For over 48 hours, the manœuvres and other sail changes have been numerous aboard the 60 foot Imoca boats. It's been a hard life for a skipper on his own making an average of over 13 knots in big seas… The conditions seem to perfectly suit the ‘young guard' as the top trio includes Yann Eliès and Sébastien Josse.
Contacted by telephone at the start of the afternoon, Loïck Peyron looked back at his progress overnight and detailed the conditions currently encountered by Gitana Eighty: “It was a bit of a tough night, with quite a lot of wind. I performed two gybes before nightfall so as to reposition myself a little further south. We had the wind on our tail oscillating between 20 and 25 knots; it's not the most pleasant configuration but we're making quite good headway on Gitana Eighty. The wind is set to ease gradually however. There's a good residual W'ly swell ahead of us, which acts as great launching pad for our steeds. It's a fairly wet atmosphere on deck…”
The skipper of Gitana Eighty conceded that he was only just getting into his race: “For the time being I'm a bit more into a ‘round the world rhythm' than a ‘transatlantic rhythm”, but it'll come!” No sooner said than done, as by the 1400 hour UT ranking, Gitana Eighty was the fastest over 4 hours with an average of 15.7 knots.
The leading group has imparted a steady rhythm to the race since leaving Plymouth on Sunday. However, over the coming hours, the weather conditions will ease for the five forerunners in this Transat 2008. In fact, a transition zone, synonymous with a considerable reduction in pace, is shaping up ahead of Gitana Eighty and her rivals.
Incident aboard Safran
Last night, Marc Guillemot suffered a broach as he was coming back within sight of Gitana Eighty. As a result of the impact, the skipper of Safran suffered injury to his ribs according to information communicated by the official race site. As a result, this incident explains the current position of Marc Guillemot deep in the south, and the fact that Safran is no longer in contact with the leading group.
Six frontrunners in the 1600 UT ranking
1. Generali (Yann Eliès) 2311 miles from the finish
2. BT (Sébastien Josse) 14 miles from the leader
3. PRB (Vincent Riou) 14.2 miles back
4. Foncia (Michel Desjoyeaux) 16.3 miles back
5. Gitana Eighty (Loïck Peyron) 18 miles back
6. Brit Air (Armel Le Cléac'h) 38.5 miles back