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The longest day. But which one of the magnificent seven will be first to the line?

Published on 16/09/2021

Eight knots of light breeze, seas are almost flat, it under blue skies that the 34 Figaro Bénéteau 3 are taking on the challenge of their final miles of the race. This morning 20 miles west of the island of Groix . There are seven skippers lined up from north to south, Pierre Leboucher, Xavier Macaire, Fabien Delahaye, Tanguy Le Turquais and Erwan Le Draoulec, Tom Laperche and furthest offshore General Classification leader Pierre Quiroga. All are giving it 100 per cent, ready to modify their course if they sniff a change in the breeze – especially a collapse inshore – and if the sense a move by their rivals.

Projecting ahead is complicated. We have a weak synoptic north to northwesterly wind which could be in opposition to a thermal breeze in the afternoon, which could give areas without wind.” Explains Yann Château who is assistant to the race director, “That is why we are seeing options appearing, some banking a bit on the thermal breeze, others looking to the open sea, offshore which lengthens the route but maybe brings a little more wind. The finish looks like it might be about 2300hrs for the first and up to 0200hrs or 0300hrs if it turns out there is real opposition between the two winds this afternoon. The SN1 mark will be left to port, it is the second mark of the course after the Fastnet. With this mark, the direct route to get to the the Loire-Atlantique finish passed Belle Ile.”

Tanguy Le Turquais comments, “This morning I had a hard time opening my eyes but that’s normal at this stage. I’m happy to be where I am but I’m not sure who is around me. I was with Macif 2020 and Normandie last night, they suddenly disappeared. I don’t have a precise idea of the positioning of the boats, but I think I’m good enough. We have a north-northeast wind at 8 knots and a fairly calm sea with a little swell. The conditions are really nice! We have actually had better conditions than expected, and always a bit more wind. With what I have for weather data, I imagine that there is a ridge that will pass over the fleet. I suspect those in front in the south might still be looking good, but I’m not sure. We are heading towards a little bit of a mess. Seaweed is not the end of the world, I have not had to back up.

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