On board Region Bretagne CMB Performance Gaston Morvan and Claire Le Berre in seventh place Photo © Region Betagne CMB Performance
Transat Paprec, into an uncertain night
The 11 duos racing the Transat Paprec passed Cape Finisterre from lunchtime today after a fast approach across the second half of the Bay of Biscay when they saw winds of 25-30kts.
Camille Bertel and Pierre Leboucher (Cap Ingélec) were still in the lead, setting the pace down the north Portuguese coast. With all of the fleet taking the shortest route, inside the Cape Finisterre TSS, they have seen their lead cut to less than a mile over Skipper MACIF (Loïs Berrehar / Charlotte Yven) and Mutuelle Bleue (Corentin Horeau / Pauline Courtois) as they emerge from the east side of the exclusion zone.
The second night at sea was much tougher than the first in the strong gusty winds, "The night was wet. It was fast and sport There was quite a bit of wind, we were under spinnaker and we didn't get much sleep." Reported Arnaud Machado (Groupe Hélios – From Léman to the Ocean) at the 10:00 a.m. radio session this morning.
Erwan Tabarly, coach of the Pole Finistère, who won this race from Concarneau to Saint Barth's when it was the AG2R predicted today, "The wind will be very unstable after they have passed the TSS. Then it will really ease off at the southern tip of the TSS. They will see about 5 knots of wind with a slight westerly swell. It is difficult to see precisely what will happen after that because they are getting into a transition zone. That means even boats close to each other may see very different wind conditions. It will be a complicated, challenging evening and night."
"The wind will turn south ahead of a cold front from a disturbance that will circulate off the Atlantic," explains Cyrille Duchesne, meteorologist at Météo Consult. "The sailors will pick up speed off the Iberian coast but will be sailing downwind in a wind that will force them to put some southwesterly in their course. Throughout Wednesday morning, the southerly wind will finally build to between ten and 15 knots."
Tabarly cites the exit of a high pressure ridge at Madeira as a critical stage of the course which takes the fleet first to a turning mark NW of La Palma in the Canary Islands.