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Slow Progress Towards Ushant

Published on 15/09/2020

A painfully slow night with next to no wind saw the lead group struggle to make just 15 nautical miles between midnight and 0700hrs local time this morning. Adding to the frustrations caused by the calms prevailing off the north western tip of Brittany fog banks and weed are making life doubly difficult. Pierre Quiroga (Skipper MACIF 2019) led the 33 boat fleet round mark at the scattered rocky islets off Portsall at around 0515hrs this morning with Xavier Macaire (Goupe SNEF) on his stern and Britain’s Sam Goodchild (Leyton) close behind in third.

Alexis Courcoux
Alexis Courcoux

Quiroga’s inside line, closer to the coast around dawn this morning has allowed him to extend very slightly to be 0.8 of a mile clear of Yann Eliès (Quéguiner Materiaux-Leucémie Espoir). The three times La Solitaire leader has staged an impressive recovery to be in the lead group this morning when he was more than ten miles behind in 15th this time yesterday.

The packet of top four boats are within one mile of each other making between 1.3 and two knots, their next objective being the mark at Fromveur by Ushant some seven miles ahead of them.

Alan Roberts’ recovery continues and the British skipper is in contact with the leaders at two miles behind in eighth place on Seacat Services, Phil Sharp in 12th at 2.3 miles behind Quiroga with Jack Bouttell (Fromagerie Gillot) and Ireland’s Tom Dolan (Smurfit Kappa) all within 200 metres of each other.

Weed has been a serious problem, catching on the appendages. Race Director Frances Le Goff said, “We must have had about 250 requests to back up in the last 24 hours.”

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