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Rhythm of the Race First bit of rough stuff for the fleet. As fleet neared Cape Cape Finisterre the expected front came through. It gave 45 knots of wind and steep seas. How steep and nasty were the seas? According to Ellen Macarthur: "At one point as we smashed down in to a wave, the carbon shelving on which the stores are stacked collapsed."
1. Aquitaine Innovations Yves Parlier 43:1 North
2. PRB Michel Desjoyeaux 43:2 North 11:4 West + 6 miles
3. Kingfisher Ellen Macarthur 43:2 North 10 West +17 Miles
Fleet round up section
A performance of note is that of Bernard Stamm sailing the race's only Roland Design, Armor Lux Foies Gras Bizac. He is 4th just 10 miles behind Kingfisher.
The group that stayed offshore that includes Solidares and Union Bancaire Privee have sailed into winds that are letting them sail downwind at 12 knots compared to the inshore boats rate of 8 knots.
Raphael Dinelli (Sogal Extenso): "I had 50-52 knots of wind."
Catherine Chabaud Whirlpool "Thereís more wind out here than expected, I went a bit further West to cross through the front, no idea how everyone else has done. Itís Russian roulette for sure!"
Ellen Macarthur Kingfisher ". Last night when the front passed through I was sailing upwind with storm jib and 2 reefs in 45 knots and the sea was huge and horrible. the wind turned from 200į all the way round to 00į , direct from the North!"
Michel Desjoyeaux PRB ". I am helming myself quite a bit through these heavy conditions and I canít wait to leave the helm to itself and Iíve an idea it wonít be long now."
Eric Durmont Euroka Un Univers de Services
"Laborious night pushing the boat in 47 - 50 knots of wind, slaloming
between the cargo ships under three reefs and staysail - pretty
Current weather conditions For the leading boats closer to the coast Northerly winds. For the boats more offshore NW winds.
Weather Forecast As the fleet sails down the coast of Spain and Portugal to the Canary Islands the wind should gradually turn west so it is off their beam. Better wind is expected offshore. However, there is a limit to how far west the boats can go due to having to pass the Canaries.
What does it all mean
Two items of significance today. One, the boats that stayed west did receive some benefit and the skippers must feel good about their weather call. Two, the fleet passed its first major test of the weather 'cutting up rough'. Although a long nite, with the boats coming through, this too should add to their skippers bank of confidence.