The first day at sea for the solo sailors participating in the 13th edition of The Artemis Transat was, unfortunately, in line with the pre-start forecasts; notably light conditions with multiple variations in the wind direction, resulting in some stressful opening miles for the skippers. As Loïck Peyron confirmed at the start of the afternoon, there have been numerous manœuvres and sail changes aboard Gitana Eighty: “We've been through her entire sail wardrobe! The wind has been very shifty and it still is, which requires a fair amount of work on deck. We switched to gennaker overnight before hoisting our spinnaker” explained the skipper. These stressful conditions, which have allowed little sleep, have been made worse by poor visibility throughout the night; perfect conditions for ensuring the solo sailors are quickly plunged into the thick of the action.
At the 1400 UT ranking, conditions were favouring the 'southerners' in the leading group, which reflects Sébastien Josse's leadership and Michel Desjoyeaux' second place. Loïck Peyron, who is currently in 5th place in this ranking and 13 miles from the skipper of BT, has chosen to stick it out to the north of his rivals. Though Gitana Eighty is currently benefiting from less pressure than his friends, this is how Loïck Peyron has decided to attack the rounding to the southern edge of a zone of high pressure positioned over Ireland.
As he waits for the wind shift, the skipper of Gitana Eighty will once again have his work cut out over the coming hours, with a gybe in view. This is especially true given that the wind shift will be accompanied this evening by a freshening breeze, building to around 20-25 knots, before easing again early tomorrow morning: “The pattern is clear for the next 48 hours, but after that it's incomprehensible…” highlighted the skipper of Gitana Eighty. In familiarly serene form, Loïck Peyron didn't make the situation out to be worse than it is: “There's no point being overly irritated today, we'll have to wait till the situation settles down and concentrate on the conditions we encounter along the way for the time being.” As a result, the double winner of The Transat is concentrating on getting the most recent of the Gitana fleet to gain headway, and make the most of the variations and whims of the wind gods.
1400 UT ranking
1; BT (Sébastien Josse) 2,696 miles from the finish
2. Foncia (Michel Desjoyeaux) 5.3 miles from the leader
3. PRB (Vincent Riou) 6.6 miles back
4. Generali (Yann Eliès) 10.8 miles back
5. Gitana Eighty (Loïck Peyron) 12.8 miles back
6. Brit Air (Armel Le Cléach') 13.9 miles back