Yves Parlier aboard Aquitaine Innovations confirmed that given the current, favourable weather forecast, he should arrive at around 1700hrs French time, Friday 16th March.
The tide will not allow him to enter the channel before 1745 hrs. However, that is the rising tide and so one can lessen the margin either side for safety's sake. Yves insisted that he wanted to get in as soon as he possibly could, in mind of the enormous media schedule he will have to plunge into as soon as he returns.
For the time being, Yves Parlier is managing not to get distracted by thoughts of what awaits him on arrival. "I still have a few days left sailing my boat, I know they will be my last miles with her, because she will be put up for sale after the Vendée. So I must benefit from this time as much as I can. I want to savour every moment. I'm already thinking about my future boat, the multihull."
Parlier knows his race is not over yet, and he is being especially mindful of the sudden increase in shipping around him, now that he is coming round Cap Finisterre into the Bay of Biscay. ""I have passed quite a few boats this morning, they smell of the coastline. There was a container ship and two fishing trawlers stretching out a line between them both. Thankfully I didn't end up passing between them either. I'm actually parallel to the shipping lane, so when I will gybe, I'll cut through the lane squarely so as to sail through it for the least amount of time as possible."
And as for his boat performance, Yves is making a steady average of 8 - 9 knots. "There's a 20 knot SW breeze, and I've got the genoa, which I managed to repair a bit, flying again, so I have about 228m2 of sail up between the genoa, staysail and the main with 2 reefs. That's a fair amount of cloth, I'd say!"
Still in the race and in the North Atlantic, Didier Munduteguy (DDP/60ème Sud) has left the strong North Easterly Trades and is under the influence of slightly calmer winds approaching the Azores. "We managed to make good progress to the North in the last few days, and now the wind has died off a little I am sailing at around 7 knots, it's certainly more bearable for the boat now. I am much more optimistic for the last 10 days of my race. I have never been afraid for myself during the Vendée, but when the boat suffers, or I don't handle her properly, I don't feel good myself."
Pasquale de Gregorio (Wind), the valiant Italian skipper, bringing up the rear of the fleet in his Open 50 footer, has finally succeeded in gaining sufficient miles to the East after a short back track yesterday. "By tomorrow, if things stay as they are now, we should be completely free from the Brazilian coast, meaning that, if the wind happens to turn back on our nose, we'll be able to bear away all the way until Panama!" Able to make a proper heading North in more Easterly winds, Pasquale is now a few degrees from reaching the Equator.