This afternoon the fleet of La Solitaire URGO le Figaro sailors have been negotiating the final landmark of Belle Ile island before heading back northwest for a slow motion dash to the finish line in Concarneau. Coming into their fourth night at sea many of the sailors will be feeling the effects of fatigue with the super light conditions not allowing for much rest as the boats requiring constant attention.
Following a major shuffle of the pack early this morning during a ‘shut down’ in the wind at the westerly turning mark of Chasusee de Sein, the leader board has started to settle down. Pierre Quirogas (Espoir CEM) 1st place ranking was short lived this after his bold manoeuvre taking the most offshore route did not pay off, seeing him slip back to 10th as the fleet rounded Belle Ile. Leading at the front Charlie Dalin (Macif 2015) will fight all the way to the finish with Erwan Tabarly (Armor Lux) alongside, the two currently level at the 17:00 standings with Tabarly .2kt faster.
In the pack of the eight skippers at the 1700h standings their are only five soloists who had finished in the Top Ten in Spain: Charlie Dalin (Macif 2015), Sébastien Simon (Brittany CMB Performance), the “Rookie” Julien Pulvé (Team Vendée Formation), who made a nearly perfect race from Bordeaux, Nicolas Lunven (Generali) Winner in Gijón and Adrien Hardy (Agir Recouvrement), the gentleman of Gijón.
Just outside the top 10 Justine Mettraux (Teamwork) still leads the international sailors just 3.3nm back from the leaders holding onto 11th position, continuing to post the top British result Hugh Brayshaw sits in 21st place after having been overhauled by solo master and Vendee Globe skipper Jeremie Beyou (Charal) who moves up to 19th place in the 17:00h standings.
Still struggling to make up places after this morning’s catastrophic mark rounding Milan Kolacek is in 28th place whilst a better day for second place Brit Alan Roberts (Seacat Services) posting some impressive boat speed in the light conditions and gaining four places on the leg to Belle Ile. Following Roberts fellow countrywoman Mary Rook has made up two places on this leg sitting in 35th position.
Three days at sea and a fourth night to battle out: the last few miles will be hard fought for the forty-three loners! Whatever the place in the rankings the sailors will be relieved to arrive in Concarneau, with only a short stop before the start of the third leg a 150 mile coastal race will see the fleet depart again on Thursday. For the leading group of six or seven solo sailors the finish will be a very tight thing and will see them finish within an hour of each other. Adrenaline will still be active for those who will remain on the race course, the problem will be to re-motivate! The navigators will also have the tide to manage with a current opposing the wind and rising until 20h00, the low water in the middle of the night towards 2h20 will come right when the first competitors are expected in Concarneau, so it is all still to play for!
Julien Pulvé - Team Vendée Formation - 4th in the 12h classification
We are approaching Belle Ile, we have 11 miles to reach the first point of the island. In the weather file we received we were given a variable Northeast wind of about 7 knots, which means that it will be really unstable. It will be necessary to be really on it, that is why I took the opportunity to rest a little, to be fresh on the return from Belle Ile to Concarneau. I see my opponents on the AIS and for me the race is far from being finished so nothing is done! The passage of Sein, was very hot! I did not manage to pull a good angle at the end. I took shelter from the current to make a tack at the last moment towards the cardinal because we had the current against us and more wind, enough to beat the current. We’re going to have a final stretch that’s pretty intense. I managed to rest, there were moments a little harder than others obviously. But I managed to rest well to do the last stretch thoroughly, because I think we’re going to need energy. To be sincere I am really pleasantly surprised to find myself where I am in the standings. So I take advantage of it, I try to gain experience, I am surrounded by experienced skippers, I try to hang them in speed, but it is not always easy. In any case, I do not give up.
Pierre QUIROGA - Skipper Espoir CEM -CS - 9th in the 12h classification
I did like last year, I made a little bit of the moron from myself. It does not matter, who does not try anything has nothing. I’m not here to win, I’m here to play and I lost! I hope that my luck will be kind and give me a little on the other side of the island to be able to return to the contact of the group, My opponents are still in sight, we will say that it is a lesser evil. The transition to the West has been completely crazy! I could see the buoy to my left, but I was aiming 100° to the right. It is particularly strong current like that, with little wind it completely redistributed the cards. I was 3rd and Sébastien Simon had a good lead with Martin Le Pape just behind and well…. It just reset everything! It’s going to be complicated to move on with this third stage, but it’s part of the game, we’ll see what we have left on the finish line. The area, Belle Ile - Concarneau, I do not know too much about the corner but I do know the rotation of the wind ... there is quite a lot to work here. We’re not bored.
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