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24 May 2005, 10:12 am
Drag Race To The Fastnet Forces Two More Retirements
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Calais Round Britain Race 2005

Jean Baptiste DEJEANTY (FRA) on Caen La Mer and Bernard STAMM (SUI) on Cheminees Poujoulat have become the second and third retirees from the race with the rough conditions taking their toll overnight. At the 0600 hours GMT position this morning, the remaining four monohulls were continuing their course with wind on the beam, midway between the Scillies and the Fastnet.
After a wild night which forced the retirement of Caen La Mer, the speedos are cooling down. In a message sent at 0435 GMT this Tuesday morning, the skipper of Caen La Mer, DEJEANTY, informed the Race HQ that he was retiring from the race and was making for Cherbourg, France. After Pindar Alphagraphics' retirement on Monday, this was the second boat to take this decision, a move prompted by the difficult racing conditions.

During the phone call with Philippe FACQUE, the Race Manager of the Calais Round Britain Race, DEJEANTY specified that the sailing conditions were particularly harsh, with a strong wind and above all very heavy seas. Prior to setting out, the young skipper had explained that for reasons of budget, there was no way that he could allow himself to break anything.

'As the result of a lack of power, the impossibility of using the ballast tanks, and a problem preventing the canting of the keel for the rest of the race, I took the decision at 0400 GMT this morning, to make for Cherbourg and to stop racing,' explained the DEJEANTY. 'I am doing this to protect both the crew and the boat. There are no health problems or any major issues aboard. Everything is fine. We are en route for Cherbourg at ten knots and do not request assistance. See you soon.'

At the 0600 GMT ranking this Tuesday morning, Caen La Mer was 88 miles from Cherbourg making around eleven knots. As a result the crew, including Australian skipper Liz WARDLEY should reach the Normandy port this afternoon.

STAMM on Cheminees Poujoulat hit something overnight and has broken his sole daggerboard. Unable to climb upwind STAMM contacted Race Manager, Philippe FACQUE at 0815 GMT this morning to inform him of his decision to turn back and retire from the second edition of the Calais Round Britain Race.

After an intense first night battling westwards along the English coast amidst a flurry of tack changes and manoeuvres in 30 knots of wind and powerful currents, the original seven strong IMOCA fleet had already been reduced to six, with Emma RICHARDS (GBR) crew on Pindar Alphagraphics forced to retire with foresail issues.

Currently south of Start Point and the beautiful rolling hills of Devon, fellow British skipper Mike GOLDING has been dealt a different set of cards; the crew using their vast knowledge of the local tides and currents to their advantage to take pole position. In a northerly position in the Channel like GOLDING, STAMM had been smoking along to take a surprise podium position, before his collision last night.

The crews are having a difficult time escaping the Channel, upwind in 20 knots of west southwesterly. Fortunately the skies are blue and the visibility good and this morning the boats will be able to open up their sails with a more favourable wind slightly before the passage of Bishop Rock lighthouse off the Scilly Isles.

Right in the action on Sunday night, within sight of all the big players, the British skipper of Pindar Alphagraphics, RICHARDS, regrettably informed Race Management of their decision to retire from this second edition of the Calais Round Britain Race at 0515 GMT yesterday morning. Just over an hour later the following message explained their tough decision. 'Following my satellite phone call, I write to let you know that Pindar Alphagraphics is forced to retire from this race. In the night our small solent exploded. We were then using our bigger solent at the top of its range which should have been ok. However, the padeye on the deck for the solents has failed and there is no way now to secure the tack down. Therefore we have no upwind sails for the ranges between eight knots and 24 knots - considering the race forecast which is entirely this - we would not make it around. Very disappointed.'

Very sorry about his compatriots misfortune, GOLDING on Ecover is in second behind Roland JOURDAIN's (FRA) Sill & Veolia, who had been unable to be positioned after having their satellite antenna ripped off by a trapped mainsail sheet as they tried to put in a reef on Sunday night, but now head the four remaining crews.

A confident GOLDING was extremely happy with the performance of both the boat and the crew. 'Things are very good. Last night [Sunday night - Ed] we made the most of a reverse eddy very close to the coast to the East of Portland Bill and we were able to round the headland with a favourable current. We've got clear conditions right now and we're making good progress.'

The good news for the fleet is that the wind is gradually backing round into the South. After some difficult hours of beating in the heavy weather up to the Scillies, the crews will be able to ease the sheets and sail onto a rapid broad reach towards Ireland and the famous Fastnet. The winds and the sea will remain strong before the situation eases at the start of Tuesday night. However, a new depression over the West of Ireland is forecast on Wednesday with a building southerly wind and the possibility of gales.

According to patron of this race and winner of the recent Vendée Globe, Vincent RIOU (FRA), things are going to become even more spicy in the coming days, 'In single-handed sailing you can go very quickly in the conditions the crews are currently facing, so in crewed racing they're going to explode the speedos!'

Positions
(At 0554 hours GMT)

  1. Sill & Veolia, Roland JOURDAIN (FRA) - 1399.1 miles from the finish
  2. Ecover, Mike GOLDING (GBR) - 8.7 miles behind the leader
  3. Bonduelle, Jean LE CAM (FRA) - 17.2 miles behind the leader
  4. Virbac-Paprec, Jean Pierre DICK (FRA) - 40.1 miles behind the leader
  5. Cheminées Poujoulat, Bernard STAMM (SUI) - Retired from race
  6. Caen La Mer, Jean Baptiste DEJEANTY (FRA) - Retired from race
  7. Pindar Alphagraphics, Emma RICHARDS (GBR) - Retired from race
Kate Jennings (As Amended By ISAF). Image, Sunday's start:© Gilles Martin-Raget
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