The question on everyone’s lips is “Will the Ultims be able to leave the Bassin Vauban tomorrow, Friday 4 November, as planned?” Ultimately, we’ll have to wait until early tomorrow morning, and the meeting organised by Race Management and the Ultim teams, to find out the answer.
Cyril Dardashti, director of Gitana Team, explains to us the reasons behind the uncertainty regarding the exit plan for the giants of the seas.
“Tomorrow, the forecasts are predicting a NNW’ly wind of around twenty knots with gusts. In our preparations for entering and exiting the lock we set ourselves an upper limit of around 15 knots, a wind strength up to which we thought we would be in control to enter and pass through the Naye lock. In a NNW’ly, the wind is perpendicular to the lock, which would flatten the boat against the side of the lock.
As a result, the idea is to push back the exit slot, so the wind has time to drop away a little. This should be the case from 17:00 hours. However, not all the Ultims will be able to exit at that point. In terms of the tide, we can no longer exit after 18:30 hours. As such, we’d have to wait until 02:00 hours the following morning to have more acceptable conditions both technically and meteorologically. We’d have preferred to have been able to go and moor off Dinard in daylight, but we’ll have to adapt.
We were all too aware on agreeing to enter the Bassin Vauban that the exit might be tricky as we have to shoehorn her in and out. However, when I see all the public coming along to greet us on the docks we have no regrets. It was well worth the effort,” enthused the boss of Gitana Team, before casting his mind forward to the race. “In terms of the weather, we’re kind of in the configuration we were dreading. There hasn’t been much breeze in Brittany in recent weeks. We even had a September and part of October where you could be forgiven for describing conditions as anticyclonic. Right now, the weather is typical of the season and the sailors will get scooped up by trains of depressions.”