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Crêpes Whaou leads Transat Quebec Saint Malo

'Crepes_Whaou Photo: Xavier Dachez / VIQ ® - Transat Quebec St Malo'    Xavier Dachez / VIQ ©
At noon, Franck-Yves Escoffier and his 50 foot trimaran 'Crêpes Whaou' were the only ones in the Transat Quebec Saint Malo, the 7th of that name, to have rounded the Percé passage mark, to the north of the Gaspésie and 354 miles from Quebec.

From on board the boats:

A day aboard the Class 40 'Saipem'. Gwenc'hlan Catherine describes the ambiance aboard yesterday:
'On Tuesday 22nd July, everything has changed aboard Saipem - Leadership in Safety.

Change of atmosphere: the day began as it did yesterday, enveloped in fog with 20 to 25 knots on the nose of course. Droplets were forming and it was cold. In the afternoon though, a superb sun appeared enabling us to discover the mountains on the south bank of the Saint Lawrence. They’re quite high in this area with summits culminating at 1,000 metres just a few kilometres from the river, and we enjoyed the reflections of the setting sun on the river. It was a superb atmosphere, even though the wind completely disappeared for several hours!

It was a change of rhythm for the crew. Of course we’re continuing with our watch system and each crew member is on deck for 3 or 4 hours. However, today for the first time since the start, the off-watch crew are benefiting from the fine end to the afternoon to remain on deck instead of diving straight into their sleeping bags. To celebrate that a gastronomic dinner has replaced the soups and freeze-dried food, which everyone has prepared up till now. On the menu dried sausage, cassoulet, vanilla mousse and gingerbread. Light huh?

Change of sails: reef taken and then shaken out 10 minutes later, passage from staysail (our smallest foresail) to the solent and vice versa, gennaker… We’re going to have to explore all the various sail combinations aboard Saipem - Leadership in Safety. Solely the spinnaker has remained in its bag and it’s eagerly awaiting its moment of glory!

All in all, nothing has changed… at sunset the wind kicked back in, right on our nose, and there’s the promise of another night close-hauled...'

Imagine: light airs and big manoeuvres.
Pierre Antoine : 'After over 50 hrs of racing, we are now 4 miles north of the Cap de la Madeleine, upwind in very light airs. It has been a grueling battle since the start with a huge amount of manœuvres. We’re in third position behind Laiterie de St Malo with whom we remained in contact and in sight of each other on a beat for part of the day on Monday. The calm zone forecast this evening should help us get back up with them but the task is not made any easier due to the fact that there are only three of us onboard… Everything aboard is OK, the boat and the crew are fine. '

Rêv’ 86: 'to work!'
Pierre-Marie Bazin: 'After a light start which proved difficult as we don’t yet know exactly how to trim our fine but new boat we took two poor tactical options and found ourselves at the back of the fleet at the beginning of Sunday night at the tip of Orleans. We worked hard during the night and the next day. We were neck and neck with Destination Calais. At the Rimouski mark we sailed well: neck and neck with SAIPEM-Leadership in Safety, which we passed early in the night after crossing tacks a number of times. In a squall our mainsail battens came out of their housing at the back end of the system: we lost an hour and found ourselves behind our friends again. In the afternoon we had glorious sunshine and a chance to see Gaspésie, which was a welcome change from the fog. Right now we’re becalmed on the coast and are just behind L’Esprit Large. We’re going to have some work to make up the ground on the frontrunners between here and Percé and keep up with the action.'

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12:07 PM Wed 23 Jul 2008 GMT

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