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27 April 2005, 04:09 pm
DROUGLAZET Takes Control
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Trophée BPE

After day's of seeing the fleet compress behind him Eric DROUGLAZET (FRA) has seized control of the race and is now a big favourite to be first across the finish line at Cienfuegos de Cuba.
DROUGLAZET on Credit Maritime-Zerotwo was 29.4nm ahead of second place Bostik, skippered by Gildas MORVAN (FRA), and only 135.7 miles from the finish.

The fleet now seems to have recovered some speed after coming to a virtual standstill on their approach to the Cuban coastline. Speeds are averaging around eight knots across the fleet and with the exception of the leader it looks like being an incredibly tight finish with just 20 miles covering MORVAN in second to David RAISON (FRA) in tenth.

In third, Charles CAUDRELIER (FRA) is a fraction behind MORVAN. Sam DAVIES is in fifth having lost fourth place to Dominic VITTET (FRA) after she decided to gybe offshore last night looking for more consistent breeze. This did not pay the dividends she hoped for, 'I gybed offshore and stayed offshore - quite a bit further than the others. I thought it was a good thing but in fact I think it was a bad thing, which is a bit of a shame.'

After being so far behind for most of the Atlantic crossing, it is frustrating for DAVIES to see VITTET now four miles ahead, 'He was lucky, everyone stopped & now he's gone all the way up the rankings. I'm depressed I've lost a place.'

DAVIES rounded, Cabo Cruz this morning and the majority of the fleet are now sailing dead downwind, with less than 200 miles to go. According to the Brit, 'nobody can go in a straight line to the finish - everybody is gybing still.'

It has been DROUGLAZET 24 hours. He has been the fastest boat in the fleet since last night. Overnight he was the only one to hold an average above eight knots and whilst the rest of the fleet is packed like sardines, he has managed to keep clear water between himself and MORVAN and has now extended his lead sufficiently, that he is a hot favourite for victory

The wind is stable at the moment, south-easterly between 15-18 knots. Forecasts say this wind will gradually get lighter, leaving the fleet with virtually no wind again according to DAVIES, 'tomorrow night, there's a big hole of nothing so it's going to be a lottery again.' (As Amended By ISAF). Image, DROUGLAZET has dominated the last 24 hours of the race:© Benoit Stichelbaut/DPPI
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