The big news this morning in the IMOCA fleet is the retirement of Damien Seguin (Groupe APICIL) after a collision with a cargo ship in the early hours. Damien’s mast came down, but he reports no injuries and is asking for no assistance. I wish Damien all the best in getting back and know him and his boat will be back sailing in no time.
There’s a big north/south spread among the boats, with more than 250nm between Louis Duc (Fives Lantana Environnement) in the north in second place and Charlie Dalin (Apivia) in the south in first. Louis will have had a difficult night pushing through the strong winds and rough seas of the front, but now seems to be on the other side of it. I expect Louis will tack in the next few hours and start heading south, but it looks like he will be facing dying winds and so may struggle to gain on the fleet.
At the front of the pack, Charlie Dalin is now first on the leaderboard, more than 90nm ahead of Thomas Ruyant (LinkedOut) directly behind him. Charlie is once again showing why he’s won everything this year – both sailor and boat are incredibly fast and seem almost untouchable in certain conditions. He will be sailing into steadily strengthening winds as the weakening front approaches, but as with Louis’ northerly route, there doesn’t seem to be an easy route south once he’s pushed through.
Behind Dalin, the fleet is incredibly tightly bunched. It will be difficult for the sailors as they will need to stay focused 100% of the time, trying to inch every little bit of speed out of their boats.
Third on the tracker is Arnaud Boissieres (La Mie Câline) who chose the middle route, between Louis and Charlie. He’s currently going well and will reach the other side of the front before those to the south of him. But as with the rest of the fleet, what is on the other side of the front isn’t too comforting right now. It’s looking light and patchy with no obvious fast route south.
Ollie Heer (Oliver Heer Ocean Racing) left St Malo this morning headed for Port La Foret to complete the repair to his boat after his collision with Kojiro Shiraishi (DMG MORI Global One). He’s been incredibly thankful to the other IMOCA teams in St Malo that have helped him and his team with their repair. The IMOCA fleet is full of fantastic teams that will come together and help each other out when it’s needed. It’s great to see.