The rise of the wind in the extreme northwest of Spain has resulted in a navigation significantly faster for the 12 professional and international crews competing from the French city of Lorient to the Portuguese coast of Cascais, in the first stage of The Ocean Race Europe. In the second level of the competition, the fleet will stopover in Alicante from June 9 to 13.
During the first hours of the stage, while the vessels crossed the Bay of Biscay with winds between light and moderate, the navigators were engaged in a grueling series of gybes. Nevertheless, once the length of Cape Finisterre has been passed, crews have enjoyed a navigation with hardly any maneuvers While they go towards the obligatory point of passage, a virtual beacon located in the middle of the Atlantic.
The IMOCA 60 LinkedOut Thomas Ruyant’s French was the first boat to make the last jibe westward, Following almost immediately por el 11th Hour Racing Team, with American flag, skippered by Charlie Enright.
As the wind progressively increased, the two lead ships headed west with good angle and a great sea state, what they allowed to average about 27 knots of speed by boat for almost a couple of hours. These impressive statistics are a clear indicator of the performance potential of the fully crewed IMOCA 60s. If this pace were to be maintained for 24 hours, it would be a record pace.
“Yesterday night we were fast, very fast “, says Séb Josse from CORUM L’Épargne, fourth in the IMOCA standings.”We were sailing at more than 30 knots. But now the wind is starting to drop a bit … We have to manage the transitions, since the wind will die down and go to the leftso we hope to use a bigger headsail and sail in very light winds. But the transitions will be very fast … and during the next night we will go very fast again“.
Josse refers to a climate transition that will bring looser winds that will likely make ships at the tail of the fleet regain distances as the leaders approach the waypoint. But the party foresees that conditions are strengthened again As the fleet gybes in the layline towards the finish line in Cascais.
In the VO65, the Mirpuri Foundation Racing Team Portuguese, in which the Catalan Willy Altadill sails, remains at the forefront of the fleet of seven ships with an 11-mile lead about him AkzoNobel Ocean Racing Dutch, skippered by Chris Nicholson, who is second.
The speeds in this fleet of monotypes have been maintained very uniform, and all crews have managed to get their ships to go over 21 knots, with solo 10 miles apart between the top five ships.
“It is fascinating how the rivals are so close, even after so many hours of racing; you wake up after your shift, you go out on deck and see the other boats very close, ”said Deimantė Jarmalavičiūtė of AmberSail-2. “And being in the ocean is an incredible feeling.”
With the forecast that the conditions of strong wind will resume after passing the Atlantic beacon, arrival time in Cascais for the first ships it is estimated that it will be tomorrow, June 2, at noon.
Through its website you can consult the tracking with real-time ranking at www.theoceanrace.com
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.