on Foncia there are now 300 miles, the best part of 20 hours behind, while Foncia has really underlined their speed and tactical strength moving 89 miles clear of Roland Jourdain and Jean Luc-Nelias on Veolia Environnement.
The battle rages between Dee Caffari and Brian Thompson’s Aviva and their Spanish rivals on W-Hotels. The British pair have actually eked out another twelve miles, more than doubling their lead since yesterday night, which will give the two Vendée Globe skippers some satisfaction.
Meanwhile the stricken IMOCA Open 60 BT was on the verge of making it into the safe haven of Victoria in the Azores but a very difficult passage into the harbour there, in big seas and winds, still stands between the salvage team and the completion of a very long and difficult mission with the very waterlogged Open 60.
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