Restart at Fastnet

After Tuskar Rock yesterday morning, this Wednesday morning the rounding of Fastnet is the main topic of conversation. Still leading the way, the Class40 Alla Grande Pirelli was the first to put the legendary lighthouse in her wake at 23:33 UTC. Ambrogio Beccaria and Kévin Bloch have not left their competition even a crumb of hope overnight, focused on getting their steed fully powered up in the sprint for the tip of south-west Ireland and holding onto a slight 76-minute lead. Between the two marks, an interesting strategic option saw the competitors split into two camps: to the north along the coast on a shorter trajectory or to the south on a longer but potentially breezier course. As we rack up the points, it would seem that neither option really had a clear advantage over the other as there was a general bunching up of the fleet again as they crossed tacks on the approach to Fastnet. Legallais Team Voile (on the N’ly option) was second around the mark, closely followed by Groupe SNEF (S’ly option), IBSA (N’ly option) and Crédit Mutuel (S’ly option). Aside from the four crews bringing up the rear, the whole fleet is done with the south coast of Ireland and is now intent on heading back down the Celtic Sea.

This morning, most of the skippers are now having to contend with around fifteen knots of E’ly breeze. Following the enjoyable toboggan ride along the south coast of England and Ireland, they’re now embroiled in a much less comfortable beat and a long session on port tack, without any real strategic choices for now, but with the focus on skirting around the end of Cornwall as tightly as possible. Ian Lipinski, skipper of Class40 Crédit Mutuel, explains all in his night message: “The CIC Normandy Channel Race has kept its promise. The ranks are serried! Aboard the boats, we too are trying to keep up with the pace of the race. The drop down to Fastnet was not very conducive to long and plentiful siestas. Let’s hope that the beat will give us some nice opportunities to get a bit of sleep! Yes, it would seem that the whole of the homeward sprint will involve a beat… It’s not going to be very comfortable, as the wind is due to be fairly meaty in the Celtic Sea and then strong in the English Channel. However, we’re in great spirits and after a few scares yesterday with our offshore option, we are not too far off the pace in the end… all’s well! Have a good day!”

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