As expected the wind decreased and swung into the west during the night allowing the leading boats to raise their genekers and lift their sprirts too as speeds increased.
Yet just as the leaders lengthened their stride, once again they were met with adversity when the wind died and left a horrible swell that made filling sails very hard.
The leading gang of four have broken away and will likely be eyeballing each other far harder than the rest of the fleet since one slipped could cost them dearly.
As predicted, the lighter and more beamed breeze was not good for Karen Liquid who, without the bowsprit which was broken on the first night, was not able to set a geneker.
It has become noticeable that many of those who would not normally be considered 'hot' are in fact holding their boats together well enough to realise good ranking while many of the high fliers, it could be argued, were trying to burn up the track too soon and the increased loadings and poundings that Biscay and Finistere gave the fleet were far in excess of the type of conditions that earlier events in the year offered up.
The Series boats are not so far behind the leading Protos, revelling in the mainly upwind conditions so far and the leading pack of six or so are pressing each other hard as they chase down the ocean to Lanzarote.
The fleet will no doubt be missing the 'happy sounds' of Sander FM as he has pulled into Vigo to repair a broken rudder - Sander can often be heard 'pumping out the tunes' from his VHF to the rest of the fleet (and anyone else that is willing to listen) and his 'radio phone ins' have become one of the most talked about features of Mini sailing in 2001! Also in Vigo is Antonio Pedro da Cruz on Jazz Magazine making similar repairs to Sander.
Both Guerin and Peggs are making good progress in the fresh conditions at Finistere and will the front of the fleet beginning to park up or struggle in the light conditions, they should both see the closure rate move up while they carry the breeze.
The Serie boats are going as strong as ever, with Loic Le Bras as leader, in the overall rankings he will be seventh, before a lot of highly prepared racemachines. His boat is a plywood multichine design, who was believed to be slower then the Pogo's. Second is still Olivier Desport and third Michel Mirabel, not much change there.
You are never to old for the Mini - self confessed 'amateur' Curwen (fourth) testifies to this as the British forty-something is mixing it with the skippers half his age as is Michel Mirabel (51 and oldest) third in the Series class.
CL; N° COURSE; SKIPPER; BATEAU; CODE; DIST.; LAT; LONG
1; 258; MANUARD Samuel; TIP TOP / CHARMILLES SALES; CL; 0477.0; N363168;
2; 303; BOISSIERES Arnaud; AQUARELLE.COM; CL; 0481.9; N363630; W0122680
3; 304; BESTAVEN Yannick; AQUARELLE.COM; CL; 0489.5; N363563; W0112723
4; 240; CURWEN Simon; QDS; CL; 0492.9; N363916; W0112715
5; 151; LE BLEVEC Yves; ACTUAL INTERIM; CL; 0517.1; N364851; W0102341
6; 139; GREGOIRE Jeanne; AQUARELLE .COM; CL; 0523.5; N371189; W0113463
7; 247; THOMPSON Brian; LIGHTHOUSE LIFE FOUNDATION; CL; 0526.1; N370387;
8; 232; RAISON David; NAUTI-PARK / NAVTEC; CL; 0532.7; N372886; W0130195
9; 238; RIONDEL Jean; TOULON VAR PROVENCE; CL; 0546.5; N374253; W0125631
10; 227; DEVILLARD Xavier; RUSSE NOIR; CL; 0554.8; N373943; W0110951