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Halfway home Harris has shares in the lead

Published on 24/06/2019

At 1000hrs BST this morning, the main pack are slanted towards Lyme Regis, at what might be considered the theoretical midpoint of the 500-nautical mile Stage 4 course, sailing downwind in the southwesterly wind and just approaching high water, making between 8.5 and just over nine knots.

Things looks quite good for the Brit Will Harris (Hive Energy), who has been trading shares in the lead with Armel Le Cléac’h (Banque Populaire), Anthony Marchand (Groupe Royers-Secours Populaire) and Corentin Douguet (NF Habitat). While they have decent breeze just now, it is due to drop a bit in the afternoon, the next objective being to get past Portland Bill before the tidal flow gets too strong.

From the safety and media vessel Etoile Race, Director Francis Le Goff reported: “At this moment, the sea is good and the southwest wind is in again and they are sailing downwind. They have just been passing the north side, offshore of the TSS at Casquets. They are not going that fast, downwind about eight knots. I think it is going to be a long day with periods during the early afternoon when there will be just five to six knots of wind. As it is it looks like there will be no big options on the horizon, you just have to play the current best.

On board the atmosphere this morning is a bit weird. To know where the boats are we need to watch the AIS and listen out for them because we can see nothing more than 150 metres. Hopefully the fog will lift because it is a bit depressing. Over there in France you can talk about your heat wave, but here we are in fleeces and the skippers have foulies on because of the drizzle. And in these conditions you have to be on high alert. There are not, now, as many cargo ships around as earlier, but you can hear the positions be broadcast on the VHF.

But during the night there was nothing. Zero. Just a few puffs and the four that went to the Devon coast found something for a while and were in the right place to almost get through the front, that was Adrien Hardy, Pierre Leboucher, Eric Delamare and Tom Dolan. And Joan Mulloy also got some wind which has brought her back into the group. And Benoît Hochard has no big spinnaker after he shredded it on that fast leg top Wolf Rock and so the good thing for us is we have this compact group of boats just now stretching from the TSS and Dartmouth.”

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