Night messages from the fleet – Wednesday 7th June

Crédit Mutuel (158) – Ian Lipinski / Antoine Carpentier

“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!”

Kite (144) – Greg Leonard / Hannes Leonard

« It was a glorious day of sailing today on Kite.  We had a clear rounding of Tuskar in the company of Black Mamba (154) and BHB (152).    Then, the descent down the Celtic sea was a day we sailors dream of.  Blue skies, downwind, fast at times, and lots of wildlife.  Puffins, Murres, Manx Shearwaters, gannets razorbills, just to name a few.  Then, this evening, I heard squeaking down below and went on deck to investigate only to be greeting by a dolphin.  Perhaps he(?) wanted me to come on deck? All of this in the company of other class 40s and not too far out of touch with the newer scows.  It was a day to lock away and treasure in the future. We will savor these moments when bashing back to the finish in the coming days. See you all soon. »

Visit Valle D’Aosta (128) – Roger Junet / Estelle Greck

“Hello, all’s well aboard. We’re kind of on our own, but we’re continuing to make headway as best we can. We’ve just spent 12hrs enjoying sailing downwind, with flat seas and sunshine! Now we’re preparing to round Fastnet, but above all we’re preparing for the two days and a few hours of upwind conditions that await us. It’ll be okay as far as the Scillies, but after that it’ll likely be pretty full-on. We have a great upwind boat! Have a good day.”

Chinook (124) – Julia Virat / Melodie Schaffer

“Hello land, this is Chinook. It’s beginning to get harder to remember what day it is. We’re a little timeless. Right now, it’s pitch black, Melodie’s sleeping and the boat’s powering along. The wind has eased over recent hours. It’s gone from 20-25 knots to 10-15 now. We’re close-hauled, which means that we’re heeled over at quite an angle and we’re making sure we’re tethered on everywhere so as not to go sprawling every time there’s a slightly bigger wave. It’s not very comfortable, but this is just warming up for what awaits us on the return leg. Friday is forecast to be very intense for everyone, boats and skippers… The others are still a long way ahead, but we’ve closed the gap a little with our S’ly option in the English Channel. The idea was to avoid suffering too much from the effects of land on the English coast and hunt down more sustained breeze in the middle of the English Channel. It was a fantastic idea, and everything went very smoothly… that is until our spinnaker completely ripped apart! What rotten luck! It’s really infuriating. We had to switch the headsail for a Solent, which is much less suited to the sustained downwind conditions we had at that point and has slowed our progress considerably. We’ve been making headway with lots of dolphins today, which is always magical. All’s well aboard. We’re dealing with a string of technical issues by remaining united. My English gets very muddled with the fatigue sometimes and my accent is becoming dreadful. That’s generally a sign that I need to have a siesta. Today, we managed to get a bit more rest as the tacks were longer and there were fewer sail changes. We learnt the sad news about Label Emmaüs, which dismasted following a collision. So sad! I’m going to head back up top to keep watch before Melodie takes over from me. Goodnight land, until tomorrow. Julia”

Dékuple (184) – Pietro Luciani / Hugo Picard

“Hello, I’ve been waiting for 3 years and 5 attempts to go around Fastnet! In 2021, in the Mini Fastnet, there was a depression in the Celtic Sea so we went around a mark off Bordeaux instead… No Fastnet. The same year, in the Rolex Fastnet Race aboard an IRC, the mainsail track pulled out after 10hrs of racing. No Fastnet. In 2022, there we go again. In the CIC Normandy Channel Race aboard 131, the course is modified due to an upcoming depression off the tip of Ireland… No Fastnet! In the Mini Fastnet, as co-skipper with Julie Simon, it was becalmed in the Celtic Sea with a depression to follow. We had to round a virtual point in the middle of nowhere and… No Fastnet!!! Finally, in 2023, in the CIC Normandy Channel Race aboard Dekuple, we’ve just rounded the renowned lighthouse, a legend in European races! It was well worth the wait. It was night-time and we saw virtually nothing! See you soon, Hugo.”

Centrakor (183) – Mikaël Mergui / Fabien Henry

“It’s been a tough day for us. We’ve had to watch all our playmates get ahead of us and we also made a very poor choice from Tuskar to Fastnet. That’s kind of how things have played out throughout this CIC Normandy Channel Race. All our strategic choices have been wrong. Let’s hope that the potential of our steed will help us claw back a few places on this long and difficult section of the course. Otherwise, we’re in good spirits and it’s chilly at night. This is my 4th time round the lighthouse, and my first by night. It’s Fabien’s first. The nights feel short. A few dolphins have been checking out our new bow and they’re smaller than the ones we have in the Med, but just as playful. Have a good day. Mikaël.”

Legallais (190) – Fabien Delahaye / Corentin Douguet

“Hello land, all’s well aboard Legallais. The atmosphere is one of fruitless hobby-horsing and an uncomfortable life on the heel… And that’s nothing compared to what awaits us in the English Channel with over 30 knots on the nose to get back towards the Cotentin and Normandy. The boat is at 100% and each of us in turn is trying to get some rest today where possible as the last 24 hours will be very difficult. We passed the Fastnet lighthouse last night in 2nd position in this our duo’s first race aboard the Class40 Legallais, which we’re still finding our feet on. It was a really great moment and it’s always strange to pass by the foot of the lighthouse in the middle of the night. Have a great day and see you very soon in Ouistreham. Fabien (and a sleeping Corentin).”

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