The second leg of the Transat 6.50 from Madeira to Bahia is well underway with the fleet led by Adrien HARDY passing the Canaries Archipelago last night.
That was more or less easy or comfortable depending on the navigation zone chosen. The competitors sailing the most to the east, as Adrien HARDY (Brossard
) and Yann RIOU (Caméléon
), had to go through the chicane between Tenerife and Grande Canaria. The two sailors are now leading the fleet despite the extra miles they have covered compared to those that chose the west option, led by the trio Yves LE BLÉVEC (Actual
), leg one winner Isabelle Joschke (Degrémont-Synergie
) and Fabien DESPRÉES (Soitec
). To the east, the wind blew at 40 knots last night as registered by the escort boats.
Numerous competitors had bet - since Funchal's start - on the wind reinforcement by the east. Did they expect such an acceleration off to Morocco and Mauritania coats? It's hard to tell… and HARDY and RIOU will have to preserve their lead a quite exhausting way. It's a lead that the western sailors will try to get back the whole day long by sailing before the wind, a more comfortable way than their opponents - that is certain.
This trade winds acceleration has caused several reports of damage already. Three sailors had to stop to Santa Cruz De La Palma: Raoul COSPEN (Dalet Digital Media Systems
), the Spanish Nacho ORTI (Medi-Valencia
) and Laurent BOURGUES (Adrenaline
). Sébastien GLADU (Clichy sous bois
) also had to reach Santa Cruz this morning.
The Portuguese Francisco LOBATO (BPI
) leads the Series boats fleet, only 22 nautical miles away from HARDY. He zigzagged all night between La Gomera and Hierro islands. Hervé PIVETEAU (Jules Imprimerie cartoffset
) is doing his best to protect his second position by sailing the closest to Mauritania coasts.