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Dalin marks comeback with early lead

After missing both of last Autumn’s major Transatlantic races Charlie Dalin is marking his return to solo racing with a dominant display so far at the front of the IMOCA fleet of the Transat CIC which started from Lorient yesterday lunchtime. On his Verdier designed MACIF Santé et Prévoyance, he led off the line at the start gun and has remained at the front of the 33 boat fleet since then.





After working along the Brittany coast – a familiar playground to Dalin and many of the other former Figaro racers in the fleet – racing initially in a patchy, light breeze the leaders passed south of the Ushant TSS shipping exclusion zone around midnight last night the leaders have been making steady speeds of 19-21 kts heading NW towards the corner of Ireland.  “The week (in Lorient) went well and it was good to be back among the actors of the circuit, racers, organisers, the training centre, all my partners and I am grateful to everyone but to be back out of the water where I have been waiting for so long, it is top. It has started well.” Said Dalin last night.


He has a useful buffer of around seven nautical miles on second placed rival Jéremie Beyou (Charal), whilst Paul Meilhat (Biotherm) is third. Meilhat said last night “We have to go through a little ridge and then find the front tomorrow morning with about 30kts but we had a nice tour of the Glenans islands on the way out and in among the rocks and racing side by side, in contact with everyone else was nice, all starting quite gently is nice. But we have 48 hours ahead of us which will be quite complicated.”


Briton Sam Davies (Initiatives Coeur) is well established in the leading peloton in sixth at around 11 miles behind Dalin. The top daggerboard boat is, as expected, Benjamin Ferré on Monnoyuer-duo for a Job, which was previously SMA and Banque Populaire. He is in close contact with Switzerland’s Justine Mettraux (Teamwork-Team SNEF) in 10th and Germany’s Boris Herrmann (Malizia-Seaexplorer) in 11th.


In their respective races to make Vendée Globe qualification Swiss-German  Ollie Heer (Oliver Heer Ocean Racing) and Britain’s James Harayda (Gentoo Sailing Team) have made solid starts in 26th and 27th. “These first 36 hours I am just looing to keep everything together, keep it simple. Upwind is not the easiest for Gentoo so my goal is to just stay with the fleet and just wait for the breeze to move behind us and hopefully make some places.”  Reported Harayda who is also on the comeback trail after missing last Autumn’s races.


With a persistent foil problem Arnaud Boissières (La Mie Câline) is heading back to his base in Les Sables d’Olonne to meet with his technical team.


In Class 40 Italy’s Transat Jacques Vabre winner Ambrogio Beccaria (Alle Grande Pirelli) is in third this morning but further to weather of the Café Joyeaux sailed by Nicolas d’Estais, who reported last night “We had a super start, what a start and it all felt a bit like a day training. It was good to be up among the first which gives me confidence for the future.”

 

 

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