As expected, the outward leg across the Celtic Sea has been a quick downwind passage for the fleet in the 13th edition of the CIC Normandy Channel Race, with some of the Class40s posting peak speeds bordering on 30 knots… This morning, ten crews have already rounded the course mark of Tuskar Rock. Upon their arrival at the south-east tip of Ireland, conditions were boisterous with 25 knots of S’ly wind, with possible gusts of 30-35 knots. It was Corentin Douguet and Yoann Richomme aboard Quéguiner-Innoveo, who were first to make the rounding at 02:47 UTC this morning. They were 33 minutes ahead of Inter Invest (03:20 UTC) and 44 minutes in front of Redman (03:31 UTC), the latter pretty much neck and neck with Crédit Mutuel (03:36 UTC).
The leaders have already launched onto the return leg of the Celtic Sea then. Following the modification to the course as announced by Race Management yesterday, the skippers are now embroiled in a 230-mile long beat to a new course mark at Grande Basse de Portsall at the entrance to the English Channel. The sailors are continuing to contend with a S/SW’ly wind in lively conditions. “We rounded the Tuskar Rock lighthouse about an hour ago and right now the situation is somewhat tougher. We’re in upwind conditions of 25 knots with raging seas. It’s very violent…” explained Aurélien Ducroz from the Class40 Crosscall. Like his playmates, the skipper from Chamonix, is currently under the influence of an occluded front. Forecasts indicate that the wind will ease over the course of the morning with a few gusts in some bracing squalls, which will doubtless keep the duos on their toes.
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