With under 900 miles left to sail to the finish line in Brest of the first Krys Ocean Race skipper of leading MOD70 Spindrift Racing, Yann Guichard, considers the strategic options for their nearest rivals, Groupe Edmond de Rothschild and Foncia, are running out.
Guichard and his crew have maintained their punishing pace despite the wind and seas easing slightly. Guichard is still averaging a consistent 30kts, which no other team has managed to sustain with anything like Spindrift racing’s regularity.
With 750 miles, or about 36 hours, to make to the Scilly Isles, the breeze is rotating back to the SW as they cross the ridge extending from the Azores high. After Foncia repositioned themselves directly in Spindrift’s wake, taking a short hitch to the north late yesterday afternoon, all three are very much in line now, with a similar course. With his rivals now astern where they represent less of a threat, the Spindrift racing skipper said they have been attacking in the more settled sea state.
Guichard, sounding quietly content when contacted early this morning stated: 'We are much less tired than the previous nights: it is quieter at this time (0530hrs UTC/GMT) because the sea is flatter. We’ve always been fast but it's definitely more peaceful and we start to attack a little. We will soon be able to target the Scilly because gradually the wind turns to the southwest. '
Spindrift racing has close to 70 miles of margin on Seb Josse’s Groupe Edmond de Rothschild, with Foncia lurking only 11 miles behind them in third.
Time is running out for the leading trio to utilise the Krys Ocean Race’s ‘ghost mode’, which allows the teams to disappear from the tracking for three successive rankings. But it must be used before the longitude of Fastnet Rock and after that line ghost mode racers reappear.
With few tactical options on the table perhaps it will go unused, or maybe a team or teams will use it nonetheless?
From the nav station of Musandam-Oman Sail this morning, Sidney Gavignet reported that they are back sailing at near normal speeds – using their starboard foil in the port box, but have a little less wind than the leading trio.
Yann Guichard, skipper of Spindrift racing said 'Last night was a bit calmer and that the sea was much flatter but the wind is going to build again. We re on a heading for the Scilly Isles, pretty much on a straight line, port tack and the wind should build over the next six hours, back up to average 30 knots. We expect to get to the Scilly by around midday tomorrow.
'Strategically there are not all that many options now, it is a matter of keeping up the rhythm and try to maintain the speed. Groupe Edmond de Rothschild and Foncia are going a little faster, but we are level in terms of speed. We make the most of the daylight to do a boat check and prepare for the strengthening conditions.'
'Next is looking at all the weather files to see how things will evolve with the weather front that we have been on for the last few days on what will be a reach to Brest. We have had a bit of fog and drizzle, it is not quite Breton weather though!'
'We keep an eye on the radar which really show up the squalls well and then now for the approach will be good for the maritime traffic. In terms of food, we have been stuck with the freeze dried stuff and apart from a few apples at the start have not enjoyed any fresh food.'
Krys Ocean Race website by Sabina Mollart-Rogerson