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Transat Paprec - Day 2

by Transat Paprec 1 May 15:43 BST 1 May 2023
Camille Bertel and Pierre Leboucher (Cap Ingelec) among the leaders - Transat Paprec © Vincent Olivaud

After just over 24 hours of racing across the Bay of Biscay the first strategic choices are upon the 11 mixed doubles duos racing on the Transat Paprec from Concarneau to Saint Barths.

At midday there was less than ten miles separating the leaders Cap Ingelec (Camille Bertel / Pierre Leboucher) - who have consistently erred to the east of the main peloton - to the backmarkers Race for Science - Verder (Edouard Golbery /Alicia de Pfyffer) who are furthest west, closest to the rhumb line.

But the leaders have been first to encounter a blocking high pressure ridge which was yielding only light winds. Bertel and French ex 470 Olympian Leboucher seem intent on being most east of the group as they attempt to get through and be first into the stronger winds on the other side.

The male-female duos were blessed with a gentle first night allowing them to settle into their respective watches and to find their marks. Early leader Monday morning was one of the favourites Mutuelle Bleu sailed by Corentin Horeau and Pauline Courtois. Horeau, who won the opening solo race of the season the Solo Maitre Coq, reported this morning.

"We had a pretty good night. We didn't get much sleep because there was no wind, maybe 5-6 knots but we managed to take small naps. We had to keep the boat going forward. We tried to do two-hour watches to be able to be on our game when the wind picks up tonight. We have just been snacking so far. But we are slowly getting into the race. In general, it takes two or three days before getting into it well in terms of the race rhythm and the food menu."

Loïs Berrehar (Skipper MACIF) in fourth echoed his rival: "We did our best to get into our routine, looking at our routing, running our watches, set up the bunk to get good sleep and got through the first foodbag, one day out of the 18. I'm happy to be at sea. The atmosphere is good, we're happy to have started like we have."

Martin Le Pape was one of the favourites but cannot compete because of an injury to his talented co-skipper Elodie Bonafous (whose project it is). He observes, "The objective for everyone is to cross the high pressure ridge and get out of this windless zone as quickly as possible. They have north-westerly winds at the moment. The conditions are nice, with weather and fairly good seas. They have to find the little gap, the mouse hole to get into the northeast wind behind the ridge they are currently crossing," Le Pape notes, "This can be decisive for the next few days at least."

"We are looking for the best route but it is not easy because there are many possible options. Pauline is at the helm. We're trying to keep the boat going. The next few hours will be decisive for the choice of route," said Corentin Horeau this morning.

Le Pape concludes, "We saw that there were different possible options. Camille and Pierre said to themselves that the pressure would come back from the south instead, while the others chose go west to try to catch the wind a little earlier to the west. The problem is that we do not know who will be right. Given the situation, it is possible that those who have gone further south like Pierre and Camille will get the wind faster."

This evening the leaders should see the wind build, under spinnaker, and speed up. "Tonight they will soon find an easterly wind of 15-20 knots building more as they approach Cape Finisterre, which they should reach around 2 p.m. tomorrow. The easterly wind will ease again at the end of Cape Finisterre in the lee of the mountains. Things will then get complicated due to a depression which will approach the Spanish coasts during the night of Tuesday to Wednesday. The competitors will be upwind again with the south-westerly wind," finishes Le Pape.

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