After nine days of racing the monohulls are still bunched together in cat and mouse battles in which any mistake will prove costly. Maxi Edmond de Rothschild keeps getting faster at the front of the Ultimes whilst the Ocean Fifty class may well be shuffled as they enter the Doldrums.
Ultimes – entering the southern hemisphere
The Ultimes have been speeding south since escaping the doldrums yesterday. The technical battle of previous days has turned into a speed race between the four leading boats. However, discounting any possible breakages, catching the leader seems like an almost impossible task. Franck Cammas and Charles Caudrelier on Maxi Edmond de Rothschild are almost 300 miles ahead and have averaged 3-4 knots more over the early morning than the chasing boats.
François Gabart on his new trimaran SVR – Lazartigue is doing his best to stay in touch with the leaders, “The doldrums were difficult for us. We lost a lot of ground on our competitors.”
The crews are now heading upwind towards the next waypoint at Fernando de Noronha.
IMOCA 60 – man-to-man marking
After a long descent along the African coast in search of thermal breeze, the leading group has gybed and is starting a long starboard tack toward the entrance to the Doldrums. The conditions are lighter, forcing the pairs to focus on sail, foil trimming and mast setting. LinkedOut, is still holding the lead but only 70 miles separate the top 5 boats. Apivia is only seven miles behind in second place. It’s a game of cat and mouse, who will blink first?
Ocean Fifty: Duelling at speed
The crews of the 50-foot multihull fleet has been having fun so far. The seven duos have been challenging each other in speed duels over recent days but all this will change as they enter the Doldrums.
Thibault Vauchel-Camus (Solidaires en Peloton – ARSEP) explained on their radio broadcast this morning that they feel short-changed by the conditions recently, “Primonial is leading the way, even though we’re following a similar weather and geographical route. That’s the beauty of sailing! Anyway we’re only halfway there so there’s still plenty more time!”
Primonial is still in first place, while Koesio and Solidaires en Peloton-ARSEP are closing the gap. Further east, CGA-1001 Sourires and Arkema 4 seem to have opted for a more direct route. If conditions allow them a quick crossing, this could once again shake up the ranking.
Class 40: yet another slowdown in sight
The leading 40 footers are seeing the miles pass under their bows as they slide along the coast. The gybes continue to punctuate the race of this very tightly bunched fleet. If the weather forecast is correct then the frontrunners will likely slow while the chasing pack continue in good breeze. Benoit Hantzberg explains more from his boat Volvo, “The next few days are going to be lighter. There will be a lot of gybing to do to get to Cape Verde. It will be similar to what we had along Portugal. That’s also why we do these races, not necessarily just for the long speed tacks!”
Rankings November 16 at 10:00am
1. Redman – Distance to destination 2675,92
2. Volvo – Distance to destination 2689,91
3. Banque du Léman – Distance to destination 2694,66
1. Primonial – Distance to destination 2636,28
2. Koesio – Distance to destination 2717,36
3. Solidaires En Peloton – Distance to destination 2730,72
1. LinkedOut- Distance to destination 3357,5
2. Apivia – Distance to destination 3371,46
3. Charal – Distance to destination 3385,69
1. Maxi Edmond de Rothschild – Distance to destination 4135,54
2. Banque Populaire XI – Distance to destination 4396,56
3. SVR – Lazartigue – Distance to destination 4487,37