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 required 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 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 0.2kt 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
Pierre QUIROGA – Skipper Espoir CEM -CS – 9th in the 12h classification