Knitting in An All Too Peaceful Pacific
Caught up in the lighter winds at the back of a front during the hours of the European night, daytime for the leaders, has seen second placed Charlie Dalin concede handful of miles to leader Yannick Bestaven. Looking briefly at comparisons with the 2016-17 race – this edition is more than six days slower – Dalin observed this morning, “I am I’m looking at Armel’s track of four years ago and, yes, he’s way ahead of us. So we are not going fast, are we? I would prefer it to be a little more ‘sporty’ and a bit less comfortable ”.
The solo skipper who originates from Normandy might not exactly be feeling short changed in the south Pacific Ocean racing at 55 degrees south – the so called Furious Fifties –yesterday seeing 15 degrees in the boat, blue skies and sunshine and moderate winds but the gybes between the lighter winds to the north and the ice barrier to the south become wearing and there is little strategy involved.
“Yes I am knitting a bit, pure New Zealand wool!” joked Dalin of the zig zag gybing path he is constrained to slide eastwards on.
“Last night the front passed over me, we had been racing with it for a long time, it was a really slow moving front and unfortunately for me I had a fairly light breeze after the front, so I have lost a bit of ground on Yannick and also a bit of ground on Thomas. And now my wind is a bit different from Yannick and so that is why I cannot make the same course and yes, another front is arriving towards me and I will gybe as the wind turns and we will start a long series of gybes between the ice zone and the high pressure. Unfortunately the high pressure is moving east at roughly the same pace as us and so it gonna be the same scenario for a few days, stuck between the ice zone and the high pressure and so we will have to do a lot of gybes to stay in the wind. After that then we could be upwind for a while. For now I am focusing on my short term strategy and everything is good on board, my repair seems to be holding. I am still in the process of learning still how to use the boat without the foil it is a new way to trim the boat on starboard, the main thing is my repair seems to be holding. That is good news and so I will probably gybe fairly soon.” Said the Apivia skipper.
After being 59 miles behind Bestaven last night and the gap widened this morning to 90 miles. Maitre Coq has been at 14 knots on average during the last 24 hours Dalin has been around 11.5 to 12.
Meantime Germany’s Boris Herrmann (SeaExplorer-Yacht Club de Monaco) is leading the charge behind, working close to the ice wall in better breeze, and has closed to within 109 miles of third placed Thomas Ruyant.
Louis Burton (Bureau Vallée 2) is heading at low speed (9.2 knots) for Macquarie Island, which he should join in the next few hours, to repair his rigging. The good news is that since last night the skipper from Saint Malo can again rely on an autopilot which is good news as Burton hadn’t slept since Thursday …