War of nerves 50 miles from Plymouth
The end of the third offshore leg of the Route des Princes is very much living up to expectations. Lamenting a deficit of thirty miles or so in relation to the leader yesterday afternoon, Sébastien Josse and his men were back in business this morning. Benefiting from the general stalling of the fleet, due to a windless zone offshore of the Scillies, the trimaran fitted out by Baron Benjamin de Rothschild had closed to within 5 miles of its adversary. At 1400 GMT, the separation had come down still further and Edmond de Rothschild was positioned within 1.6 miles of the Omani one-design. Whilst the leading MOD70s are just fifty miles or so from the finish, it would seem that there’s everything to play for: the shifty winds they’ve been battling in since last night, associated with the fact that they’re now punching tide, isn’t making life any easier on the water.

Thanks to an inshore option along the Irish coast as they passed Tuskar during the first night of the race, the crew of Oman Air thought they’d been successful in taking to their heels. The wind gods clearly had other ideas though. Indeed last night, as forecast by Sébastien Josse yesterday evening, the trimarans stalled in a windless zone on the approach to the Scillies and Bishop Rock lighthouse. This buffer zone enabled the men of Gitana Team to make up their deficit. Since then, Edmond de Rothschild and its rivals have been trying to make headway towards Eddystone lighthouse, the final course mark before the finish. However, the very shifty wind conditions are making life difficult for the sailors, who will just have to be patient over the final few miles of this third leg.

At the 1400 GMT ranking, Edmond de Rothschild was 52 miles from the finish line, set at the entrance to Plymouth Sound, and was just 1.6 miles astern of Oman Air. The latest ETA from Race Management indicated that the first MOD70s are likely to cross the finish line at around 1900 GMT. However, as its name suggests, this is just an estimate and things may change according to the weather conditions. This is particularly true given that the multihulls have the ability to create their own wind and the speeds can vary very quickly with just one or two knots’ difference in the sails.

Passage time at the Bishop Rock mark GMT
  1. Oman Air-Musandam (Sidney Gavignet) at 0647 hours
  2. Edmond de Rothschild (Sébastien Josse) at 0710 hours
  3. Virbac-Paprec70 (Jean-Pierre Dick) at 0915 hours
Ranking for Offshore 3 on 26 June at 1400 GMT
  1. Oman Air - Musandam (Sidney Gavignet), 50.6 miles from the finish
  2. Edmond de Rothschild (Sébastien Josse), 1.6 miles behind the leader
  3. Virbac Paprec 70 (Jean-Pierre Dick), 26.7 miles behind the leader

Spindrift Racing (Yann Guichard), DNS


The crew of Edmond de Rothschild in Offshore 3

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



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