With less than half a day to go before the finish in Nice, nothing is decided yet! Four trimarans are still contesting the places on the podium and the weather conditions forecast for Monday leave room for plenty of possible permutations. Admittedly, Pascal Bidégorry and Franck Cammas were the first to drag themselves out of the high-pressure bubble off the Balearics, but their lead over Michel Desjoyeaux and Frédéric Le Peutrec remains limited. Despite being still about fifty miles off the pace at 07:00, Gitana 11 is well placed on the ocean to pass on the Porquerolles broadside, whereas the leading trio will have to change tack this morning to get around the island. In other words, a good twenty miles could be gleaned!
And with a light easterly headwind then forecast, followed by a slow rotation to the southeast while dropping further, there could still be some changes to the situation. For Gitana 12, the position is less favourable as she's following the same trajectory as the three leaders, so with a gap of 75 miles and the leading trio no more than 85 miles away from Nice, a winning comeback looks highly improbable. Essentially, Thierry Duprey du Vorsent and Co experienced particular difficulties emerging from the Balearic archipelago, losing around thirty miles overnight.
But the Mediterranean has the habit of springing surprises: with the heat descending on the Côte d'Azur, the light breeze this Monday morning could very well become nullified by the thermals, which could result in a general assembly of the fleet in the Baie des Anges this evening. So the five trimarans could yet be at close quarters over the final few miles! Anything is possible…
Frédéric Le Peutrec onboard Gitana 11, Monday at 08:00
"We're making good progress and we've taken an ocean route which could see us come back strongly against the leading trio. Because they're by the coast, they're going to have to change tack to pass Levant, whereas we can sail straight past. The current south-easterly 12-knot wind should move eastwards as we approach the shores of the Var region, which will force everyone to change tack, at least as far as Saint Tropez Bay. After that, the wind's going to turn favourably towards the southeast, but it'll be hot this lunchtime and the wind may drop off totally before Nice… We're still very confident about the end of this race. There are still one or two tricks to try, like we did in the Balearics by effecting a series of gybes along the shores of Minorca, right in the middle of all the amateur sailors! We're well out of the calm patches now and we've succeeded in breaking away from Gitana 12. There are still a hundred miles or so to go in light air and we're far from being beaten… There's everything still to play for !"