Sam Davies strives to land third place by working hard to keep Roxy in best breeze
With 230 miles to go at 10:00 GMT this morning (12 February), with a lead of about 270 miles and showing no immediate signs of slowing down, today could be crucial for British yachtsman Sam Davies (Roxy) as she strives to land third place. With a slow finish predicted, every mile gained in breeze could be worth twice that in very light conditions.
She has been working hard to keep Roxy in the best breeze, and while her rival Marc Guillemot (Safran) has struggled with the lighter breezes – dealt by the developing high pressure system – she has been averaging 13 knots to his seven. Davies had spells reaching 12-14 knots during the night whilst Safran dropped to two knots at one stage.
Sam’s strategy appears to be little different to what she alluded almost jokingly yesterday when she would head north until level with her house in South Brittany, above the latitude of Les Sables d’Olonne and this morning she was already between Lorient and Concarneau.
She was still reaping the benefits of 10-12 knots NW’lies this morning, some 200 miles from the centre of this dominant anticyclone, which lies just to the NWW of Cape Finisterre, while at something like 80 miles from the middle Marc Guillemot on the keel-less Safran looks to have closer to 8 knots and is still trying to make north.
Weather models suggest Davies may even hang to the breeze until around midday. “I have just been in the cockpit having another karaoke moment – making the most of one of my last nights out here on my own! Leaning on the coach roof looking backwards at Roxy’s wake, lit up by the moon and streaming out for as far as I could see. Singing out at the top of my voice! I wish I could stay out there all night, but I must rest, ready for a tough 24 hours of light wind sailing to get through the high “bubble” that is going to block our progress tomorrow night.” Said Davies yesterday evening.
Fellow Briton Brian Thompson is now around 280 miles behind Marc Guillemot and he and Dee Caffari have been in fast reaching mode all night. Caffari is just passing the latitude of Cape Finisterre and has been slightly quicker than Thompson this morning, but Bahrain Team Pindar is 120 miles ahead.
They look to be well matched for speed and will continue to work to the NW to try and stay away from the worst effects of the anticyclone for as long as possible, more or less following the track taken by Guillemot and Davies for the moment. They will continue to gain on Safran, meaning that after a wait of more than five days for the second boat to finish, and what looks like nearly a week for the third, then we might see three boats finish in comparatively short order from Saturday.
Winds continue to be inconsistent and frustrating for Arnaud Boissières who is level with the Canary Islands now. He is making closer to nine knots early this morning, but his speeds through the night on Akena Véranda were erratic, while Steve White (Toe in the Water) still looks to have about 200 miles of trade winds sailing left to continue to catch the French skipper. He is 481 miles behind.
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