Gitana 11 has moved into second place as a result of Banque Populaire's enforced stop in Cape Verde to repair its starboard rudder. So Lionel Lemonchois and Yann
Among the monohulls, the contest at the head of the fleet is hotting up nicely. After a week's racing, there are 4 boats separated by less than 5 miles. Gitana Eighty is pushing Safran all the way, while Groupe Bel and Ecover have moved into contention overnight while passing the Canaries.
Lionel Lemonchois, skipper of Gitana 11:
“It's a shame for Banque Populaire as she was having a good race, but it's by no means over for her and we're monitoring the situation closely. We're taking good care of our starboard foil and we had to do a fair bit of mechanics yesterday. It was just a few minor problems, but when you're at sea, they always take time to sort out. Apart from that, things are going very smoothly, the weather's fine and we're doing a steady 25 or 30 knots… it's like skating on ice and we're taking full advantage. This morning, our average speed was 29 knots. The boast was set to auto pilot and it reminded me of the feeling I had during the Route du Rhum, when the boat was really flying along…
Groupama has not put a foot wrong so far and I don't know what can be done to counter her. All we can do is just stay on the offensive and hope we get an opening. I don't even know what day it is, let alone know when we might finish… there's just over 2,000 miles to go, so something like in four days time! But between now and then, we'll see who comes out of the doldrums in the best situation. Things looks as though they're deteriorating a bit there so we're keeping our eye on it…”
Jean-Baptiste Le Vaillant, co-skipper of Gitana Eighty:
“There's not a lot of wind… we're sailing at 5 to 6 knots with three boats in sight. Safran is just ahead, and we're dead level with Groupe Bel and Ecover. We've lost Foncia since she decided to go it alone off to the east, but we're watching out for her, as it's a throw of the dice that could pay off. We'll find out in 5 or 6 hours, I reckon. The Canaries have had an accordion effect… we were all slowed down and those behind us have caught up, but that's ocean racing for you! Everything's going well on board; we've had to make a few repairs, but nothing major. The race is interesting as we've had time to compare ourselves with the others. The only problem is that they have too! We're starting to get to know the boat well in up to 20 knots of wind. Generally, I'm happy with my first doublehanded transat; it's quite relaxing even in these conditions, but at the end of the day, it's a lot of work and energy just to go a lot slower than on a multihull! Having said that, it's also less stressful and these boats are great fun to sail!”