Olmix hits the Atlantic expressway en route to the finish line

A small depression started building over night. I was able to sail straight through it and the latch onto the other side of it to take a direct route towards the finish line. It put me back in the race

18.05.2016

The French skipper now has a 65nm lead on Nigon with an anticipated arrival time in Manhattan of 06:00 BST tomorrow.

The Multi50 fight to The Transat bakerly finish nears its conclusion today, as skippers Pierre Antoine aboard Olmix and Erik Nigon aboard Vers un Monde Sans Sida, battle it out over the final 100nm for the final podium position.

Since reporting his failed daggerboard yesterday, Antoine was propelled forward on a direct route to New York overnight. The French skipper now has a 65nm lead on Nigon, and an anticipated arrival time in Manhattan of 06:00 BST tomorrow. Nigon is expected to conclude his epic Atlantic adventure early afternoon.

“It’s nice to see the number of miles to New York diminishing,” Antoine reported this morning. “Despite the damage to my daggerboard, I’ve made good progress.

“A small depression started building over night. I was able to sail straight through it and latch onto the other side of it to take a direct route towards the finish line. It put me back in the race. It was a small stroke of luck, because if the wind had been on the nose, I would not have been able to do it.

“The conditions were still pretty complicated but it played out well for me. Erik is only 60nm behind, so I now really need to manage my lead,” he explained.

In the Class40 fleet, Thibaut Vauchel-Camus aboard Solitaire en Peloton – Arsep holds onto his lead, positioning his boat well on the approach to the home straight. Despite there being only 300nm between Vaucel-Camus and the finish line, there is no room for error as the skipper constantly looks over his shoulder at the chasing Louis Duc aboard Carac, who favoured a more southerly route.

“As I get closer to New York, I can smell burgers, a good shower and comfort,” reported Vauchel Camus. “But I still have 300nm to sail, which is the equivalent to crossing the Bay of Biscay – a lot can still happen.

“For now I must stay in the rhythm of the race and not relax because I’m getting close to the line. Louis Duc is catching up. I’m glad to see him in second, it also puts the pressure on me to keep up the pace until I finish the final mile of this race.”

The British skipper Phil Sharp has dropped into third, as his Class40 Imerys limps towards the finish line under a seriously damaged mainsail. Reporting this morning, Sharp described his sail as a “useless flag.”

“In these gusty conditions the mainsail is redundant,” he said. “I’ve gone up the mast to try and hold it together. Sailing with no main will be a painfully slow finish.”

The current ETA for the damaged Imerys is Saturday at 10:00 BST.

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