As the La Charente-Maritime Bahia Transat 6.50 fleets approaches the Equator, the battle is fierce at the head of the Series fleet. 500 miles away from the main pack and around Recife, David Raison (747 - TeamWork Evolution!) has not slow his advance towards Bahia, which is now only 450 miles away.
Those likely to miss this leg's podium but are still on track for the overall, Jorg Riechers (753 - Mare.de), Etienne David (679 - TeamWork) and Guillaume Le Brec (667 - OCCAMAT / ADT) began their last sprint in a well-established trade winds but with a very rough sea.
David Raison will have to adapt his route to the new conditions, with trade winds that will abate and a course dictated by prudence because obstancles such as the oil platforms, the traffic and of course the wind holes at night. He is 450 miles from the finish and with a substantial lead of almost a hundred miles on Thomas Normand (787 - Financière de l'Echiquier). Being over 50 miles ahead of Bertrand Delesne (754 - Zone Large), Thomas Normand is on track to achieve a good performance.
Thomas battles against the clock to overcome his first leg's delay on German Jorg Riechers and Swiss sailors Etienne David, Guillaume Le Brec and Antoine Rioux. Behind Raison, many are using their last resources after the grueling crossing of the Doldrums, to excel and to gather the laurels still to be distributed among the Proto's fleet. Six skippers are still to converge on the archipelago of Fernando da Noronha, that they must leave to starboard.
That is bad news for Lucas Montagne (618 - ONG Conseil), still fifth, who is more than one knot slower than his main opponent Etienne David, who sails on a more eastly route. Between these two, another Lucas, Lucas Schroder of the Netherlands, keeping pace for several days with Riechers, Le Brec and Etienne Bertrand.
While the gaps continue to widen in Protos in the wake of David Raison, a totally different scenario is written by the 14 production boats packed into 60 miles. Benoit Mariette (599 - Odalys Vacances) is the leader after in the middle of the day overtaking Clément Bouyssou (514 - Douet Distribution). The gang of four is back and the fourth musketeer now is Gwénolé Gahinet (455 - Asso Watever - gwenolegahinet.com) who is playing with Vincent Kerbouriou (435 - CGGVeritas) the role of the last musketeer.
Pierre Brasseur sails at the average speed of 7.54 and is back in the game and Fabrice Sorin, Nicolas Groux are with him.
The sea, that is very rough according to the escort boats, and will clearly slow the fleet.
Benoit Laurière (539 - www.teamkalonig.com
), Robert Rosen Jacobson (602 - NED602) and Cyril Hoebler (512 - Océarium Croisic) have already slightly slow than yesterday.
Rémi Fermin, designer of the Proto 741 - Boréal was dismasted last night. Pen Ar Clos II (the escort boat) was able to find out his story. Rémi was able jury rig and wass 1 029 miles from the finish, continuing his race under jury rig. He was caught speeding at midday... at almost six knots. Bravo!
Bruno Simonnet (744 El Nono), who was forced to turn back on the 23rd of October, arrived last night in Mindelo. http://www.charentemaritime-bahia.transat650.net