What does it feel like to be more than 5 days upwind, with winds never less than 20-25 knots and often as high as 40 or more? Hard to imagine exactly without being inside the Atlantic “washing machine” that the Class 40s are facing at the Route du Rhum. Perhaps today, north of the Azores, was the last hard upwind day for the Classes, with yet another front passed behind which opened up the west-northwest wind rotation that should in the next few hours push the fleet to the transverse-lasco.
Route du Rhum – The Italians’ strategy in Class 40
After at least 48 complex hours, in which he was first busy restoring the textile padeye for the J2 tack, and then had to record (unresolved at the moment) an autopilot problem that prevented him from sailing in “wind mode,” Ambrogio Beccaria on Allagrande Pirelli is the first of ours in the rankings. The Milanese is now firmly in the top 5, and has managed to limit the gap to 20 miles, after the passage of the last front, from a wild Yoann Richomme who leads the fleet. Good position of Beccaria, which seems to have a trajectory that will pass within the Azores archipelago.
Also doing well is Alberto Bona on IBSA who is in seventh position 37 miles behind the leader. Presumably Bona also had some minor problems: in yesterday’s day the Turinese, who was ahead of Beccaria at one stage, seemed to slow down his pace for a few hours and go a bit more defensive, a likely sign that he had to get something on board. IBSA now seems to have regained its normal rhythm and is absolutely in the lead group to play this second part of Route du Rhum, with still 2500 miles to cover before the finish line.
Consolidating his position in the top 20, now 16th, is Andrea Fornaro, who is accusing 100 miles behind Richomme but is still running a strategically clean race at a good pace.
Ultim and Imoca
Giancarlo Pedote with the Imoca 60 Prysmian Group sails in 22nd position with about 300 miles behind a sidereal Charlie Dalin, who is leaving his opponents no chance with an unbroken breakaway almost from the start of the race. These are not easy days for Giancarlo Pedote, the Tuscan declared the loss of his J2, a sail that upwind in windy conditions is very important. He sails with the much smaller J3, which forces him into more leaning angles to maintain good speed. The arrival of carrying gaits, which Imoca should also find soon, will put an end to this complex phase of his race.
The first to arrive in Pointe a Pitre, probably within 48 hours or less, will be the Ultim. Charles Caudrelier seemed to have the race in his grasp as he entered the Trade Wind, and he increased his lead over Gabart to 100 miles. However, this is a margin that with the speeds of the 33-meter trimarans in this class would be burned in a matter of hours, 4 or less, and it imposes a very high level of concentration on the leader.