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Bishop Rock Next Target, Roberts 4th. Dolan 8th

Published on 08/09/2021

After negotiating the northwesternmost corner of the TSS at Land End, with just under 15 miles to go to Bishop Rock at the Scillies the fleet is starting to line up and stretch a bit with Pierre Quiroga (Skipper Macif 2019) holding a lead of 0.7 of a mile from Alexis Loison (Région Bretagne). Overall race leader Quiroga’s nearest rival on the General Classification, Xavier Macaire (Groupe SNEF) is in 12th at over six miles behind the pacemaker Quiroga.

Alan Roberts (Seacat Services) has gone well since the edge of the TSS and is holding on well in fourth while Tom Dolan (Smurfit Kappa-Kingspan) is up to eighth just behind Tom Laperche (Bretagne CMB performance).

Conditions remain foggy, ‘so dense you could cut it with a knife’ according to our media team on the guard boat. The boats appear and disappear from each others view. After three long, hard nights at sea the minds are tired, nerves frayed but the fight will go on to the finish line.

Race director Frances Legoff said this morning: “ Nothing is certain. It won’t be over until Roscoff. We’re going to have to hold on and see what happens. At the moment the wind is more westerly than expected, they can get down the TSS without tacking, it looks like they are passing the Scillies around 3pm. For the crossing to Roscoff it will be in the forecast SW’ly but tricky in terms of layline because of the currents. They will have to set themselves up for for the finish of the course. There will be no more than 10-15 knots but it will be tactical in terms of positioning. ETA tomorrow Thursday in Roscoff: between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m.”

They said:

Alan Roberts (Seacat Services) “Yesterday was not good for me. The wind was very tricky going north to Lundy. There were a lot of boats managed to steal up the shore with breeze and when I got to Lundy I was nearly in second last place which was hard. But after Gowan I had really good speed with the right sail up and moving quick and managed to hold on with the breeze more right. Now I am not far behind. It is a long race. I am not too tired yet but am taking a nap shortly but I was on the helm all of last night since Wales. Now is my chance to get a little sleep. I am from England and so sail in the fog quite a lot. I quite like it. But with AIS it is like a computer game. You focus more on the numbers and going fast and have no visual references on the shore.

Eric Peron (French Touch) : “I’m waking up from my nap. This third stage with three nights is tiring especially after last night, we pushed hard under spinnaker. I did not sleep much. I take advantage of this windward phase to take a nap. There are lulls and shifts and so you have to be on it because even if you set alarms, it’s not easy to rest. When it’s windy, you just have to press on hardthen you have to make the brain cells work as the conditions are uncertain and changeable. Every time I take a nap, I have a hard time figuring out where I am and what’s happening when wake up. It’s trickier in these kinds of conditions. But, we are not yet in the realm of hallucinations. Upwind or reaching, it’s good to take 15-20 minute naps without any problem. Positioning wise, I’m not bad, I came back well last night. We are in the middle of this mist there will be a lot of small tacks.

Gaston Morvan (Bretagne – CMB Espoir) : “Well really the first few nights were okay, but now last night I really felt the fatigue. I take naps, you have to accept losing a little bit to sleep so you can be better afterwards. This step is really different from the others. The wind is unsettled you have to be on the lookout all the time looking at strategy and tactical options. We prepared for this for sure, but in the first year of Figaro, we usually end up lack sleep and I know that is one of the most important things in this race. There are plenty of ways to win and plenty of ways to lose. But overall I’m really happy! “

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