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Southern Spars

Route des Princes - Oman-Air Musandam lead MOD70 fleet

by Sabina Mollart Rogerson on 11 Jun 2013
Oman Air - Musandam - 2013 Route des Princes © Marcel Mochet
In the 2013 Route des Princes, if, as expected, the first night at sea for crews was marked by mainly light winds, punctuated briefly by a spell of stronger breeze, there has been very little chance to rest as constant sail changes and continued trimming in the changeable conditions have been required. For all that the mainly gentle, shifty breezes have been up and down, meaning alternating from headsail to gennaker and back, the one design MOD70 have remained very close. After leading around Benicarlo and taking the two points bonus for doing so around 2000hrs last night Sidney Gavignet and the crew on Oman Air- Musandam had built themselves a lead of some eight miles by the time they lead past the latitude of Ibiza. Their more offshore course had paid a dividend but as the fleet caught as they tucked in closer to the land to round Cabo de la Nau it was Sébastien Josse’s and crew on Edmond de Rothschild which had taken on a very slight lead. After leaving Valencia at 1400hrs local time with some 17 hours of racing elapsed, less than one third of a mile separated Edmond de Rothschild from Jean-Pierre Dick’s third placed Virbac-Paprec 70. The easterly, offshore position had again paid off by the 0800hrs ranking this morning as Oman Air-Musandam had regained the lead, heading more directly south with three miles of margin on Virbac-Paprec 70. The early hours of Monday morning had found the fleet struggling with holes in the breeze but a fast spell in to Cabo de La Nau around 0400hrs this morning had the MOD70’s surging to over 30kts of boat speed, averaging 21-22kts but as they fell into the wind shadow of the Cape speeds have dropped again. Ahead of them it looks like the winds will remain light and mainly W’ly. The challenges of the next Capes, Palos and de Gata lie ahead before getting into the Alboran Sea where the breezes are expected to be between eight and 13kts. The Multi 50’s missed out on the 120 miles loop north to Benicarlo, they are a good 90 miles further down the track than the MOD70’s. Lead by Yves Le Blevec’s Actual which has less than two miles in hand over Lalou Roucayrol’s Arkema-Région Acquitaine some 40 miles SE offshore of Cartagena in Murcia. Rankings at 0800hrs CET Multi 50 1 Actual, Yves Le Blevec 520.15 miles to finish 2 Arkéma - Region Aquitaine, Lalou Roucayrol +2.74 miles 3 FenêtréA – Cardinal, Erwan Le Roux +7.40 miles MOD70 1 Oman Air – Musandam, Sidney Gavignet 603.17 miles to finish 2 Virbac - Paprec 70, Jean-Pierre Dick + 3.38 miles 3 Spindrift, Yann Guichard +3.6 miles 4 Edmond de Rothschild, Sébastien Josse + 3.6 miles

Mayeul Riffet (Arkema-Acquitaine Région): 'We are getting back into it now but we had a couple o painful hours. It was very light and we did a 360 degrees right round in calm conditions. We are only two miles behind Actual and we saw he did the same as us. Now we have wind again and are on course and going well. We have about 12 knots of breeze and we are making almost due south. We are trying to get out of this messy area but what has been nice is that the wind is quite hot. It was very quick from Valencia to Cabo de la Nau. In fact we had 25kts and fairly rough seas but not as bad as I thought it would be. Then is started to drop and we were in light stuff and then becalmed. We had to work hard but are two miles behind Actual. The next 24 hours it will remain close I think. It is still not clear what the options are but there will be enough to make it interesting. The passage of Cabo de Gata will be complicated, around 90-100 miles down the course on the direct route but it is hard to say when we will get there, maybe later this morning.' Jean-Luc Nélias (Prince de Bretagne): The night was generally quiet with light winds except for the last couple of hours at Cabo de la Nau when we had a spell of 30knots. We have Edmond de Rothschild and Virbac-Paprec 70 and Spindrift just ahead but here we are in no wind. We try to get ourselves out of here. Last night we mainly had between eight and 13knots on starboard tack, nothing like the files were promising. We changed between the Solent and the small gennaker and have been with the MOD70’s. It is shifty with light SW’ly winds. Immediately it will remain light but it should pick up to about 12knots nearer Cabo de Gata, and then in the Alboran Sea it will be 8-13kts. Meantime we change headsail regularly. We have really worked hard with not much sleep, there is plenty to do, we are busy. Route des Princes website

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