Azores in the line of sight
The Brest Atlantiques fleet has been attacking its twenty-seventh day at sea this Sunday from 11:00 hours. Since their return to the northern hemisphere, the leader and her two pursuers are no longer sailing in the same weather system. Indeed, with this 600-mile lead on exiting the Inter-tropical Convergence Zone, Franck Cammas and Charles Caudrelier have been able to hook onto the NE'ly trade wind and, light as it is, they've been able to climb up towards the Azores on a virtually direct course before they hit the home straight to Brest. Astern of them, Macif and Actual Leader have not been so lucky and are having to take the long way round via the West to hunt down a ride with the next weather system.
Finally, the accordion effect works in the leaders' favour
Late on Friday, François Gabart and Gwénolé Gahinet had pulled back to within 550 miles of the latest Gitana, whilst Yves Le Blevec and Alex Pella were a little over 600 miles off the pace. However, over the course of the weekend, the duo on Edmond de Rothschild have managed to really make the most of the sequence of weather systems to increase their lead by over 200 miles! Finally, the wind gods appear to be smiling on the leaders, which has never really been the case before in this Brest Atlantiques. It's a scenario that is sure to appeal to our duo just days away from the finish, though they're in no way letting down their guard.
In fact, though their pursuers have proved to be faster in terms of outright speed over the past thirty minutes, the same cannot be said of their VMG over the past 24 hours. By VMG we mean their velocity made good in terms of the distance to the goal. The reasoning behind this is that the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild has benefited from her lead at the head of the fleet to link onto a N'ly route very close to the direct course, whilst her pursuers haven't got the timing right and are consequently having to set a course to the West, distancing themselves from the finish in a bid to chase down the next weather system.
A gybe at the Azores before setting a course for Brest
Tomorrow, the skippers of Gitana Team will reach the Azores. Once they've got the Portuguese archipelago in their wake, one last gybe awaits them before they can set a course for Brest. If they're in line with the targeted timing, this final straight could well be negotiated in relatively fast conditions: “Initially we'll have a S'ly wind, but it will back round to the East. That's indicative of a fairly calm and sunny finish, though it will be cold. In the meantime, we still have a lot of work to do and we'll notably have a few hours at 25 knots where we'll have to find the right compromise!” explained Charles Caudrelier.
=> TODAY'S VIDEO
“Focusing on the route to get there is a way of thinking about the finish!”
At the 15:00 UTC position report, the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild was about 1,500 miles from Brest; the equivalent of three to four days at sea according to the latest weather forecasts. As such, the finish is inevitably on the minds of the men on-board. However, through superstition or modesty, they don't really like to discuss the matter! Despite all that, in a dusk atmosphere, they were able to get personal with their media man Yann Riou as he picked their brains about their mindset just a few days from the denouement of the Brest Atlantiques.
This latest video offers us some fresh aerial footage of the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild. Always more than willing to treat us to some unique shots, this Sunday Yann Riou flew his drone for 30 minutes before sunrise!
Ranking on 1 December 2019 at 15:00 UTC
1. MAXI EDMOND DE ROTHSCHILD (Franck Cammas / Charles Caudrelier / Yann Riou) - distance to the goal: 1,521.8 miles - average speed over the past 30 mins: 22.6 knots
2. MACIF (François Gabart / Gwenolé Gahinet / Jérémie Eloy) - 834.8 miles behind the leader - average speed over the past 30 mins: 25.4 knots
3. ACTUAL LEADER (Yves Le Blevec / Alex Pella / Ronan Gladu) - 867.0 miles behind the leader - average speed over the past 30 mins: 28.0 knots
RETIREMENT - SODEBO ULTIM 3 (Thomas Coville / Jean-Luc Nelias / Martin Keruzoré)