Photo: Vincent Curutchet

MACIF overhauls PRB

Last night at sea for Europa Warm Up IMOCA 60 solo skippers

Saturday June 2nd 2012, Author: James Boyd, Location: none selected

Though the rounding of the Fastnet Rock was inspiring, it was perhaps a little too quiet for Vincent Riou, the leader of the Europa Warm’Up Race.

The PRB skipper saw some of his hard won lead melt away to second-placed Francois Gabart on MACIF.

"Rounding the lighthouse was very cool," said the 2004 Vendee Globe winner. "We arrived before dark. As the sea was not bad.. But we still have a job to do before finishing in La Rochelle. There will still be a transition to manage."

Riou and Gabart have extended from Bernard Stamm's Cheminées Poujoulat on this final singlehanded leg to La Rochelle where the winner should arrive Sunday afternoon or even late morning. In fact at the 1700 sched the young MACIF skipper has just pulled ahead of PRB, to lead by just over a mile.

It will be a night of intense concentration for both skippers as they go head to head to the finish - a sprint along the Brittany and Vendée coasts. Even if this is a coast they are both equally familiar with, it is busy and complicated and the northwesterly wind might set up a spinnaker gybing duel en route to the line. The pace and intensity of the finale is likely to be reminiscent of the Figaro racing that both skippers know so well.

Chemineés Poujoulat has faded slightly, skipper Bernard Stamm struggling for decent weather info. ""The wind is more varied and suddenly, there is more work," said Bernard Stamm. "Since this morning, I have no weather information and suddenly, I think I'm out to the west too much. In passing the Fastnet, I saw Vincent in front, and then later I saw MACIF as well, it was nice.”

Armel Le Cléac’h revealed today that his mainsail halyard lock problem, which has haunted him at the Azores had come back again. The temporary fix he had made has failed and he spent some time under headsail alone before reaching another solution which will allow him to reach La Rochelle, he hopes. Javier ‘Bubi’ Sanso on ACCIONA 100% EcoPowered is expected around 24 hours behind the first finishers.

Positions at 1800 UTC

Pos Boat Skipper Lat Long Spd Crs DTF DTL
1 MACIF Francois Gabart 48 23.56' N 6 41.95' W 14.3 132 264 0
2 PRB Vincent Riou 48 41.60' N 6 25.40' W 17.6 125 265.4 1.3
3 Cheminées Poujoulat Bernard Stamm 48 36.84' N 7 22.96' W 14.3 126 294.1 30.1
4 Banque Populaire Armel Le Cleac'h 49 13.20' N 8 04.92' W 13.4 140 336.9 72.9
5 ACCIONA 100%EcoPowered Javier Sanson 50 52.16' N 10 18.72' W 7 8 506.9 242.9
ABD Virbac-Paprec 3              
ABD Groupe Bel              

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