lunedì 7 novembre 2016

Vendée Globe - Foilers and other favourites out in front

At 1700hrs UTC, five hours after the start of the Vendée Globe from Les Sables d’Olonne, five of the six leading boats are foil assisted with all of the French favourites doing particularly well. With 24,391 miles left to sail on the theoretical route for the leader, Sébastien Josse, it is of course ridiculous to talk about the rankings at this point, but from the outset, the favourites with or without foils have had a good start to the race.
The three frontrunners, Sébastien Josse (Edmond de Rothschild), Morgan Lagravière (Safran) and Vincent Riou (PRB) are within a mile of each other. The latter has confirmed from the outset that he has the fastest IMOCA with traditional daggerboards. The only skipper on an older generation boat that has been adapted to have foils fitted, Jérémie Beyou (Maître CoQ), is up there too in sixth place.

As predicted before the start, the wind angle and speed and the sea state appear to be favouring the foilers with the leading non-French skipper, Alex Thomson on his foil assisted Hugo Boss 2.5 miles behind the leader in seventh place. In these first few hours of the race, the fleet remains relatively close together with the first fifteen boats within five miles of the frontrunner. In this group, we find one other non-French skipper, the Dutch sailor Pieter Heerema in thirteenth place on his new generation boat.
Others further back like American, Rich Wilson (Great American IV), Nandor Fa (Spirit of Hungary) and Irishman, Enda O’Coineen are sailing along more cautiously, having clearly asserted that their aim is to complete the non-stop solo round the world race.

Little change is expected in the conditions during the night with the leaders due to sail past Cape Finisterre on Monday morning. We might therefore expect the small separation we have seen this afternoon grow over the next few hours, remembering that the current wind angle is what the new foilers were looking for.

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