The cards changed hands on Wednesday morning, with the group moving east of the DST having taken the advantage.
On board Express
As in any good stage of a Solitaire, the upheavals invite themselves while a purring of the tempo borders on boredom. The leaders of the day before, progressing with their feet to the floor in the Irish Sea from the Isle of Man, saw their superb take a serious hit behind the ears, the wind dying off as night approached. Especially since in front of them, a fairly wide DST (no-navigation zone), a real obstacle to circumvent, presented itself in front of their bows. The choice was tough. Turn right or left to approach the descent to Land’s End, the English Finistère.
In the 4h ranking read on the VHF, Alexis Loison (REEL Group) was always at the party. Four hours later, Gaston Morvan (Région Bretagne-CMB Performance), Élodie Bonafous (Quéguiner-La Vie en Rose) and RomainLe Gall (Centre excellence voile-Secours Populaire 17) took control. Ped to the East of the DST, the wind returned, they also took advantage of a favorable current along the English coast. Progressing twice as fast as their Western opponents.
Placed in the West of the playing field, very far from the competitors trying to upset the hierarchy, Express had joined the leader of the pack as the sky began to redden. A skeptical Alexis Loison (REEL Group): “I have just picked up a light southerly wind of 7 knots and am tacking. The conditions were very changeable that night and I couldn’t sleep much. Fortunately I had anticipated this yesterday. But from time to time I tend to fall asleep a little at the helm. In the ranking broadcast at 5 a.m., I’m in the lead, it’s obviously pleasant. Now I don’t know where the others are. I lost them at nightfall, I was then five or six miles ahead. It’s not that every day in Figaro.»
The Cherbourgeois continued to cross his fingers: “The playing field is vast and we may be able to tack until the finish. There are still quite a few options available. Last night, for example, I byped the DST on one side and I have no idea if the others did the same as me. I guess they didn’t or I would see them. I decided to go my own way. It’s stimulating and stressful at the same time. After that it’s nice to try options. I was angry with myself for not having been the trigger on the first stage. You have to know how to let go!»
Same doubt for Guillaume Pirouelle (Normandy Region) also explaining his choice of route: “It was going pretty well so far but we got caught in the slack yesterday. Since then, it’s been very random. We do with what we have in relation to the current we encounter. I went outside the DST because when we arrived there was too much head current inside. There is now a little bit of wind and I am in a pack of four to five boats. I knew the stage was going to be complicated. The first night had been very devastating for some, but nothing was over. You have to stay focused because the conditions can be like that until Roscoff. There is a way to win or lose.» 186 miles remained to be covered for the new leader, Gaston Morvan. Depending on the weather conditions, an arrival in the Bay of Morlaix is not expected before Thursday afternoon.