The pace being set by the Route des Princes’ fleet is intense. Having set sail from Lisbon on Sunday at 1300 GMT, the trimarans devoured the Bay of Biscay in just one gulp, despite the muscly sea state: “Everything’s going very well aboard! We negotiated our way around the depression without mishap. We had big seas and it was pretty stressful as the boat was slamming a great deal and every wave caused her to suffer. However, with regard the wind, conditions remained quite manageable with no more than 25 knots. However, it’s hard to sleep or eat in these conditions.”
Sébastien Josse and his five crew did manage to benefit from a few hours’ respite last night though, as the fleet wove its way towards the Fastnet: “Last night, we got back into some close-hauled sailing… it’d been a while! We had between 15 and 20 knots and the crew got in some good rest as we knew the last few miles were going to call for everyone’s full attention. Our batteries are recharged now, we’ve managed to eat and we’re on the attack for the finish,” the skipper of Gitana Team confided, before discussing last night’s escapee: “We’re in a close-contact race and the minute someone gets a slight edge, those behind get on the attack and make up the lost ground. We’re sailing one-designs so that’s how you’d expect it to play out. Oman didn’t follow the same trajectory as ourselves and Spindrift. They wove their way along better than us and now have a slight lead so congratulations to them.”
Late this morning, the four MOD70s rounded the Fastnet, the second course mark of this offshore leg between Lisbon and Dublin. Leading the way, Sidney Gavignet and his men pocketed the two bonus points awarded at this mark. However, the minute they were around Fastnet Rock, the crew of Oman Air saw their adversaries hot on their heels again.Indeed the two hundred nautical miles still separating the one-designs from the finish certainly won’t be a walk in the park. In fact the generous breeze, which Edmond de Rothschild Group and its rivals benefited from in the Bay of Biscay, is but a distant memory. Ahead of them the forecast is showing light, fairly shifty winds: “For the end of this race, the weather is far from evident. The grib files are indicating a very light wind – between 5 and 10 knots – from the Tuscar headland, not to mention a stint punching tide. The name of the game will be to escape this zone of calms as best we can,” Sébastien Josse explained. Suffice to say that for this third day at sea, strategy will be the primary concern. And though this home straight will undoubtedly be stressful for the sailors, it promises to be thrilling to follow given that victory could go to any one of the teams: “anything can happen in the calms!” Sébastien Josse concluded.
Despite the uncertainty weighing over the weather situation during the final few miles, making ETAs especially tricky to gauge, the multihulls are likely to make the town of Dùn Laoghaire, just a few kilometres to the South of Dublin, tomorrow morning.
Offshore 2 (Lisbon – Dublin) – Ranking on 18 June at 1200 GMT
- Musandam – Oman Air (Sidney Gavignet) 184.5 miles from the goal
- Spindrift Racing (Yann Guichard) 0.7 miles behind the leader
- Virbac Paprec 70 (Jean-Pierre Dick) 1.4 miles behind the leader
- Edmond de Rothschild (Sébastien Josse) 2.3 miles behind the leader
The crew of Edmond de Rothschild in offshore 2 (Lisbon – Dublin)
Sébastien Josse (skipper)
Charles Caudrelier / Thomas Rouxel / Antoine Koch / Jean-Christophe Mourniac / Florent Chastel