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11 April 2005, 11:12 am
Past The Azores
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Trophée BPE

The Bénéteau Figaro2 fleet have passed the Azores and entered the second half of their race across the Atlantic towards Cienfuegos de Cuba. Gildas MORVAN (FRA) had cut leader, Charles CAUDRELIER's (FRA) advantage to less than eight miles, but the gap has widened again over the past four hours.
At the 0900 hours GMT poll Bostik, skippered by CAUDRELIER, held a 13.3nm lead over MORVAN aboard Cercle Vert. Eric DROUGLAZERT (FRA) on Credit Maritime-Zerotwo remains in third, a fraction ahead of Yannick BESTAVEN's (FRA) Aquarelle.com.

The gap from this leading pack of four to the remainder of the fleet has widened since the boats passed the Azores with almost fifty miles separating fifth placed Marc EMIG (FRA) from BESTAVEN. David RAISON (FRA) now lies in sixth with Skandia's Sam DAVIES in seventh, dropping two places from yesterday's high point of fifth.

In her email log written at 0235 (race time) this morning DAVIES explained the significance of the Azores: 'Today [Sunday] was a BIG day! It was the passage of Flores Island in the Azores, which is a big waypoint for this race. It is nice to think about a long race broken down into 'manageable' sections. In my head, I have Azores as the first stage, then Transatlantic as the second, longest stage and then the last section from the passage at Turks to the finish in Cuba. In the end, my route took me very close to the islands Graciosa, Sao Jorge, Pico and Faial. I stayed further away than the ideal route to avoid too much 'shadowing' by these high volcanic islands, which was a shame, as I didn't get to see them. I did see the small island of Graciaosa however, loom out of the mist.'

'Luckily, now, we have a stable wind, and Skandia is under autopilot, happily marching through the waves all alone, while I can rest, write, and eat a proper meal. The whole day was exhausting as the wind was all over the place (changing sails all the time, wind from 18 knots to over 30 knots at times).'

DAVIES went on to talk about the physical stresses a race like the Trophée BPE entails: 'In fact, physically this first week has been exhausting, and now is the first time I have a bit of down time and I am beginning to realize that I am a bit knackered and beaten up! My body aches all over (muscular, and also bruises), my hands are SO sore (from salt water and ropes), my nose is sore and wind burnt. I think I need to take a minute to try to treat some of my aches and pains if I get a chance! AND my feet are wet! I HATE having wet feet. I have stuffed my boots with my pre-start weather forecast sheets (no longer needed) to try to dry them. (Feet currently being housed in plastic bags!) I am hoping for a drying day ASAP with some sunshine! Preferably tomorrow??'

ISAF. Image, EMIG leads the second half of the fleet:© Benoît STICHELBAUT/DPPI
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