Night messages from the fleet – Thursday 8th June

Le Bleuet de France (135) – Charlotte Cormouls-Houlès / Claire-Victoire De Fleurian

“Hello, waking up in heavy seas on this Thursday 8 June, after a rough night upwind in 20-25 knots. Yesterday was very full-on again: passage round Tuskar in the early hours, neck and neck with Chinook. We then slipped along under spinnaker along the Irish coast throughout the day with some great peaks of speed, 18 knots in the surf. The seas were heavy and the wind was building. We broached more than once and the gybes were lively! We’ve racked up quite a sleep deficit again as constant attention is called for under spinnaker and the fatigue weighs heavy! It was all worthwhile though as we outfooted Chinook again before rounding Fastnet! The battle is far from over. We’re digging deep to catch up with Trim Control and we’re not out of contention yet. The female offshore sailors still have some energy in reserve! See you very soon (we hope). Claire-Victoire and Charlotte.”

Chinook (124) – Julia Virat / Melodie Schaffer

“Hello land. We have 2 days of war ahead of us. We’re really being shaken about in the Celtic Sea. We’ve reduced the sails as much as possible (we still need to go up top and put in a third reef, but the second has already calmed things down). For now, it’s a bit complicated to get ourselves dry, eat, sleep… but things should get a bit calmer tomorrow. See you soon. Julia and Melodie.”

Dékuple (184) – Pietro Luciani / Hugo Picard

“The CIC Normandy Channel Race 2023 starts at Lands End V2. So we’ve rounded Fastnet and now we just have to head home… But that’s easier said than done! Since the start of the race, we’ve been making our way down the mountain, we donned our skis in Caen and we’ve been on a downhill slope to Fastnet, with the wind on our backs most of the time (or abeam of us)! The boat is quick on these points of sail. What a pain arriving at Fastnet though! No chairlifts and we have to head up the mountainside by foot. We still have a NE’ly wind too, which is where we’re headed. As such, we’ll have to punch into the wind, which is less quick, less fun and more violent. Paradoxically, sleeping in a washing machine bouncing off the waves is something that sailors liken to rest. The passage across the Celtic Sea was relatively relaxing. Imagine if you will, a bed comprising a bean bag wedged in amongst the sails requiring stacking, to windward, and taking it in turns to stretch out on them whilst still fairly wet… Between the Fastnet and Land’s End though, it’s just one long straight tack. The breeze is stable at around 20 knots, so there’s no manoeuvring, no stacking and the autopilot can handle things on its own. As such, Pietro and I are linking together 2-hour naps, which is something we haven’t done for the past 3 days. So when I wake up after 2hrs, it feels as if I’ve only just dozed off. I had some catching up to do. We’re going to need to bank these hours of sleep as the race begins at Land’s End. We’ll have to zigzag our way along the English coast to shelter from the current and control the wind, which is set to strength around the Western Approaches. In short, the CIC Normandy Channel Race is not over, in fact it’s only just begun.”

Centrakor (183) – Mikaël Mergui / Fabien Henry

“Hi everyone. We’re in the process of passing between the Scillies and the south-west tip of England and the wind and the seas are picking up. It’s hard to write properly. We’re in good spirits having made up a bit of ground on our playmates. We can see them on the AIS again, which has given us a boost. We’ve been enjoying some long siestas, together with a spot of mechanics. The motor for the water pump turbine got fried when we recharged the battery using the engine. Fortunately, I brought a spare the day before the start. Laters!”

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