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8 June 2000 Issue # 211
Today's Sailing News
Europe 1 Transat: Three boats lose rig
Wednesday was a day of change for the Europe 1 Transat fleet. The Class I monohull fleet has finally seen some distance occur between boats. More importantly 3 class I monohulls have lost their masts.
In order of losing their rig the dismasted skippers are: Eric Dumont, Yves Parlier and Thomas Coville.
Pariler had been near the lead from his position on the fleets north's side. Coville had started slowly, but was still in the first rank of favorites.
Parlier's dismasting occurred while sailing with a triple reefed main and a staysail. Both Coville and Parlier are under jury rig and sailing to France.
Of the boats still racing, PRB has maintained the monohull lead. PRB is 16 miles ahead of 2nd place Kingfisher and also slightly to the north. 3rd is Dominique Wavre on Union Bancaire.
The multi hulls have seen a changing of leaders. For the first time Francis Joyon and Eure Et Loir are in the lead. Previous leader Alain Gautier now trails by 6 miles.
The distance between the fleets is about 300 miles. This puts the mono's nearer the rough weather of the low pressure. They have about 20 knots of westerly wind. The multi's are nearing the problematic high pressure and in 13 or so knots of north west wind. For the multi's they need to get just close enough to the center of a high. Too close and they can lose all wind.
From Groupama Franck Camas comments on the multi hull fleet's situation: "Gautier, Joyon and Nélias and myself, we are all on a pretty logical route, not much reason to change direction and now the anticyclone is ahead it’s time to take the opportunities to be gained in the South."
From the monohull fleet Group 4's Mike Golding says, "Throughout all the wind rose and fell and the seas just rose."
Ellen Macarthur of Kingfisher concurs on the tough sailing caused by the low: "Its been pretty hard going, the wind has been changing from 20 to 35 knots - that makes it tough and physical sail changing."
The increase in wind has boosted average speeds. The multi hull leader now shows an average speed of 12.8 knots an increase of .8 knots in a day. This is above the average speed of the outright race record. PRB the leading mono hull shows an average speed of 9.4 knots and increase of .7 knots in a day. This is 2+ knots above the speed of the monohull record.
A look at Ellen Macarthur at
the nav station
Photo by Offshore Challenges
The tough, punishing sailing could continue. The high pressure effectively blocks a move to the south. This will probably mean the monohulls will tack to the north and continue to beat into north and west winds.
So far it has been the northern boats that look best. Fila's Giovanni Soldini remains down at 46° latitude. Soldini may have been making certain he kept Fila away from the low and intact.
Now, in addition to correctly calling and managing the high pressure, the fleet must keep their boats intact.
Club Med on the Discovery Route
Yesterday morning at 0938 GMT the recently launched catamaran Club Med started a run at the Discovery Route Record. The Discovery Route runs from Cadiz Spain, to San Salvador Bahamas via the Canary Islands. The Discovery in the title is an illusion to Christopher Columbus' traveling to the New World via this same sea route.
The distance of this route is 3897 miles. The current record is 12 days 25 hours 25 minutes and 26 seconds. If Club Med fails to crack this record finishing in under 15 hours 31 minutes will still ensure qualification for The Race.
For this passage Club Med will have a crew of 14 co-skippered by Grant Dalton and Bruno Peyron.
The first 20 hours at sea saw Club Med cover 339 miles an average of 16.5 knots. The average speed of the current record is 14.66 knots. Currently Club Med is transiting a lite air area still on the first leg of the route to the Canary Islands.
Once near the Canaries Club Med should pick up stiff north to north west winds and pick up in speed.
Still two comments made by Bruno Peyron are instructive about the speed potential of Club Med: "At the moment there is less than 10 knots of wind, but the boat is doing 15-16 knots under gennaker and full main" Additionally Peyron states: ". We are being extremely vigilant about learning how to sail this boat that we don¹t know very well yet. As soon as the wind picks up, we never stress the structure more than 80% of its possibilities."
Clearly as the winds pick up and the crew scales Club Med's learning/speed curve we can expect some great speed sailing from the catamaran.
Farr 40 Worlds Day 2
Day 2 of the Farr 40 worlds was another 2 race day. Winds were from the northwest and shifty. Race 3 had more wind than race 4.
In the first race Victric 5 from England was 1st, with Atlanti 2nd and Gunsmoke 3rd. In the days 2nd race Southern Star was 1st, Pheonix 2nd and Mascalonze Latino 3rd.
With the 1st race of the day won by an English boat, and the second by an Australian team, you can see this is a real world championship.
Throughout the fleet places were swapped as the breeze provided shifts of up to 30°. At day's end Pheonix had hopped to 1st place with 28 points. 2nd is Orion with 29 and 3rd is Samba Pa Ti which won the first two races.
Samba Pa Ti is evidence that nothing can be taken for granted in this fleet. It should take the full regatta to determine a winner.
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Report from Spirit of the Great Lakes: "Things are much nicer so far today. The seas still very large but the sun is out making things feel better anyway. Have not seen another STAR boat or commercial ship since Sunday."
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