23rd Mini Transat EuroChef Stage 2 Day 13

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23rd Mini Transat EuroChef Stage 2 Day 13 – The final sprint

by Mini Transat EuroChef 10 Nov 21:52 UTC
November 10, 2021

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With the first now less than 500 miles from the finish and expected in the port of Saint-François this Friday, the battle is becoming increasingly fierce within the fleet of this 23rd Mini Transat EuroChef.

In the prototype category, the leading trio of the first stage, Tanguy Bouroullec (969 – Tollec MP / Pogo), Fabio Muzzolini (945 – Tartine sans Beurre) and Pierre Le Roy (1019 – TeamWork) seem to be on the right track for each of them. ‘between them to keep their place on the podium. Of course, it remains to be seen in what order, although things are slowly starting to clear up. On the other hand, the situation is much more uncertain among the production boats, where the first three are grouped together within 8 miles and the first ten within 50 miles. Uncertainty then reigns for both the stage and the general classification!

“The breeze rarely blows above 13-15 knots, but we had a gust of 20 knots during our first squall yesterday. one of the seven support boats for the event, in a report sent to the race director on Wednesday. As we approach the Antilles Arc, the air instability is logically increasing.

As such, sailors must be able to anticipate strong variations in the breeze. The game plan should now involve adjusting the sail area accordingly to avoid getting caught and potentially breaking equipment, as well as sailing as efficiently as possible at this stage of the race, with an emphasis on payback for every mile as that may well prove to be decisive. Clearly, there is still everything to play for and it will be vital not to leave any regrets on the circuit.

More than ever, it is therefore time for them to give their all and put everything in place, even if, after twelve days of racing in this second stage and almost as many during the first stage last month for the vast majority of the competitors, fatigue begins to set in for both bodies and machines.

A technical problem solved for Tanguy Bouroullec

In the fleet of prototypes, Pierre Le Roy still leads the dance with 62 miles ahead of Fabio Muzzolini, who has put his foot to the ground, and 91 miles over Tanguy Bouroullec, who indicated via a message to the race director that he managed to solve a technical problem this morning. While it’s not clear, it may partly explain why the current leader in the overall standings has posted much slower speeds than his rivals over the past few days.

It is also evocative of the fact that the skipper of Finistère will complete his race at high speed with his Pogo Foiler back and operating at its true potential. We will have to wait and see if this will be enough to upset his two rivals because, until the finish line is crossed, it could still go in all directions ….

There is no shortage of examples of course, including the incredible misadventure of British skipper Alex Thomson, who shattered his dreams of victory in the Route du Rhum 2018 on a rock 60 miles from the finish line when the race had been actually won. On a more optimistic note, we can all the same attest that within 48 hours of the arrival in Guadeloupe, the skipper of TeamWork took a favorable option, both for the stage victory and for the victory of the test.

Barring damage or massive upheaval, he is expected to cross the finish line this Friday between 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. local time (or between 2:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. UTC) with a potential 6 or 7 hour lead over the finalist.

Literally anyone’s game in the production fleet

In the category of production boats, there is still a big cloud of uncertainty which obscures the classification. Rarely in the history of racing have we seen such a scenario. Looking back at the last two editions, in 2019 Ambrogio Beccaria dominated the race with flying colors, while in 2017 Erwan Le Draoulec really scored the point in first place several days before making the finish in Martinique. This time around, it is virtually impossible to make firm predictions.

Four days before the finish (the ETAs in this category oscillate between 14 and 15 November depending on the last routing), the three leaders, Giammarco Sardi (992 – Antistene), Alberto Riva (993 – EdiliziAcrobatica) and Loïc Blin ( 872 – Technique Voile – Les Entrepreneurs du Golfe) are grouped together within a radius of only 7.5 miles while behind, the fleet is now flying towards the finish, despite the fairly significant lateral separation.

This is evidenced in the top ten by the fact that less than 160 miles separate Quentin Riché (947 – Race for Pure Ocean) the northernmost and Hugo Dhallenne (979 – YC Saint Lunaire) the southernmost. Keeping the pace and slaloming as best they can between squalls will certainly be the key to this final sprint and angles will also come into play. Indeed, in the area surrounding the Caribbean, the wind tends to shift a little towards the east under the influence of the Azores high pressure. This means that the more northerly competitors have a slightly more favorable wind angle to finish the finish compared to their competitors on the other side of the water.

In short, you understood it, the dice are far from being cast!

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