Published on 01/09/2020
With some 85 nautical miles to sail to reach the Fastnet Rock where the 35 strong La Solitaire du Figaro fleet will turn for the finish back on the Baie de Saint Brieuc French skipper Xavier Macaire continues to lead the 642 nautical miles Stage 1 while Irish skipper Tom Dolan harbours high hopes of rounding ‘the rock’ holding on to the third position he is in this morning.
The passage of the Scillies TSS forbidden zones saw some remarkable comebacks, not least that of two-times winner Armel Le Cléac’h who made up more than 15 miles and more than ten places through his northerly routing. The wily skipper of Banque Populaire who is a two times overall winner has vaulted into the top ten and is now 4.5 miles behind Macaire who has led since early yesterday morning.
Mainly reaching under spinnaker on port gybe in the southerly breeze the 35 skippers had a more stable night, mainly focusing on straight line boatspeed. The leading peloton look set to drive into lighter winds this morning and already there has been some compression of the distances between boats, Smurfit Kappa Dolan – for example – gaining half a mile to be just 1.4 miles behind the lead boat. Briton Sam Goodchild (Leyton) is also nicely placed in seventh having more than halved his delta to Macaire in the small hours of the morning to 2.4 miles.
Phil Sharp (OceansLab) is 17th this morning at 10 miles behind the top boat, Jack Boutell (Fromagerie Gillot) 22nd, Alan Roberts (Seacat Services) is 30th. Roberts, one of the top hopes for a top five overall this race, is in good company racing head to head with many other big names, podium tipped Pierre Quiroga (Skipper Macif 2019) is 21st, three times winner Yann Eliès (Queguiner Materiaux-Leucemie Espoir) is 22nd half a mile ahead of the Australian-British Volvo Race winner Bouttell, Pierre Leboucher (Guyot Environnemnet) is 25th, 21 miles off the pacemakers. Like last year’s Stage 1 passage to the Fastnet some of the big names have already accrued big losses which may prove to be terminal on a four stage race which has recently seen the Stage 1 winner go on to win overall.
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