Pitch black in broad daylight
On this fourth day at sea, the novelty doesn’t come in the hierarchy of the top trio but rather the switch to stealth mode’ by Foncia at the 0700 UTC standing, then by Edmond de Rothschild Group three hours later. Sébastien Josse and Michel Desjoyeaux, whose crews are involved in a hand to hand battle, decided to benefit from the opportunity given by race management, namely to disappear from the position reports for nine hours in a row. In this way, the two boats tailing leader, Spindrift Racing, won’t be visible on the cartography throughout Wednesday.

Stealth mode, explanations

In the sailing instructions, Jacques Caraës, the race director for the Krys Ocean Race, opted to propose a ‘stealth’ mode reported as follows: “Once during the race, any crew competing in the Krys Ocean Race has the opportunity to disappear from the position reports for a maximum duration of 9 hours: from 12 hours after the start to the longitude of the Fastnet.”The first to benefit from this rule, this Wednesday morning, the crew of Michel Desjoyeaux wasn’t making any secret of his intentions:Our aim is to put a bit of pressure on our direct rival, Edmond de Rothschild Group to push them to make a mistake. The route to Brest may appear straight and as such, switching to stealth mode may seem pointless, but we’ve decided to use our right, because despite everything, our speeds and our courses… still provide some interesting information for our rivals,” admitted Sébastien Col, Foncia’s navigator-tactician, during the noon radio link-up.

Aboard the trimaran fitted out by Baron Benjamin de Rothschild, which has been managing to fend off the attacks of its pursuer since setting out from New York, naturally the response wasn’t long in coming! In turn, three hours later, during the following standing, Sébastien Josse and his men disappeared from the official cartography. The most modern of the Gitana trimarans will again be visible in nine hours’ time, for the 1900 UTC position report. At that point we’ll be able to see if the plan of attack drawn up by the strategists on Foncia has paid off or not.

The leader of the fleet is now just 707.7 miles from the finish this noon. According to the latest routing, the first trimarans should be approaching the Scillies, the compulsory course mark which they must leave to starboard, by Thursday morning. However, an announcement is likely to be made over the course of the afternoon, once race management have made their decision about the course. Indeed, Edmond de Rothschild Group and its adversaries have devoured the North Atlantic and the theoretical 2,950 miles of the course so quickly that the organisers are currently considering an intermediary course. With the Tonnerres de Brest opening their doors on Friday morning, it is hoped that the MOD 70s won’t get to the maritime festival too early… Indeed Race Director Jacques Caraës has some onshore imperatives to satisfy too, whilst also offering a solution which is acceptable on a competitive and maritime level. In fact the sailors are tired by their crossing due to the windy, testing conditions that they’ve encountered along the course and the fatigue is very evident in the voices from the sea. This is especially true given that the conditions for making landfall on the continental shelf are forecast to be boisterous with 25 knots of breeze and big seas.

Aboard Musandam – Oman Sail, the crew has been able to reach virtually the same speeds as the top three trimarans, despite its port foil damage, which occurred on the second night of racing. Indeed, after discussions with the architects of the one-design and the class’ shore team, Sidney Gavignet’s men have replaced the broken foil with the one that is still intact, but usually situated on the starboard float (the trimarans are equipped with two symmetrical appendages on the floats). To make the operation possible, the appendage in perfect condition was inserted ‘head down’ into the damaged foil casing. It is an ingenious system which is enabling Musandam – Oman Sail to get back into the race, even though it’ll be difficult to make up the miles lost in relation to the leaders, barring incident, between now and Brest.

Standing on Wednesday 11 July at 1000 UTC
  1. Spindrift Racing – 707.7 miles from the finish
  2. Edmond de Rothschild Group – Stealth mode
  3. Foncia – Stealth mode
  4. Musandam – Oman Sail 209.5 miles from the leader
  5. Race for Water – 456.3 miles from the leader

The crew of Edmond de Rothschild Group

Sébastien Josse (skipper, helmsman)

Antoine Koch (navigator - helmsman)

Christophe Espagnon (trimmer - helmsman)

David Boileau (trimmer - helmsman)

Thomas Rouxel (trimmer - helmsman)

Florent Chastel (bowman)

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