31 May Transat en Double In The Balance
The last 450 miles of the Transat en Double Concarneau to Saint Barthélemy sees the leaders of the 18 boat fleet finely balanced with a group to the north which have been gaining and the long established leading pack which have been slowed slightly in lighter airs.
In the southern pack are Ireland’s Tom Dolan racing with Gildas Mahé on Breizh Cola were lying in fourth place, less than one mile behind third placed Guyot Environnement sailed by Pierre Leboucher and Thomas Rouxel. The leaders are TeamWork, Nils Palmieri and Julien Villion who are only seven miles ahead of Dolan and Mahé after 17 days of racing.
Weed has continued to be a problem for Dolan and Mahe, as the Irish skipper reported, There is seaweed everywhere wrecking all our fun. That and Teamwork up in the north who are screaming towards the finish stealing away hope of a podium at every pointage. They have a very light ridge of high pressure to get through though, so that is our hope, the same ridge we have dived south to avoid. They should be able to sail straight at the finish, but in very light winds, whereas we have to zig zag along the south of it, in winds that are not exactly strong. Up until now it has been all about wind pressure rather than the angle of heading, let’s just hope that it stays that way.”
They were six duos on the north route eight on the south route. If the southerners had an advantage in recent days, the balance seemed to have turned. Since Thursday the routing had swung to favor northerners including the current leader who are also positioned in the north: TeamWork.
“The southerners were faced with sluggish winds today, Friday,” confirms Yann Château of the Race Direction, race director. “The southern group has regained speeds in line with the weather forecast while a soft zone is forecast for the next few hours in the north.”