We have a new leader in the IMOCA fleet today, in the form of Thomas Ruyant (LinkedOut). Thomas took the lead on Thursday after holding out a little longer on a westwards gybe than Charlie Dalin (Apivia). The pair have been trading manoeuvres ever since, but Thomas has managed to eke out a lead of little under 20nm.
The conditions the fleet is dealing with now are exactly those the sailors have been looking forward to from the start – steady trade winds and following seas providing fantastic speeds and allowing the skippers to relax a little. The leading pack have been averaging speeds of more than 20 knots over the last four hours.
A little further back, there’s a fantastic battle between Maxime Sorel (V&B – Monbana – Mayenne) and Justine Mettraux (Teamwork.net). The two sailors have been almost on top of each other for miles and miles, trading places almost every position update. Maxime is sailing his brand new boat, sistership to Apivia, while Justine is sailing onboard Jeremie Beyou’s old Charal – a well-proven, fast boat. It’s going to be exciting to see who comes out on top here!
Pip Hare (Medallia) is in 11th position but suffering from some damage to her mainsail. While crossing the last of the fronts before entering the trade winds, Pip’s mainsail ripped below the first reef; she’ll have to finish the race with one reef in, meaning she will have less sail to play with, slowing her down.
Boris Herrmann (Malizia Seaexplorer) reported some issues with his foil system yesterday. When doing routine inspections, he noticed some bolts in the foil bearings were bending – as such he and his team decided to continue the race but without using the foils.
In 14th position and second non-foiling boat, Tanguy Le Turqais had some exciting news yesterday. His partner and fellow IMOCA skipper, Clarisse Crémer, gave birth to their first child – a little girl. Congratulations to Tanguy and Clarisse!