Wave hopping in the Bay of Biscay
The first night at sea is now in the wake of the eighty-five solo sailors in the Route du Rhum, as is the first route selection on rounding the tip of Brittany; especially for the nine ‘ultimate’ multihulls who are leading the way. Aboard Gitana 11, Yann Guichard has nicely adjusted his trajectory since leaving Saint Malo at 1302 hours yesterday, but for the time being he’s finding himself penalised by short, big seas associated with an established N to NW’ly breeze of around 25 knots. Such weather conditions are forcing the skipper of Gitana Team to ease off the pace to spare his steed. At the first position report of the day, the maxi-trimaran fitted out by Baron Benjamin de Rothschild was positioned in 5th place with a deficit of around forty miles on the current leader.

We sensed it yesterday evening on observing the cartography: four of the top five competitors in the Ultimate category have opted for a S’ly course, diving down into the Bay of Biscay, whilst for now solely Sydney Gavignet seems to be favouring a trajectory closer to the great circle route (direct route). And among this foursome currently heading for the headland of Finisterre, three have opted to pass between Ushant’s Traffic Separation Scheme and the island of the same name. This was the choice made by Yann Guichard and Sylvain Mondon. Here it is worth noting that the TSS is a protected perimeter which takes the form of shipping lanes. Its aim is to keep the large commercial shipping away from the coast. For obvious safety reasons, taking so-called pleasure craft into these navigation zones is strictly forbidden.

As forecast, the first night for the solo sailors hasn’t been a restful one at all. Since the start, aboard the 23.50 metre maxi-trimaran, Yann Guichard has linked together a series of manœuvres with no less than seven gybes and a change of sail plan on rounding the island of Ushant. Such constant work enabled the sailor little respite. However, the skipper of Gitana Team, who has the most suited boat for this type of exercise as it is much more manoeuvrable than those of his rivals, has certainly come off the best in this very physical introduction to the race.

After the mild conditions at the start of the race, the solo sailors are now into the thick of the action as they pass the tip of Brittany: an established breeze of between 20 and 25 knots and above all big, short seas which aren’t very favourable for making rapid progress. Fortunately though, the fleet of the Route du Rhum 2010 are passing through the zone on the back of a big system. Indeed Yann Guichard and his playmates are arriving on zone behind a very active low, which has traversed the Bay of Biscay and will pass over France in the coming hours. This disturbed air flow led to 10 metre waves to the North of La Coruña yesterday morning, whilst the wind was gusting in excess of 50 knots…

Though the weather forecasts are holding true on the race zone, around 25 knots of breeze – 30 in the gusts – was hitting the fleet shortly after 0400 hours this morning, the wind is set to become slightly more intense, peaking at 33 knots. However, it is forecast that the N-NW’ly air flow will very rapidly settle down at daybreak. The trend observed at the first position report of the day, namely a Gitana 11 less at ease and less speedy than her rivals in these wind conditions and heavy seas, is set to continue for a few hours, before the situation is reversed with the calm conditions expected at around 0700 hours this Monday morning.

Ranking for the Ultimate Category on 1st November at 0400 hrs
1. Sodebo
2. Oman Air Majan à 5,5 miles
3. Groupama 3 à 31,5 miles
4. Idec à 36,4 milles 
5. Gitana 11 à 43,3 miles
6. La Boite à Pizza à 77,3 miles
7. Défi Cancale à 89,5 miles
8. Saint-Malo 2015 à 105,7 miles
NL. Côte d'Or II     

The content that appears on this website is protected by copyright.
Any reproduction or representation is strictly forbidden.

For further information, please refer to the legal notice section.
Enter at least 4 characters...