A baptism of fire as the early stages of the Vendée-Arctique race continue to prove tough on the skippers and their boats.
It has been a long hard beat into the northwesterly wind which has been hitting 35 knots in the gusts.
Throughout, the leader has remained the Frenchman Thomas Ruyant on LinkedOut – the boat named after a charity supporting the homeless.
During their second night at sea, on their way from Les Sables d’Olonne to Iceland, the fleet has been closing on the southwest corner of Ireland.
With the leaders coming within a couple of miles of the Irish coast near Kinsale in a bid to get out of the worst of the weather.
Ruyant has set a tough pace for the leading group which has settled into a collection of four boats, with Charlie Dalin on Apivia this morning in second place just one-and-a-half nautical miles behind, then Jérémie Beyou on Charal (+2.5) and Kévin Escoffier on PRB (+3.9) in fourth place.
At a position about 45 miles south of the Fastnet Rock on starboard tack, Ruyant was pushing his foiler ahead at 14 knots with about 800 miles to go to reach the IOC UNESCO waypoint off the southwest tip of Iceland.
Beyou has been sailing with two reefs in his mainsail and the J3 and he has been eyeing the challenging weather conditions that he and his rivals will have to deal with over the next few days.
Behind the leading group is a competitive second rank of boats lead by Boris Herrmann on SeaExplorer-YC de Monaco who is 13 miles off the lead. He is just three miles ahead of Isabelle Joschke on MACSF, with Britain’s Sam Davies another four miles behind on Initiatives-Coeur.
Fifteen miles to leeward of that group is the Japanese sailor Kojiro Shiraishi on DMG MORI Global One who is nearly 30 miles behind Ruyant but has been steadily climbing through the fleet.
A second boat is returning to port with Damien Seguin following the earlier example of Sébastien Simon (ARKÉA PAPREC) deciding to head for Port-La Forêt on board Groupe APICIL.
Seguin discovered that his alternator mounting had completely sheered off in the upwind conditions that were battering his boat and realised he would not have enough power to run his onboard systems without being able to use the engine.
Leading positions Monday at 10:30 hrs:
1st LinkedOut – Thomas Ruyant – DTF 3 117 nm
2nd APIVIA – Charlie Dalin – DTF 3 119.6 nm
3rd Charal – Jérémie Beyou – DTF 3 119.7 nm
4th PRB – Kévin Escoffier – DTF 3 121.8 nm
5th SeaExplorer – YC de Monaco – Boris Herrmann – DTF 3 128.9 nm
6th MACSF – Isabelle Joschke – DTF 3 131.0 nm
7th Initiatives – Coeur – Samantha Davies – DTF 3 133.9 nm
8th Maître CoQ – Yannick Bestaven – DTF 3 143.3 nm
9th Banque Populaire X – Clarisse Crémer – DTF 3 144.0 nm
10th DMG Mori Global One – Kojiro Shiraishi – DTF 3 155.3 nm