What a wonderful race!!! All sorts of options are available!!!

22  Oct.  2014 -  02h 36

"It's an intriguing race, quite long and rather difficult". Interviewed in the middle of the afternoon, French Yachtsman of the Year Franck Cammas expressed his feelings. Placed second, 29 nautical miles behind "Crusader", the front runner, the crew of "Keel Bill Groupama" have to think of something, to attempt something… That is exactly what is
happening right now.

Yesterday, the New Zealand yachtsmen went East about Ouvéa - unheard of in the three previous races. Their choice was the right one: since then, they have been leading the race.

"Keel Bill Groupama" - deliberate choice… or breakage?

Franck Cammas and his crew have just entered the Great Northern Lagoon. Why? Our initial hypothesis was that they had suffered damage, or some other problem… Wrong. It's something worth trying - they are resourceful and attempting to make up the 28 nautical miles lost to "Crusader" and her New Zealand crew.

So now, in more sheltered lagoon waters, they are looking for a quieter sea, a wind that will back Easterly and a favourable current… A scenario in which they can once more dream of a win.

These two choices, which we would have thought highly improbable before the start, tell us that mariners of this calibre don't stay with the flock - they attempt something… Will it pay off? Or will it not? We will know in the coming hours. "Keel Bill Groupama" is now "imprisoned" in the lagoon for at least 30 nautical miles - that is how far away the
next pass is…

The start of another race!

This morning we announced the start of a new, different, race after a 300 nautical mile spinnaker run - the legendary Grand Pass where the wind freshens and where the crews and their yachts are put to the test. Henceforth, they're close hauled, clawing 300 nautical miles upwind. So, since this morning, the seven competitors are going full tilt.
Yachts crash into waves, masts shake, waves break on deck - impossible to dry any clothes. No surfing on the West Coast - welcome to the washing machine!

Crew now have to negotiate wave crests, trying for the best course. The yachts have to tack - speed made good to destination is thus much reduced, as little as 5 knots.

The Météo France forecaster predicted a windy Tuesday. He was right - the Trade Wind was blowing at 20 to 30 knots. Tomorrow, it is expected to ease 18 to 20 knots.

Crews and yachts in brief.

  • "Crusader" - the New Zealand yacht maintains a comfortable lead, andis making good time close hauled. They are out to beat the record, andit seems that they can do it. Their ETA - Thursday 23rd at 3am.
  • "Keel Bill Groupama" must be watched closely over the next few hours.Did they take the right decision.. or not?
  •  "Catch Me OPT" are in good spirits, despite electrical problems.
  • "Mange Mieux Bouge Plus" finds it heavy going, but hopes to make ground close hauled.
  •  "Chairman PAO Production" is placed 2nd on handicap and is making ground.
  •  "BCI Radical Concept" is going very well to windward. She is stillleading on handicap.
  • "XLR8 Province Sud" has had to reduce sail. Having split twospinnakers, she has two reefs in her mains'l.

 


Real Time Placings at 5PM Nouméa time

 

  1. Crusader
  2. Keel Bill Groupama
  3. Catch me OPT
  4. Mange Mieux Bouge Plus
  5. Chairman PAO Production
  6. BCI Radical Concept
  7. XLR8 Province Sud

Handicap Placings (the best crew wins)

  1. BCI radical Concept
  2. Chairman PAO Production
  3. Mange Mieux Bouge Plus
  4. XLR8 Province Sud
  5. Crusader
  6. Catch me OPT

"Keel Bill Groupama" is not racing for a handicap place.


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