Gitana Eighty, second at the midway mark
The first circuit has been completed for the monohull in the colours of the LCF Rothschild Group. After setting out from Saint Nazaire yesterday at 1735 UT, the seven Imoca 60 footers in the running for the Record SNSM, were back in the Loire Estuary mid afternoon this Monday. With half the course in its wake the fleet, led by Jean-Pierre Dick, are now pointing their bows towards Sainte Marine once more for another 180 mile round trip.

The race currently underway off the Breton coast in NW France is living up to expectations on the water, with minimal separation between the seven strong fleet of monohulls. After covering 180 miles and completing the initial return trip between Saint-Nazaire and Sainte-Marine, Jean-Pierre Dick and his men have a slight lead. However, it's still extremely tight racing as the competitors are sailing within sight of each other!  On board, the crews are sparing no effort to make the most of the slightest flurry or shift in the breeze in order to remain in contact. Third to round the mark moored at the entrance to the River Odet last night, Loïck Peyron and his four crew rounded the course mark off Saint Nazaire in second position. Gitana Eighty is thus hot on the heels of its sistership, tailed by Cheminées Poujoulat.

Contacted at the start of the afternoon, the skipper of Gitana Eighty described the race so far: “We were a bit behind at the start yesterday, but we quickly got up with the leading pack. As the routing indicated prior to casting off, we had a play around the bay of Quiberon last night. There were a fair number of manœuvres but it was close racing on the water and that makes things very interesting. As we passed the Ile de Groix, off Lorient, we must have got caught up on a fishing pot, and we had to do a fine little reverse manoeuvre under the cover of darkness to get ourselves free. However everything is going very well aboard Gitana Eighty on the whole. We were given a fantastic escort under Groix with a number of dolphins playing close to the boat. Right now, we're on home ground (the skipper of Gitana Eighty was born in nearby Pouliguen), off Batz-Sur-Mer, which is rather nice” concluded Loïck Peyron prior to going back on deck for another manœuvre.

The crew of Gitana Eighty on the Record SNSM: Loïck Peyron (Skipper), Cyril Dardashti, Antoine Mermod, Didier Le Vourch', Sébastien Thétiot

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