Nicely negotiating the transition from the front to the ridge of high pressure
After a lively first night, involving a sprint to the legendary Fastnet Rock at the South-West tip of Ireland, the MOD 70 fleet is now setting a course to the South-West on the way to the Bay of Biscay. Winning the battle over this initial section of the course, Spindrift Racing is leading the way, but in its wake Edmond de Rothschild Group and the other three MOD 70s have formed a tight group and are determined not to let the black trimaran have everything its own way. Upwind since yesterday’s start in Dùn Laoghaire, Sébastien Josse and his men should soon be able to hoist their gennaker (large headsail) and slip along downwind. However, in order for this to happen, they’ll have to wait for the wind to shift round to the West, a rotation likely to occur late this afternoon.

As expected, the first night at sea for the MOD 70s in this second leg, between Dùn Laoghaire and Cascais, was an active one. Upwind, in a boisterous breeze increasing to 28 knots, the trimaran Edmond de Rothschild Group and her adversaries wove their way along the Irish coast to make the Fastnet lighthouse. Sheltering from the current with an inshore option as far as Tuskar, the five competing crews battled steadily in a tight pack. In the nocturnal tack crossings, there was much jockeying for position amidst the tack changes and none of them managed to make a clean break for the lead. However, in the middle of the night, as the five multihulls opted to distance themselves a little from the shore to benefit from a more established offshore breeze, Spindrift Racing gained an edge and tackled the final sprint to the mark in pole position.

The first to head offshore yesterday, after the preliminary coastal course in Dublin Bay, the men of Gitana Team had to put in an extra tack before they could make the final approach towards Fastnet. The upshot of this was some precious miles conceded and a fourth place at the famous rock, which they rounded shortly before 0700 UTC this Monday morning. Contacted by the organisation’s press team at daybreak, the skipper of Edmond de Rothschild Group explained the conditions encountered by his crew and discussed the previous night’s decor: “We’re upwind in what are still choppy seas. The South-Westerly wind is in the process of easing and we’re tightly bunched. We had up to 28 knots of breeze and the sea state wasn’t as difficult as forecast, but we really got a good shaking. We sailed along the Irish coast as far as Tuskar to get some protection from the sea and benefit from some small wind rotations. Then, once we got around the headland, everyone changed strategy by heading offshore, where the waves were better organised and the wind was more stable.”

At the 1600 UTC standing, Spindrift Racing had consolidated its lead gained at the Fastnet and boasted an eleven-mile lead over its closest pursuers. However, in its wake, play remained very tight and the chasing group, comprising four MOD 70s, was rallying its troops to put up a counter attack. Positioned the furthest West of the fleet, the trimaran fitted out by Baron Benjamin de Rothschild appeared to have selected its option for negotiating the upcoming transition zone.

Leg 2 – Standing on Monday 10 September at 1600 UTC
  1. Spindrift Racing 834.8 miles to the finish
  2. Foncia 11.2 miles astern of the leader
  3. Musandam – Oman Sail 11.2 miles astern of the leader
  4. Edmond de Rothschild Group 14 miles astern of the leader
  5. Race for Water 16.8 miles astern of the leader

The crew of the MOD Edmond de Rothschild Group

Offshore : Sébastien Josse (Skipper), Olivier Douillard, Florent Chastel, Christophe Espagnon, Antoine Koch, Thomas Rouxel

The European Tour in five legs

The second event in the Multi One Championship, after the Krys Ocean Race (a transatlantic race between New York and Brest contested in early July), the European Tour comprises five legs: the five competing crews set off from Kiel bound for Dun Laoghaire (Dublin) on 2 September, prior to setting sail for Cascais (Portugal) and Marseille (France), not to mention Genoa (Italy), where the finish will be decided on 2 October 2012 and with it the name of the winner of this first edition. In total there are over 5,000 nautical miles to cover in five weeks!

Kiel (Germany)
Kiel City Races: from 31 August to 1 September

Leg 1 – 1,188 miles: Kiel – Dun Laoghaire (Dublin), start Sunday 2 September

Dun Laoghaire (Ireland)
Dublin City Races: from 7 to 8 September

Leg 2 – 1,215 miles: Dun Laoghaire (Dublin) – Cascais, start Sunday 9 September

Cascais (Portugal)
Cascais City Races: from 14 to 16 September
Leg 3 - 558 miles: Cascais – Cascais (Around Portugal Race), start Monday 17 September

Leg 4 – 1,071 miles: Cascais – Marseille, start Thursday 20 September

Marseille (France)
Marseille City Races: from 28 to 29 September
Leg 5 - 672 miles: Marseille – Genoa, start Sunday 30 September

Genoa (Italy)
Finish of leg 5: Tuesday 2 October

Closing race: Wednesday 3 October

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