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THE WORD FROM THE WATER

“The sailing conditions are not very pleasant, the sea state is hell! I hope it will calm down. In a few hours the wind will rise and we will face the strongest gales.”


06.05.2016


Francois Gabart, Louis Duc, Lalou Roucayrol, Anna-Maria Renken, Jean-Pierre Dick, Phil Sharp, Vincent Riou and Thomas Covilleace


FRANCOIS GABART/MACIF

“It’s great dual with Thomas. This is what we came for ... But Transat bakerly, it is no longer what it was (waves, icebergs, biting winds). I’m in Crocs and shorts! Considering the size of the Atlantic, how close we are is ridiculous.”



LOUIS DUC/CARAC

“I maintain the boat in anticipation of the next challenge, a very active depression with gusts of up to 50 knots. It’s a rare system and will be violent. We’ll be out of race mode and into security mode, trying to keep the boat going with little to no damage inflicted. It is possible that I will stop the boat as we need the centre of the low pressure, avoiding the eye of the storm.”



LALOU ROUCAYROL/ARKEMA

“All is well on board, but I was sorry to hear about the damage Erwan Le Roux’s boat suffered. Hopefully it can be repaired in time for the rest of the season. The Multi 50 Arkema is faring well, no problem to report on board. I made the most of the ridge to have some rest, and the sun helped dry my wet weather gear. I recharged the batteries in view of the low pressure system ahead.”



ANNA-MARIA RENKEN/NIVEA



“Hello! There has been no news so far because I have been busy concentrating on my first solo transatlantic race…it uses up a lot of mental energy. I’ve been exhausted even through the conditions so far have been fair. I’ve managed to get things sorted in my head a bit now, and it’s going better. I have my battle plan in the bag as we near the depression. I have eaten a lot (I’m eating like a farmer because of the amount of calories I’m burning up on the boat as many as 10,000 over 24 hours. It’s been fun to talk with my competitors on the VHF, it’s been good and ,voila, very fast!”


JEAN-PIERRE DICK/ST MICHEL VIRBAC


“The sailing conditions are not very pleasant, the sea state is hell! I hope it will calm down. In a few hours the wind will rise and we will face the strongest gales. I hope it’s ok, we’re looking at 10 hours of difficult weather. There are many things to check onboard when faced with these difficult and risky conditions. I tidy St Michel Virbac - bags and sails are stowed away, the keyboard is away, the headsail is well wrapped. Finally I stash the mouse at the chart table.

“Over the next 24 hours, I’ll try to get some sleep, feed myself and look out for any problems onboard. In 24 hours, I would not like to be where I am right now. This area will be carnage with winds over 50 knots.”



PHIL SHARP/IMERYS


“I managed to go up the mast yesterday evening to retrieve the halyard. It was a serious ordeal and I got thrown around a lot despite sea being relatively calm. Very pleased though as it meant that I could retrieve my masthead halyard so I could fly my big spinnaker this morning.

I managed to repair the fractional spinnaker and sock, and have just hoisted that in place of the big kite as the breeze is building! This is going to be a very useful sail I think, so glad I managed to fish it out of the sea after the halyard failed… Incidentally it was the metallic fitting that failed.

Currently trying to get some rest in ahead of tonight’s storm, where the wind will go to over 40 kts constant… gusting 50 or more. So am pretty anxious about the conditions ahead - the important thing is to be prepared for it, keep safe and keep the boat in one piece. But difficult to know what we can expect…


OH NO


Kiss of death - I don’t believe it - I was just in the middle of writing about the kite repair and heard a flapping sound - I went on deck to see that my medium spinnaker, after all that, has completely shredded itself into pieces. I had to rush on deck to get it down quickly, and had to stop the boat and haul it out of the water once again. This is a massive blow as it was my most useful spinnaker of the lot. I have two others but they are for use at the extremes and this was a good compromise for medium to strong downwind. Perhaps it was still damaged from when it went in the water before - I have hoisted my small spinnaker instead which is currently quick as the breeze is increasing quickly.”

I’m a little nervous having to deal with this system. While staying at the top, I’m in the best position, it will really blow hard. I hope to place me in the least windy area tomorrow, east side of the system ... before facing the gale in the night between Friday and Saturday.”


VINCENT RIOU/PRB


“We’re in the most uncomfortable stage right now because the boat is facing the sea. I’m regulating the speed of the boat, it remains manageable, but there will be some difficult times with the wind strengthening today. By this evening we will be in the worst of the weather. The boat is performing well, but it takes control and regulation.”


THOMAS COVILLE/SODEBO


“The last few hours have been calmer aboard Sodebo, but I just looked over a weather file forecasting 29 to 30 knots. When there is breeze, Sodebo is very efficient. When it is light or medium airs, Francois goes faster.

We’re halfway there so the race will still be full of surprises. I’ve eaten well and slept well. I’m at the desk right now looking at my set up for the next stage of the race. Aboard Multihull, 60nm can go by very quickly. As Michel Desjoyeaux once said, who wins is the one who makes the fewest errors. I’m really focused and I want to win.


The hunted hunter is back! It’s exciting.”

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