Wednesday 21 June at 00h00
In Proto: seeking second place
Finding a satisfactory range of superlatives to characterize this boat is a real problem with Griffon.fr (865), such is the extent to which it crushingly dominates the Mini 650 class. Implacably, Ian Lipinski and David Raison keep the other competitors far behind. They are a completely ruthless team. In case the gap between them and their chasers narrows to under 10 nautical miles, the race supervisors gather round the screen for an update…only to observe that the aperitif is over, the leading team have put the bottles, salted peanuts, and crisps away, and they are now focused on the race again. After sailing past the Fastnet lighthouse, Griffon.fr has been increasing his lead by nearly one nautical mile every hour. So the only option left to the prodigious ‘big nose’ is to compete against itself, and attempt to beat its own record finish time.
Over a dozen nautical miles behind, 4 Protos are battling it out to win the second place. Spicee.com (716), the only sharp nose still fighting, is doing more than blocking blows: with a 0.1M lead, 716’s skippers Romain Bolzinger and Julien Bourgeois temporarily hold the second place. Spicee.com is surrounded by a trio of big noses: the Swiss skipper Simon Koster partnered with Axel Trehin on Eight Cube – Acryline (888); the German team made of Joerg Riechers and Robert Spanjek on Lillienthal (934); and the Italo-Spanish team made of Andrea Fornaro and Oliver Bravo de Laguna on Sideral (931).
In the Production category: anything (fair play) goes
Emile Henri (895), the frontrunner since Land’s End, has been relentlessly pursued by nine chasers. They have succeeded in slightly reducing his small advantage, but have not managed to bring Emile Henri’s lead down to under 1M. On the opposite, after rounding the Fastnet Rock, Emile Henri managed to gradually increase its lead, then doubled its efforts in the night time and eventually brought its lead up to over 2 M. In spite of their young age, Erwan Le Draoulec et Clarisse Cremer are managing their boat like old pros in this race. They now have 183 M left until the finishing line.
In Emile Henri’s wake, we find 8 chasers, all Pogo3s, that spread over just under 2 M, each individually certain that they are going to make the difference in the final sprint. They are on each other’s heels and will fight ruthlessly till the end. In the stretch along the Irish coast, they got rid of Olivertessloff.com (893), whose manoeuvres became a bit erratic after reaching the ‘Stags’ south cardinal mark, as they approached the Irish coast. There’s no way of foretelling the final results or of foretelling who shall be the next victim of this pack’s constant pressure. We can only show patience, regularly check the online tracking chart, and for some of us resort to prayers or to reading the future on cards, in coffee dregs or a chicken’s innards in order to predict the outcome.
Photo: Simon Jourdan