IMOCA 60 fleet makes gains, as British duo move up to second position

It was a relatively straightforward night for both IMOCA Open 60 fleet and the Multi50 fleet, the only question this morning being over the progress of BritAir of Armel Le Cléac’h and Nicolas Troussel. Le Cléac’h hinted to this morning’s early radio call that they may have a technical problem but they are waiting for daylight to assess their options. But meantime they have been heading in a more SE’ly direction and have been making just over seven knots.

The gains do seem to have been for those in the more north of the main IMOCA Open 60 pack. They hung on to better wind pressure at a better angle through the latter part of yesterday and into the morning. So Seb Josse and Jeff Curzon top the IMOCA Open 60 table with a lead of just over 4 miles from British team Dee Caffari and Brian Thompson onboard Aviva.

Meantime Foncia, yesterday’s leader, have taken up the more southerly position, whilst Alex Thomson and Ross Daniel on Hugo Boss are still a good 70 miles further to the north of the next most northerly Open 60.

Mike Golding and Javier Sanso on the Owen Clarke sister-ship (with Aviva) Mike Golding Yacht Racing are also sailing nicely along in sixth position.

According to Roland ‘Bilou’ Jourdain on Veolia Environnement conditions early this morning were decidedly chilly with 15-12 knots of breeze. It’s likely to be late afternoon or this evening when the breeze really starts to build as the first depression arrives for the fleet bringing winds of over 30 knots and building seas.

In the Multi 50 Class Franck Yves Escoffier and Erwan Leroux on Crepes Whaou have a lead of over 60 miles.

Dee Caffari (GBR): “A great sail reaching west was enjoyable with cold water tumbling across the deck. This soon went forward on us and when we were happy we had reached the front we tacked. This depression was just a warm up for what lies ahead. It held no more than 26 knots of wind with some rain thrown in for good measure.”

”Brian has been disturbing any chance of sleep he may have had the chance for during the night, as weather charts flash before his eyes. No joke we have downloaded every model possible from all available sources and there is no getting away from the next depression in the Atlantic. In fact it swamps the whole ocean and delivers an evil punch. We are having to face up to the fact that this week will be mainly spent sailing in uncomfortable conditions of which some or most is upwind. The winds are looking like they will reach in excess of 45 knots and with that will be a large and dangerous swell for the boats to battle through.

”When I signed up to this race, I had visions of sailing to the Caribbean by heading south until the temperatures warmed up, then setting the spinnaker and downwind sailing in clear blue skies with fluffy clouds in a bikini… That is what the brochure advertised, I am sure!”

”Anyway we can hope things may change but also face up to the fact that there will be a certain amount of clenched buttocks for the next few days.”

An economy of words, concise and to the point from Michel Desjoyeaux on Foncia this morning: “The front passed during the night with the waves building. The wind of course turns more quickly that the seas, so that made it a little difficult, especially when the boat ploughs into the troughs. So that encourages us a little to cool the attack. In fact it is not so cold, I thought I would suffer more.”

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