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Southern Spars - North Technology

Routes des Princes Leg 2 - Virbac-Paprec 70 negotiate Cape Finisterre

by Route des Princes on 17 Jun 2013
Route des Princes 2013 Marcel Mochet / Route des Princes
Together with the crew of Virbac-Paprec 70, Jean-Pierre Dick continues to lead Leg Two of the Routes des Princes race as the leaders negotiate Cape Finisterre this morning on the 990 miles stage from Lisbon to Dún Laoghaire Dublin this morning.

Virbac-Paprec 70 was the closest to the cape on the NW corner of the Iberian peninsula, some 17 miles to its SW, having established their lead early yesterday evening after the breeze all but died away completely just to the west of Cascais. By the 0400hrs ranking during their first night at sea on the stage Jean-Pierre and his crew had increased that lead out to 25 miles racing when they held firm to their course and their opponents tacked offshore at the latitude of Porto.

The offshore group have since come back at Virbac-Paprec 70 making consistent gains on a faster angle, but the leaders still had 8.28 miles in hand as they raced north at 24-28kts.

Ahead there is what Jean-Luc Nélias, navigator on the Maxi80 Prince de Bretagne, describes as a ‘techncial’ day. First there is the decision whether to route inside or outside the DST – the traffic separation zone off Finisterre – and then the key stage as they plot their route around the low pressure system in the Bay of Biscay. Passing into the centre would mean light, unstable winds when the goal is to get as close to the middle as possible to make the best gains. With the depression moving east it down to risk management, tracking the speed and direction of the low accurately and not being trapped by ‘the target’.

Already to the east of their rivals Virbac-Paprec 70 are seeing some steady convergence with the fleet when a westerly position going in to the depression may be favoured.


For the Multi50’s the passage of Cape Finisterre was yesterday’s highlight whilst today’s will be who can collect the bonus points for being first to the mark off the west off Britanny Yves Le Blevec’s Actual carries a margin of just over five miles over FenêtréA-Cardinal this morning with Arkema - Aquitaine Region in third at 15 miles behind. In the brisk NW’ly reaching conditions Arkema-Aquitaine have not been too compromised by having split their large gennaker in two yesterday evening. Le Blevec’s team has seen some of their lead clawed back.

Their wind will slowly head this morning meaning the final miles to the mark will be upwind on port tack when some more compression may be possible.



Multi 50’s at 0600hrs UTC
One- Actual, Yves Le Blevec, 548.51 miles to finish
Two- FenêtréA - Cardinal, Erwan Le Roux, 5.30 miles to leader
Three- Arkéma - Region Aquitaine, Lalou Roucayrol, 15.07 miles to leader
Four- Rennes Métropole - Saint Malo Agglomération, Gilles Lamiré, 170.00 miles to leader

MOD70 at 0600hrs UTC
One- Virbac - Paprec 70, Jean-Pierre Dick, 720.48 miles to finish
Two- Spindrift, Yann Guichard, 8.28 miles to leader
Three- Oman Air - Musandam, Sidney Gavignet, 9.42 miles to leader
Three- Edmond de Rothschild, Sébastien Josse, 14.62 miles to leader

MAXI80
One- Maxi 80 Prince de Bretagne, Lionel Lemonchois, 730.22 miles to finish

Jean-Luc Nélias (Prince de Bretagne): 'Once out of the Tagus the wind dropped and it became very calm. We were at the front of the MOD70 pack when the wind filled from the NW and so we are now under full main and staysail. We are watching on the AIS alongside Oman Air-Musandam and Edmond de Rothschild. Spindrift was just behind us has disappeared and Virbac-Paprec is further inshore.. The next 24 hours are going to be technical because you have to squeeze between the DST and the Cape Finisterre and a small depression. We will try to pass east of it but it is moving, we will be wary to not get caught in the middle. Then we will be upwind from tonight until Fastnet'.

Yves Le Blevec (Actual): 'It is cold. Yesterday we negotiated the passage of the depression and also the passage of Cape Finisterre. We had two possible choices because of DST, which is an obstacle. We had to move from one side or the other. We passed between it and Cape Finisterre. The sea was not so bad, OK for the boat and crew. That's why we made this choice. It's pretty weird because we had the impression of having opened the gap and then there was the passage of the front with unstable winds.'

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