GO CIRCULAR still in the leading group in South Atlantic
On board, after 13 days at sea, the current events that drives the teams leave little room for imagination. For Holcim-PRB, it is more a question of being in the reality of the race, not letting up on the adjustments, and placing the cursor in the right place to flirt with the ice limit and finish with the bypass of St. Helena. Strategy, positioning and speed are what the crew of the GO CIRCULAR project is obsessed with as they prepare for an intense end of the leg in light airs.
In this area where the air masses of the northern hemisphere and those of the southern hemisphere clash, Kevin Escoffier and his crew have no choice ... If they are usually the masters of anticipation and planning, they have to put aside their methods here and forget for a few hours the thrill of high-speed sailing. Trying to get the best position, exploiting the slightest wind, imagining how to get out of this particularly thick zone in which they have already been sailing for more than 24 hours ... In this context, intuition overtakes rationality sometimes.
The overnight gybe has made the situation a little clearer on the South Atlantic chessboard... At the front, the Swiss monohull is progressing almost side by side with 11th Hour Racing Team, the current leader, and Team Malizia. The trio has widened the gap to Biotherm, which has torn its spinnaker and is now 62.9 miles from the leader. Driven by a 20 knots north-westerly flow, the leading IMOCA boats are sailing at a good speed on very manageable seas.
“We're happy to be going fast, we're trying to find the right adjustments, to enjoy the glide with a pleasant sea state for the last 12-24 hours, south in the Atlantic. Everything is going well, we can't wait to get there but we are happy to get the miles in the right direction quickly because we've been waiting for this for a long time.”
describes Tom Laperche, who spends most of his time at the chart table in his role as a strategist.
This route to Cape Town was going to be full of traps and it left little respite for the crew. The end of the leg seems to be of the same nature. A zone of transition and light winds (high pressure ridge) has invited itself on the way to Table Bay. "It will be nice for the show", says Kevin Escoffier with a touch of irony. Regarding the cardio, there is no doubt that there will be a lot of rhythm, as the tension will rise over the last few miles of the race! The crews will have to find the best way to deal with the lack of pressure for less time than their competitors. There are just under 1,700 miles left to go ahead the bows of the 60-foot IMOCA and no one can say today who will succeed in playing their cards right.In the coming hours, Holcim-PRB will continue to move a little further south and east and face more sustained winds. Shorts and T-shirts will be replaced by fleeces, and wet weather gear in contact with the southern ocean. A change of atmosphere in which it will be necessary to be even more careful. Sam Goodchild remarks:
“We are heading south and east. The conditions are becoming more and more intense and the winds are getting heavier. We need to keep the boat in one piece and be careful for ourselves as well because they’re quite violent boats so if anyone gets injured it could be a long way to Cape Town.”
Once the ice limit is reached, the crew of the Swiss monohull will head northeast to finally reach Cape Town. Then, everyone on board will have to draw on their final resources and keep a cool head, as victory will most likely be decided in the final miles. An end worthy of the most beautiful historical epics is announced for Sunday!
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