The Charente-Maritime/Bahia Transat 6.50 fleet was propelled last night by changeant thunderstorms. The stars of the race are now neck and neck. On the fifth day of the second leg, David Raison (747 - TeamWork Evolution) is back into the lead for prototypes, Gwénolé Gahinet (455 - Asso-Watever gwenolegahinet.com) is still the first series boat.
La Charente-Maritime/Bahia Transat 6.50 2011
Until now hidden in the pack, David Raison (747 – TeawWork Evolution), in 24 hours, took the controls of the race – at midday score. He was the first to jibe just after midnight and that propelled him straight towards the islands of Sao Nicolau and Boa Vista, 150 km before him.
Squalls, squalls and some more squalls, icing on the cake, the merchant marine traffic and the islands effects (venturi, wind holes etc.). Maybe a decisive part will be played tonight, even if there are still 2,000 miles to cross, with these peculiar weather conditions and with the Doldrums of which the northern border is very close of the archipelago border. The long hours of high speed in between two thunderstorms are maybe the last that the skippers will have before a long time. Then, intuition and fine navigation will make great champions.
Bertrand Delesne (754 – Zone Large) had to give up his first place and even the young Thomas Normand (787 – Financière de l’Echiquier) sailed in his wind. Sébastien Rogues (716 – Eole Generation – GDF SUEZ) has wittingly stepped aside to remain longer than his opponents in the west.
Those trailing behind them are very impressive. Jorg Riecher (753 – Mare.de) navigates wisely and efficiently in the wake of the podium. Behind him are those that enjoy sailing in showers and that sail to over 12 knots speed in between two scores, Guillaume Le Brec (667 – Occamat/ADT), Milan Kolocek (759 – Gaben>Follow me) or Antoine Rioux (800 – festival des Pains)… They all do their best and navigate at full potential and they all, for sure, wish to have the smallest gap possible to negotiate the Cape Verdean mark.
If there is one sailor that stormy depressions, with their sharp wind acceleration to over 30 knots, do not seem to intimidate, it is Clement Bouyssou (514 - Douet Distribution). The sailor that was second in Funchal has slide between Gwénolé Gahinet (455 - Asso Watever-gwenolegahinet.com) and Pierre Brasseur (552-Voiles Océan). He headed - yesterday afternoon - to the south when he was still sailing neck and neck with Davy Beaudart (674 – Innovea Environnement) and this manoeuvre propelled him in the duet's wake.
He covered 222 miles in the last 24 hours that could place him among the best prototypes. Renaud Mary (535 – runo.fr) and Vincent Kerbouriou (435 - CGG Veritas) are in an ambush in a group of boats that were sailing at an average speed of 10 knots in the middle of last night.
The Series boats passage across the Islands should be made in the daytime, as they were still 175 miles away in the afternoon. These sailboats are still largely spread in lateral (over 150 miles). Pip Hare (473 – the Potting Shed) is the easternmost and she obviously doesn't experience the same weather conditions than Davy Beaudart who is the most west.