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Macaire leads, Dolan second as leaders diverge at Lands End

Published on 13/09/2021

The fleet has gone well under spinnaker since leaving the bay of Morlaix Sunday afternoon. They have had ideal conditions making an average of around 10kts. They are well up to time according to the original routings, approaching Lands End and the TSS. Three skippers have made the bold choice to break from the fleet and go west, passing between the TSS and the Scilly Isles, among them the Irish skipper Tom Dolan (Smurfit Kappa-Kingspan) who has had a good first night after starting modestly. Dolan has stayed west virtually since leaving Morlaix and has been in second for most of the night with Xavier Macaire (Groupe SNEF) leading the main pack.

Dolan has had to gybe to take a short hitch to the west to clear the edge of the TSS while Macaire and the main pack are on the making gybe, but the Irish skipper is only a mile behind Macaire in terms of distance to the Fastnet which will be the next waypoint. Crucially Macaire is 2,6 miles ahead of the second boat in this group Skipper Macif 2020 (Erwan Le Draoulec) and more critically he is moving away two knots quicker than the body of the pack where race leader Pierre Quiroga (Skipper Macif 2019) is in ninth, 4,7 miles behind Macaire who is his nearest rival, second on the leaderboard.

Spain’s Pep Costa (Cybele Vacances - Team Play to B) had had a good night and is eighth. Gybing on the SW corner of the TSS Smurfit Kappa-Kingspan is on the rhumb line course direct to the Fastnet and making distance back on Macaire.

Mael Garnier (Ageas - Team Saint-Brieuc) and Philippe Hartz (Marine Nationale - Fondation de la Mer) have gone west with Dolan and explained their choices this morning.

Maël Garnier (Ageas - Team Baie de Saint-Brieuc): “I can no longer see the fleet I’m working the TSS lay line, I hope it pays off. I slept well, ate well, studied strategy, and I’m really happy. And since hearing the standings this morning, I’m even happier! I wanted to go below and when the fog came in, I saw the others going up, but I preferred to stay low because the course is quite west after the TSS. The tide is going to change soon so I wanted to be in a good position for that. I’m going to turn at the corner of the TSS and the Scilly, there’s less wind in the east. I am with Philippe Hartz and Tom Dolan. I will try to stay below them. I have 12 knots of settled wind and gusts to 15 knots, it’s going well, we have the current with us and it’s pushing us, I put on music when there is nothing to think about, electro and house. Stuff that boosts your mood!”

Philippe Hartz (Marine Nationale - Fondation de la Mer): “We were quite close after the course in the bay of Morlaix and the bulk of the fleet decided to get into the squall. Everyone luffed, and I decided to stick with my course, I did what I originally decided to do, which was not to let myself be swayed by the group and it seems to pay off. Since we left the Brittany coast, we have been under a full mainsail and large spinnaker and with 12-13 knots of wind. It’s a little better than expected. I hadn’t expected it to be this stable. I slept quite a bit last night, I’m pretty fresh!

Land’s End ranking this morning :

1. Xavier Macaire (Groupe SNEF) at 07h02

2. Alexis Thomas (La Charente Maritime) at 07h26

3. Erwan Le Draoulec (Skipper Macif 2020) at 07h27

4. Alexis Loison (Région Normandie) at 07h30

5. Fabien Delahaye (Groupe Gilbert) at 07h32

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