Light airs set the tone in Offshore 3
After setting out from Dùn Laoghaire late morning yesterday, the trimaran fitted out by Baron Benjamin de Rothschild is currently approaching the famous Fastnet lighthouse, where it is having to contend with some particularly shifty and lacklustre weather conditions. In the light airs off the southern tip of Ireland, Sébastien Josse and his men are biding their time, trying to make the most of the slightest oscillation to make headway towards the mark. At the 1400 GMT ranking, Edmond de Rothschild was in second position in a fleet led by Oman Air. The next few hours are sure to be action-packed with a windless barrier likely to lounge across their path as the trimarans draw level with the Scilly Isles, or maybe even before that.

Contacted by his shore crew shortly before 1400 GMT, the skipper of Edmond de Rothschild reviewed the first few hours of racing in this third offshore leg bound for Plymouth: “We managed to make good headway as far as Bardsey Island, but things soon became tougher as we headed back towards the Irish coast. A storm system established itself in front of us and we had two options to get through it: either we could stay offshore a little or hug the coast level with the Tuskar headland. The routing software was unanimous about the more offshore course, but Oman played the risky option and opted for the inshore course. Given how things have panned out since then, Oman was proved right, as there appears to be more pressure there. This section was accompanied by a TSS (Traffic Separation System), which means that the MOD70s are forbidden from traversing the zone), which has to be respected and, on exiting the latter, Sidney Gavignet had moved up to the head of the fleet. In the next section, a NW’ly breeze was forecast and we opted to give the Fastnet a wide berth so as to avoid the light winds indicated in the grib files. Right now though, it’s us who are in the light stuff. Up top we have around 3-4 knots of wind, with 18 miles to go till Fastnet. Aboard the boat we’re biding our time, waiting for the breeze to gradually kick back in and establish itself in the North-West.”

Remaining calm as the wind fails them and sets the crew’s nerves jangling, such is the philosophy aboard Edmond de Rothschild as the men of Gitana Team lament a 37-mile deficit in relation to the leader at the 1400 GMT ranking. Indeed, as Sébastien Josse explained earlier, the die has yet to be cast in this offshore leg to Plymouth: “We know that there are still a number of moves to be played! Up ahead, if the grib files are right, things are going to come to a complete standstill. At the front of the pack, Oman will be the first to enter into this windless zone. It may be level with the Scillies or before that, depending on how the weather pans out. One thing for sure is that we’ll need to keep up our energy levels and keep a clear head to tackle the coast of southern England.”

According to the latest on-board routing, the 70-foot trimarans aren’t expected offshore of Devon before Wednesday evening. This estimation is based on a direct route from Eddystone lighthouse.

With regard the ranking, it should be noted that yesterday, Edmond de Rothschild pocketed the two-point bonus for being the first of its class to make the island of Bardsey, offshore of the Welsh coast. Two further points will be awarded for the first boat to pass Bishop Rock (Scilly Isles).

The crew of Edmond de Rothschild in Offshore 3

Sébastien Josse / Charles Caudrelier / Thomas Rouxel / Antoine Koch / Jean-Christophe Mourniac / Florent Chastel

Ranking for the Route des Princes (after the jury)
  1. Spindrift Racing (Yann Guichard) / 94 points *
  2. Edmond de Rothschild (Sébastien Josse) / 88 points
  3. Musandam – Oman Air (Sidney Gavignet) / 84 points
  4. Virbac Paprec 70 (Jean-Pierre Dick) / 66 points
* Spindrift Racing is ranked as DNS in offshore 3 as the crew were forced to retire after capsizing in the first inshore race in Dublin last Saturday. 
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