A magical night in the tradewinds
Yesterday the Canaries, today Cape Verde the 70’ trimarans leading the Transat Jacques Vabre fleet are ticking off the islands as well as the miles. Some 600 miles have been covered over the past 24 hours, equating to an average speed of over 25 knots to sum up the day’s first figures. It has to be said that since yesterday, the one-design skippers have finally been able to enjoy optimum gliding conditions on settled seas swept by a well-established tradewind. Despite this hellish pace, life is gently becoming more comfortable aboard the trimaran fitted out by Baron Benjamin de Rothschild. Indeed, after four days at sea characterised by a disjointed rhythm and conditions not conducive to physical recovery, Sébastien Josse and Charles Caudrelier have been able to recharge their batteries.

The seas have flattened out and the north-easterly winds are firmly in position, a configuration which is enabling the leading trimarans to rack up some fine average speeds on the way to Itajaí: “It was a night coloured by a straight course through the tradewinds,”Antoine Koch explains, “though they still had to cope with some slight oscillations in the intensity of the breeze”.

At the 0700 GMT ranking, the trimaran fitted out by Baron Benjamin de Rothschild was still holding onto the lead she acquired over her adversary along the Iberian Peninsula. And even though her pursuer’s deficit has greatly reduced in comparison with yesterday evening, over 70 miles still separate Gitana XV from Oman Air-Musandam.“Oman has made up ground in terms of miles, but in relation to the ground gained to windward Edmond de Rothschild managed to slip along nicely overnight,” explains the onshore router for the Edmond de Rothschild duo, who is clearly entirely satisfied with the trajectory traced by Sébastien Josse and Charles Caudrelier last night.

Positioned some 150 miles from Cape Verde shortly before 0800 GMT this Tuesday, Edmond de Rothschild is likely to leave the Portuguese archipelago abeam of her late this afternoon or early this evening. As was the case when they passed Madeira and the Canaries, the sailors will be keeping an eye out for the wind shadow created by the islands which, if poorly negotiated, could be synonymous with less wind in the sails and a subsequent loss of ground in relation to their adversary.

Night message from Charles Caudrelier: “ A magical night: 20 knots of breeze, the first night without a fleece and the first calm night, albeit it at 30 knots! We’re making the most of the conditions to get some decent sleep. After three years on the Volvo Ocean Race with ten crew aboard, I’d forgotten my many years of solo and double-handed sailing, where you suffer from lack of sleep… I’m also discovering how wearing it is sailing multihulls shorthanded and in race mode, as we’re having to live with the constant stress of capsizing. That element doesn’t exist when you’re sailing a monohull and I’d underestimated it; in fact you’re helming all the time as the boat performs a lot better and it’s more reassuring. That’s another significant difference with monohulls. It requires concentration, so it causes fatigue. All that to tell you that I’m off to get some sleep because in 90 minutes I’ll be getting right back into that and I love it… And yes, I complain, but I wouldn’t give up by seat aboard the MOD 70 Edmond de Rothschild for all the world, as these boats are simply magical!”

Ranking on Tuesday 12 November at 0700 GMT:
  1. Edmond de Rothschild (Josse-Caudrelier) 3,168.5 miles to go /25.7kt average over 2 hours
  2. Oman Air-Musandam (Gavignet-Foxall) 72.7 miles behind the leader /25.7kt average over 2 hours
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