“Right from the start, there was a front to pick up on to the southwest of Ireland and we always wanted to stay as south as possible in relation to the rest of the fleet so as to anticipate the rotation of the wind after this front. It amounted to a slightly riskier option than climbing to the northwest because there was a little less wind, but Lionel has sailed really well and been able to keep up a brisk pace. When the wind did switch, Gitana 11 was one of the first to gybe a bit ahead of this front which was breaking up. Since Tuesday morning, he has kept all the canvass up (mainsail and gennaker) and is really shifting. He gybed just after the midday position and is therefore the furthest forward, to the southwest of the rest of the fleet.
He now needs to negotiate a low-pressure front located east of the Azores: the trimarans are going to pass to its north but it's necessary to know whether to shave the area of low pressure or to drop down further west. The archipelago won't be easy to cross and it's still too early to know the best level to tackle it at, late in the afternoon on Wednesday. This is because there will be squalls while passing the islands with gusts of over 30 knots. The Azores are therefore a key point in the race as you've got the Bermuda anticyclone to the west and between these areas of high pressure and the Azores low-pressure front, there's a little gap off the coast of Flores, i.e. an area of unstable and low wind. Consequently, it's essential to deal well with Wednesday, as it will to a large extent determine what follows: whether to go east of Santa Maria, east of Terceira, west of Faial, north of Flores… After that, the routes will be fixed until the trade winds, with the finish in Guadeloupe expected on 7 or 8 November.”