After 48 hours at sea and nearly 1,700 miles covered since the start, the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild is offshore of the Canaries this morning. Making an average speed of nearly 32 knots since Ushant, the six sailors who make up her crew have been endeavouring to exploit every possible aspect of their weather window and are sparing no effort in the mission to get their 32-metre giant down to the equator, as evidenced by the string of gybes performed yesterday to get around Madeira. Though the wind is easing on the approach to the Spanish archipelago, the wind has dipped below 20 knots since last night and Franck Cammas, Charles Caudrelier and their four crew still have a slight lead in relation to the record, namely 117 miles according to the 07:00 UTC position report.
As indicated on the weather models, the ridge of high pressure is continuing its course eastwards and is gradually sprawling out in the wake of the latest Gitana. In constant contact with their onshore router, Marcel van Triest, the men of the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild have been utilising every possible variation in the wind since late yesterday in a bid to gain southing as quickly as possible, whilst conserving a trajectory over to the west to line themselves up for their descent towards the southern hemisphere. Though there is a strong temptation to favour a passage focused purely on speed and the ability to slip along over this section of the course, positioning is key since it is already colouring the point at which they pass through the doldrums and above all, in the short term, the angle at which the crew of Gitana Team will be able to hook up with the NE’ly trade wind.
For this third day of the record, the programme will focus on the negotiation of the wind shadow created by the Canaries which, like Madeira yesterday, is proving to be quite a task given how far it extends southwards, together with the management of the trajectory for the next ‘checkpoint’, that of the Cape Verde islands offshore of Mauritania.
Night message from Yann Riou
“Yesterday, we passed quite close to Porto Santo but as we rounded Madeira the visibility became blurred as the island was completely enveloped in cloud with a fair bit of stormy development. However, I did manage to complete my first drone flight, which I’ll make a point of processing so I can send it to you in the morning. In the last few hours, the wind has eased as we approach the Canaries. It feels paradoxical somehow after a rapid and fairly bracing start to the record, but this temporary calm is not unpleasant, especially when you’re getting some rest off watch. All in all though, we prefer it when we’re going fast and the boat is whistling. That’s what we’re here for after all!”