Fleet divides

Leads gybe north in the IMOCA Ocean Masters Transat St Barth-Port la Forêt race

Wednesday December 9th 2015, Author: James Boyd, Location: none selected

Yesterday evening the IMOCA Ocean Masters Transat St Barth-Port la Forêt race has divided in two with the front runners gybing north. Since Monday the wind has been slowly veering into the southwest as the leaders have been heading up the western side of an area of high pressure. The boats have been slowly taking this shift turning them on to a northeasterly heading. While this is theoretically good, being the course taking the boat directly towards the finish line, it was sadly not sustainable and with the wind now into the southwest the choice has been continuing on starboard, taking the boats closer to the windless centre of the high or gybing north, which may be substantially off course but is taking the boats closer to the frontal systems associated with the string of powerful depressions that are rumbling east across the North Atlantic.

Paul Meilhat on SMA was the first to gybe just before 1700 UTC yesterday afternoon and was promptly followed by race leader Seb Josse on Edmond de Rothschild, the only new generation foil-born IMOCA 60 competing in the seven-strong line-up. They were followed by Morgan Lagraviere on the older generation Safran (ex Hugo Boss, BT, etc). Howeverthe fourth boat in the group of front runners, Le Souffle du Nord, skippered by Mini Transat winner Thomas Ruyant initially gybed north but then soon thought better of it and has gybed back on to starboard.

This morning the leader Edmond de Rothschild is some 300 miles ESE of Bermuda with SMA to the southwest and Safran now due south of her, respectively 25 and 38 miles behind in terms of distance to finish. The wind is continuing into veer and the skippers are awaiting the arrival of a cold front associated with a depression currently centred to the southeast of Nova Scotia. Once the wind has fully veered into the northwest after the front's crossed them, the boats will be able to get back on course for Port la Forêt.

Image above courtesy of Expedition and PredictWind

Positions at 0900 UTC

Pos Boat / crew Latitude Longitude 4hr aver   24 hrs     DTF DTL
        Crs Spd Crs Spd Dist    
 1 Edmond De Rothschild
Sébastien Josse
31°22.08'N 58°53.71'W 16° 15.7 14° 12 288.7 2665.1 0
 2 SMA
Paul Meilhat
31°06.02'N 59°16.64'W 17° 14.9 13° 11.3 277.1 2690.4 25.4
 3 Safran
Morgan Lagravière
30°37.50'N 59°09.53'W 13° 15.8 19° 10.9 262 2703.4 38.3
 4 Le Souffle du Nord
Thomas Ruyant
28°43.34'N 57°31.53'W 74° 12.8 44° 9.1 219.1 2710.3 45.2
 5 Newrest - Matmut
Fabrice Amédéo
27°31.10'N 57°02.53'W 74° 10.7 49° 8.5 204.4 2738.1 73.1
 6 O Canada
Éric Holden
26°58.42'N 57°44.95'W 71° 8.3 43° 8.4 201.8 2788.1 123
 7 Currency House Kilcullen
Enda O'Coineen
23°32.58'N 59°17.65'W 52° 10 40° 9.6 229.3 2989.3 324.2


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