It's a matter of hours. The Ocean Fifty multihull, Primonial is expected to take line honours sometime in the night. Ultime, Maxi Edmond de Rothschild follows in their wake and will cross the line tomorrow morning. The multihulls will be decided tomorrow.
Ocean Fifty: on the home straight
Martinique, the bay of Fort-de-France and the race village pontoons are ready to welcome the winning boats of the Transat Jacques Vabre. Primonial will lead the arrivals with Sébastien Rogues and Matthieu Souben's trimaran expected to cross the line overnight.
The pair have significantly increased their lead today to 65 miles – barring disaster, that should be unassailable. "Yesterday evening we had the opportunity to push a little bit and try to seal the race and it went very well.” said Souben earlier today. His partner is still being cautious though, “There’s going to be traffic ahead, there's going to be sargasso too. We want to preserve our trimaran, which already has 5,800 miles behind it. But most importantly we're going to savour these last few hours at sea before coming ashore and meeting up with you all.”
Ultime: Maxi Edmond de Rothschild expected tomorrow
Following on from the leading trio of the Ocean Fifty, will come the winning Ultime. Caught up in light air this morning, Maxi Edmond de Rothschild (Franck Cammas & Charles Caudrelier) is making around twenty knots this evening. In second and third, Banque Populaire XI and SVR-Lazartigue are 150-200 miles further back and should reach Martinique tomorrow afternoon.
There remains a battle for fourth place. Sodebo Ultim 3, which has sailed a good part of the race with a damaged foil has chosen a more northerly route and is benefiting from better wind conditions than her opponent Actual Ultim 3, which is progressing 300 miles further south.
IMOCA: follow the leader
Whilst LinkedOut holds on to her 100 mile lead and is expected to finish on Thursday morning, there’s an intense duel for second place between Apivia and Charal. It’s a huge gap of 500 miles to fourth where Arkea-Paprec is being harassed by the chasing Sam Davies on Initiatives Coeur. The British sailor, whose campaign is raising money for children with heart problems, was visited by flying fish this afternoon and sent us photos!
Most of the fleet have now rounded the Fernando de Noronha turning point and are focused on the climb back towards Martinique with all the gybing that involves. Corum L'Epargne has made a great comeback in recent days and now sits 6th.
Class 40: enjoying the trade winds
All but three Class 40 boats have passed the Cape Verde islands. Still out in front are Redman (Carpentier & Santurde del Arco) and Volvo (Gerckens & Hantzperg). Currently in third place, and positioned much further north is the winner of the last race, Crédit Mutuel. Co-skipper Ian Lipinski has some solid plans, "In the next 24 hours, we're going to try to follow the shift to the right and claw back some miles on the leading two. We’re pushing the boat to the max and we have finally found our groove.” Lipinski is suddenly looking good to defend his title.
Leaderboard at 18.00 CET
1. Maxi Edmond de Rothschild
2. Banque Populaire XI
3. SVR - Lazartigue
3. Crédit Mutuel
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