Foto copyright AFP
Fuente info RDR
Confidence steady for IMOCA leader Roland Jourdain.
While the fourth placed Ultime finisher is expected the evening, (CET), Yann Guichard on the route record holding Gitana XI, in the IMOCA Open 60's class it's a tactical battle which is at times painfully slow, testing skippers' patience and durability, but the for the moment it remains Roland Jourdain who is in control of the IMOCA Class, consolidating his position neatly with an advance of 76 miles on Armel Le Cléac'h (Brit Air).
The main group are dealing with the equivalent of a meteorological marsh, a barometric bog which traps the unwary or unlucky for hours in sticky pools of calm.
For the skippers these long spells are when the stress mounts with the hot, sticky daytime temperatures, wondering if their nearest and dearest rivals are slipping away. These are the times when the focus is required to be sustained, looking to make use of every puff.
With just under 340 miles to go to the finish and a protective zone of light winds and calm fencing off the islands, it is going to be a case of finding and knitting together the corridors of breeze to get down to Guadeloupe.
Jourdain is in buoyant but objective, pleased today to have the fleet directly behind him, that is with the exception of the duo in the east Michel Desjoyeaux and Arnaud Boissières who are now further behind Jourdain than he has to sail to the finish line.
The Akena Vérandas skipper has recently only made 95 miles in 24 hours.
In second Armel Le Cléac'h is known as the Jackal, for his dogged persistence, sticking close and ready to pounce if an opportunity presents itself.
What is certainly good for the breadth of competition of the IMOCA class is seeing the 2007 launched duo, the Farr designed Veolia Environnement 2, and the Finot designed Brit Air, proving so far that it is seemingly not essential to have a latest generation IMOCA Open 60 boat to do well.
The leaders are now expected Point-à-Pitre Saturday or Sunday.
In the Multi 50 Class the fortunes of the pair of skippers who sustained damage in robust sea conditions four days ago proved very different today. Three times winner Franck Yves Escoffier (Crêpes Whaou!) made the tough decision to abandon his race, a very tough decision. But after more than 10 hours inside the hull of his Actual, and a subsequent 12 hours drying inside, Yves le Blevec reported that he has been successful manually pumping out some 4000 or so litres of water and securing the main hull.
After managing to partially stabilize his cracked cross beam, le Blevec is now in much better shape to complete the final 950 miles to the finish.
Lalou Roucayrol (Région Aquitaine – Port Médoc) still leads the class but has 2006 winner and course record holder Lionel Lemonchois (Prince de Bretagne) now closed to within 54 miles, making more than 10 knots faster than Roucayrol this afternoon.
In the Class 40 fleet, the dominant Thomas Ruyant (Destination Dunkerque) appears set to extend his lead again as the first to pass a ridge of light winds. He has been slowed with his lead trimmed back by Yvan Noblet (Appart City) to just over 40 miles.
Now with the most southern position of the fleet, Britain's Peter Goss in 15th on DMS admitted today that his option could be ‘champagne or sackcloth'
The Rhum fleet is lead by Andrea Mura, the Sardinian solo skipper on the Open 50 Vento di Sardegna, which was designed by the Italian Umberto Felci and competed in the 2000-1 Vendée Globe as Wind Telecommuncations, racing round the world in 159 days.
Roland Jourdain / Veolia environnement
I have just had a look at the rankings and there are days when life is good, really beautiful. Being at the front I obviously avoided the worst of the zone with no wind, and that was no so easy because I had to work hard and to trim the sails a lot. I thought I could sleep, but there was not the time in the end. It was not a good day for that. I was pretty happy though to cross in front of Armel because it allowed to stay in the same stretch of water, in the same zone, and I thought I had lost some ground to him. In the short term the files seem to give winds from the south and the south west. But it will certainly be complicated. I will need to be aware of what was going on. I cannot really say more. It seems that the conditions do look like the wind will come back.
If you consider that the retirement age is coming down, then you need something to keep you active and maintain yourself. I really looks like a soldier from the trenches. I am very happy to be here. I am thinking about the finish from last time and the same day.
Yesterday allowed me to gybe to get in front of him, which was cool. I was not afraid of the opposite course of Armel, in the position that he was. In the positions we had, he passed into the front before me and had less wind for longer. So the place where Vincent and Marco are behind, they just got stuck.
I did not really have a fear of Armel's position, but when I saw how he went through the light winds zone, I don't know. Yesterday he was in a but with no wind and he was still going forward, so he was creating his own wind. But now I am feeling more confident because I gained some more ground again. »
Armel Le Cleach / Brit'Air
« The night was not very simple, I got stuck under a big cloud. It was really hard to extract myself from it. Now it is going well. That is the way it is. I am going to give everything I have to go as fast as I can to Point-à-Pitre, and try to gain some miles between now and then. It is not very easy to find the optimum course. There are areas without wind, but there are also lanes of breeze. During the day it is clearer, because you can see better where the wind is, but the nights are pitch black and when the wind disappears you cant see where to go to find it again.
Speeds are not very fast, so it is hard to position yourself like you would like to. But we knew that we would have a slow passage and calms in the night. The end of the race is going to be rally slow. It is difficult when the other competitors are sailing faster than you are.
There is a bit of tension on board at those times. Bilou has done better from being at the front of these conditons. When you are the front it does help you. We gained some miles on him, but we can still lose them. He was very well placed for the weather we had. That is part of the game, to be a little bit under pressure because of the situation we are in, but all the time I am look behind, I am looking at the rankings, the position and the possible scenarios. There is certainly a lot of thinking goes on aboard Brit Air. I am a bit tired this morning after that zone without sleep. You need to make the most of the smallest puff. Since I rested it is getting better. We have ten knots of wind and compared to recently, that is champagne! I am making around 8 knots, it should get better through the day..
Jean Pierre Dick / Virbac Paprec 3
I made a Chinese gybe. I stayed for quite a long time in a bad position. I should have had a camera with me. It was impressive. But anything is possible now. You just need to look at the previous edition of the race. Nothing is settled, that is for sure before the line is crossed, even if that does sound like a bit of a cliché to say that. Knowing Armel we will have to fight until the end. I spent six hours under mainsail only to try and take the chance to sponge the water from the batteries and repair them. It was really not nice. I am trying to check the navigation. I could see a nice approach when the others were more in the north, with Armel. We had a big opportunity and I got back into third place, now everything is open. This battery system is very innovative, but it needs work. I talked with an engineer because it cuts all the time. It is like snapping your fingers and it goes, everything goes. We are trying to have solutions which are light and reliable. At the moment we can't say this has been reliable.
Yves Le Blevec / Actual:
“After 12 hours of drying out I decided to try and test the repair I made yesterday and the result is its dry. Which is great news because now the boat is much lighter and the hull structure is considerably better. The water was basically up to the level of the longitudinal stringer and about 4000 litres, so half the displacement of the boat!
So I no longer feel like I am in a critical position. I feel good to be alone on my boat, alive with it and back in tune with it. Life is simple now.
I want to get there now, to go on and hopefully be there in time for the prize giving.”