The leaders of La Solitaire du Figaro Paprec are due to reach the Fastnet Rock Wenesday night.
The long-awaited final turn of a 610 miles first stage from Caen, the lonely rock heralding a last 45miles sprint into Kinsale, Ireland where they are expected Thursday morning.
All of their attentions have been focused on getting clear of a high pressure ridge and choosing their best position to get through a final front which then promises a fast, brisk final night a tsea, 20kts from the SW with gusts of 25-28 kts set to finally give some fast downwind and reaching.
At the Isles of Scilly Tuesday night,Ireland’s Tom Dolan (Smurfit Kappa-Kingspan) broke to the north east from the top group and held the stage lead through much of the day.
But the Irish skipper has spent several hours slowed in the light winds and had dropped to fourth in the late afternoon.
Solitaire du Figaro Leaders Wednesday 20:00 hrs
The main peloton, including the solo-skippers who had led in the English Channel, Guillaume Piroulle (RégionBretagne), Corentin Horeau (Banque Populaire) and Basil Bourgnon (Edenred) are still tightly grouped some 30 miles to the west of Dolan.
The Swiss skipper Nils Palmieri(Teamwork) and two French rookies Julie Simon (Douze) and BenoîtTuduri (Capso en Cavale) who were holding second and first places respectively are a few hundred metres apart.
The western pack should be into the strong downwind conditions first. but will have sailed many more miles than Dolan whose logical focus seems to be sailing the shortest distance to the iconic rocky light he knows well.
Best British skipper is race third timer David Paul in 27th on Sailingpoint.co/Just a Drop who is less than a mile ahead of Kiwi rookie Ben Beasley (Ocean Attitude) and Germany’s Susann Beucke (This Race is Female).
The young New Zealander has sailed a solid first ever La Solitaire leg but will be disappointed to be protested for sailing into the TSS exclusion zone at the Scillies, a tough rookie lesson to take.