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Route des Princes - Lisbon enters full scale festival mode

by Sabina Mollart Rogerson on 12 Jun 2013
2013 Route des Princes © Route des Princes
In the 2013 Route des Princes, Lisbon will be in full scale festival mode when fleet is in town over the next few days with tens of thousands of locals and visitors taking to the streets for the Popular Saints Festival and in particular the Feast of Saint Anthony. On the steep terraces, in the historic narrow streets and along the many steps ‘caldo verde’ soup and sardines are offered in pop up restaurants and stalls set under swathes of bright decorations accompanied by the sound of arraial folk music. As the patron saint of weddings many couples and hopeful brides celebrate with the whole of the city given over to partying, dancing and eating and passing gifts of sweet basil. Fortune readers are part and parcel of Lisbon’s big festival. Their skills might have been called on today by some of the MOD70 and Multi 50 crews trying to find out what will happen to the breeze between Gibraltar and the finish line in Lisbon – especially on the stage to Cape Saint Vincent, but Sébastien Josse, skipper of Edmond de Rothschild appeared to think the future belongs to Oman Air-Musandam. With a lead which remained relatively steady around 20 miles today, Josse stated that he thinks that Sidney Gavignet’s crew might be uncatchable.

'Oman are not really catchable. But up to Spindrift is open, but at the same time we need to keep Virbac behind us in third place' Josse said today. With some 230 miles to sail for Oman Air-Musandan at mid-afternoon today, the winner might be expected in Lisbon during Wednesday afternoon depending on how the wind holds up tonight on the Bay of Cadiz. An upwind leg into a N’ly wind is expected as the fleet climbs the Portuguese coast towards Lisbon tomorrow. Gavignet’s team had lost a few small miles to Spindrift late this afternoon as they slowed slightly, getting into the more gentle breezes off the Bay of Cadiz, but the ‘accordion effect’ should favour whoever reaches the corner of Portugal first where winds should be fresher. The gap from second placed Spindrift back to Edmond de Rothschild had grown to some 52 miles, as the chasing duo have had slightly less wind through the earlier part of the day. Most of the crews of the MOD70’s who spoke on the live radio call this morning affirmed that the shape of this leg was really set on Sunday night at the Benicarlo mark and down to Cabo de La Nao just south of departure city Valencia. Crew from both Edmond de Rothschild and Virbac Paprec 70 reported how Spindrift had spirited themselves away in one private puff of breeze when they were only 100 metres from them and they have no real tactical opportunities since then. 'That explains the differences between us and Oman which stayed offshore. At the coast, nearer the land it was very random. Spindrift managed to find one puff and escaped and we were still stuck.' Josse reported, ' But that is the game, there is always a reason for success and this time we were not part of it. So we need to remain patient and deal with what we have. With our deficit we have a bit less wind and the current is against us. Tonight we expect only light winds from the NW which will get stronger as we approach Cape St Vincent.' The match race for the leadership of the Multi50 class continues apace. Lalou Roucayrol’s Arkéma - Region Aquitaine and second placed Actual of Yves Le Blevec are not so much racing in sight of each other as nearly on top of one another. Roucayrol’s team were just over half a mile ahead of Le Blevec’s after leading past Tarifa 75 minutes after Oman Air Musandam. Gavignet and crew also won the two Gibraltar bonus points, adding to the two they earned Sunday night at Benicarlo. Mayeul Riffet from Arkema – Acquitaine said today: 'We are tacking all the time and the goal is not to lose too much speed in the manoeuvres. Sometimes that works. Since yesterday we have been in visual contact together. We managed to get into the lead yesterday taking a more offshore option and we got a little more wind. We have been working hard with a lot of stacking. We are going to make the whole course upwind.' Meantime Prince de Bretagne, Lionel Lemonchois’ 80 footer has been enjoying some close racing with Spindrift though had extended away this afternoon and was some 12 miles to leeward of Oman Air Musandam which was 120 miles downwind of Cape St Vincent. Passage times at Gibraltar Oman Air Musandam at 9h15 UTC Arkema – Région Aquitaine at 10h30 Actual at 10h45 Spindrift at 11h15 Maxi 80 Prince de Bretagne at 11h25 Rankings at 1500hrs UTC Multi 50 1. Arkéma - Region Aquitaine, Lalou Roucayrol, 232.39 miles to finish 2. Actual, Yves Le Blevec at + 0.70 miles to leader 3. FenêtréA - Cardinal, Erwan Le Roux at + 19.02 miles to leader MOD70 1. Oman Air - Musandam, Sidney Gavignet, +212.19 miles to finish 2. Spindrift, Yann Guichard + 16.12 miles to leader 3. Edmond de Rothschild, Sébastien Josse at +68.77 miles to leader 4. Virbac - Paprec 70, Jean-Pierre Dick at +77.32 miles Ultime 1. Maxi 80 Prince de Bretagne, Lionel Lemonchois, +228.14 miles to finish

Erwan Tabarly (Spindrift) 'We are manoeuvring all the time and so have the crew on deck. There is a little traffic right now but it is north of us in the DST, you are not allowed to go in there. Until this morning we were in regular watches but the last couple of hours everyone has been involved. We reduced sail to pass the Strait and have been tacking regularly. We have been with Prince de Bretagne since last night and is cool to race with them. For me it is the first time I have passed Gibraltar in a race. The Figaro rarely goes this way and so I am enjoying it.' Sébastien Josse (Edmond de Rothschild) 'Well we expected a Mediterranean stage and we have got one good and proper. The differences we see just now were really established on the first night when we approached Cabo de la Nau. That’s a bit frustrating because we were in the game and ahead of the fleet. But along with Spindrift, Virbac Paprec we decided to stay close to the coast. There, there is a DST (traffic separation scheme) to comply with like Gibraltar. That explains the differences between us and Oman which stayed offshore. At the coast, nearer the land it was very random. Spindrift managed to find one puff and escaped and we were still stuck. But that is the game, there is always a reason for success and this time we were not part of it. So we need to remain patient and deal with what we have. With our deficit we have a bit less wind and the current is against us. Tonight we expect only light winds from the NW which will get stronger as we approach Cape St Vincent. It is still close and it is not over yet because from Cape St Vincent it will be upwind into the N’ly. After the first night when we were all working on deck a lot the crew was very tired but last night we were able to recharge our batteries a bit and so we can be fit for this next bit at 100%. We need to be on our game, focused and ready for anything that we might not see on the files. Oman are not really catchable. But to Spindrift it is all open, but at the same time we need to keep Virbac behind us in third place.' Mayeul Riffet (Arkema – Région Acquitaine) 'There is lots going on. Tomi our Italian is in the kitchen making pasta. Lalou is on the helm and Quentin our nipper is listening here with me. We are tacking all the time and the goal is not to lose too much speed in the manoeuvres. Sometimes that works. Since yesterday we have been in visual contact together. We managed to get into the lead yesterday taking a more offshore option and we got a little more wind. We have been working hard, a lot of stacking. We have not slept much but that’s not what we are out here for. We had 25kts of wind and then it dropped away. Here we are getting out of the Straits with about 15kts and it is from the NW. We are going to make the whole course upwind. I have never seen the Med like this, we have taken two days to get to Gibraltar. Roland ‘Bilou’ Jourdain (Virbac-Paprec 70) 'From the point of view of the weather it's been great because sometimes the Alboran Sea may be harder. We had a nice night but in terms of the ranking it could have been better! Edmond de Rothschild is not too far from us and so we can keep pushing. This is the Mediterranean at its best! There has not been much in terms of tactics and strategy. There was the game to the first buoy, Oman did well to sneak away to the east and we ended up with three boats near the land, we managed to get out of the light winds there with Spindrift and then when they were less than 100 metres away they were able to escape from us. That really is a truly Mediterranean scenario! It is the way it goes but sometimes it's annoying. Now, we have a wind of about 10 knots, the Strait of Gibraltar is getting closes, the sea is calm.' Route des Princes

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