Sill Plein Fruit wins Leg Two of the EDS Atlantic Challenge from Cuxhaven, Germany to Portsmouth, England. Kingfisher second.
As a clear dawn broke over England, Sill Plein Fruit, skippered by France's Roland Jourdain, sailed to its second straight victory in the EDS Atlantic Challenge. Fifty-three minute and forty-five seconds later, a tired but satisfied Ellen MacArthur brought Kingfisher across the line. Hopes of a British victory faded once the leaders entered the English Channel. Sill Plein Fruit sailed a tactical final stretch positioning themselves between Kingfisher and the finish line, all but eliminating any opportunity for Kingfisher to pass. A pink sky over Portsmouth provided a perfect backdrop for both boats as they tied up alongside at Gunwharf Quay, and after an obligatory dousing of champagne, the crews left to get some rest after a tough leg from Cuxhaven, Germany. Bloodshot eyes and unshaven faces told the story.
"It wasn't too bad," said Mark Turner, crew aboard Kingfisher. "We saw close to fifty knots for about 5 hours after Dover. We were just exploding in a ball of spray each time we hit a wave." A tired looking Nick Moloney, co-skipper on Kingfisher was more succinct. "Whose idea was that anyway,"he said referring to the difficult conditions for the leg.
Aboard Sill Plein Fruit, skipper Roland Jourdain was clearly pleased with his back to back wins, but said little. "We are tired, wet and happy," he said, his body language emphasizing more tired than happy. An always upbeat MacArthur praised her boat and crew. "We had a great battle against Sill," she said.
It is a close race for third place between Gartmore (Josh Hall) and Ecover (Mike Golding). At 05:00 GMT Gartmore held a five mile lead with 45 miles to go. Fila (Andrea Scarabelli) was 8 miles behind Ecover. All three yachts are expected to arrive early Thursday afternoon.
This second leg of the EDS Atlantic Challenge started from Cuxhaven, Germany on July 9. Leg three sails across the Atlantic to Baltimore in the United States, and from there to Boston. The final leg returns to St. Malo, France. The first yachts are expected to finish the race between August 19 and August 22.
Boat Position and Official Finish Times
At 04:40 GMT, on a distance to finish (DTF) reading, the positions were as
1st Sill Plein Fruit (Roland Jourdain - FR) 03:00:00
2nd Kingfisher (Ellen MacArthur - UK) 03:54:45
3rd Gartmore (Josh Hall - UK) DTF + 47 miles
4th Ecover (Mike Golding - UK) DTF + 53 miles
5th Fila (Andrea Scarabelli - IT) DTF + 61 miles
6th Alphagraphics (Helena Darvelid - SWE) DTF + 86 miles
7th La Rage de Vivre (Loic Pochet - FR) retired