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Slow Progress Off Poole

Published on 06/09/2021

The seas are glassy, the sky tinged with purple as the sun rises with the fleet of the 52nd La Solitaire du Figaro making slow progress under spinnaker off the Dorset coast, taking care to avoid the military firing zone at Portland and soon passing about 35 nautical miles south of the 2012 Olympic waters.

Xavier Macaire (Groupe SNEF) leads ahead of Pierre Quiroga (Skipper Macif 2019) and Alexis Loison (Region Nomandie) but there is less than half a mile between Macaire and Loison. Quiroga lost time and distance on last night’s rounding of South Pullar when he elected to carry on rather than gybe at the mark. Britain’s Alan Roberts (Seacat Services) is fifth 1.1 miles behind the leader. The tide has just turned and is against the fleet.

Francis Le Goff, race director explained this morning

“The fleet is moving well all close together for the moment. We are a little ahead of the routings as it was quicker on the reach to get to South Pullar. Competitors are going further west than expected, but the fleet should go to the south quickly because the tide will reverse in a few minutes. It was planned like that. They will go south in the morning. Over all of the weather files, it was more of a southern passage of the Casquets DST, but for now, they are still progressing westward. The rounding of Pullar passage was decisive for those who gybed quickly after the mark. For those who held on it was more complicated. The winds will will stay between 5-7 knots from the east all morning. “

Niels Palmieri (TeamWork) reported on the VHF: “It’s not really okay. I stayed in a calm zone for ten minutes and everyone else sailed away The fleet regrouped as we passed the mark and I caught up a bit from behind. But as I rounded the mark, I went 30 seconds too long on starboard and got stuck in a hole. Those who gybed early did better. I tried to get some sleep but I have to stay focused. Nothing is clear to me about this race, even when the day dawns it will not be very clear. I just put the spinnaker back up ten minutes ago, it’s back to 6 knots.”

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