Leg 4 Cascais - Marseille: at the gateway to the Mediterranean
After twenty-four hours at sea in this fourth offshore leg, the MOD 70 fleet was this afternoon sailing in the Gulf of Cadiz, bound for the Strait of Gibraltar. With less than 300 miles covered, the pace of this start to the race matches initial forecasts. Last night, Cape St Vincent modified the hierarchy established in the opening miles and the Omani trimaran is leading the way. Sébastien Josse and his men are in fourth place some 25 miles astern of the leader.

Musandam - Oman Sail and, to a lesser extent, Race for Water, were able to skilfully negotiate the passage around Cape St Vincent by hugging the Portuguese coast as tightly as they dared. In the standing at 1530 UTC, Sidney Gavignet and his crew confirmed their rank with a lead of over 17 miles on their closest rival. Meantime the trimaran fitted out by Baron Benjamin de Rothschild was sailing in convoy with Foncia some 25 miles astern of the leader of this leg between Cascais and Marseille. Though the start of the race was clearly marked by the fine move pulled off by the Omani one-design, the story is far from over because ahead of the trimarans there is a lack of breeze forecast. Clearly the Alboran Sea crossing is not going to be a picnic.

The MOD 70 fleet is set to adopt the famous Strait of Gibraltar, which marks the entrance to the Mediterranean Sea, tonight. However, the passage in front of the Pillars of Hercules won’t be synonymous with deliverance; quite the contrary in fact. The calms currently reigning in the Alboran Sea and the negotiation of the latter will be both tricky and long. Several scenarios could present themselves: a rebunching of the fleet and a restart or conversely some marked options, which would see the five competing crews going their separate ways. Indeed the shipping in the strait is regulated by a traffic separation zone, which Edmond de Rothschild Group and its adversaries will have to respect. As such, they’re going to have to make a choice between the Spanish or Moroccan coast.

Leg 4 – Standing on Friday 21 September at 1530 UTC

1. Musandam – Oman Sail 806.5 miles from the goal

2. Race for Water 17.5 miles astern of the leader

3. Foncia 24.3 miles astern of the leader

4. Edmond de Rothschild Group 25.5 miles astern of the leader

5. Spindrift Racing 29.7 miles astern of the leader

The crew of MOD Edmond de Rothschild Group in ‘Leg 4’

Sébastien Josse (Skipper), Olivier Douillard, Florent Chastel, David Boileau, Antoine Koch, Thomas Rouxel

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