02.09.20 11:45 CEST: position 15th / speed 9.5 knots / distance from leader 10 nautical miles
Currently racing in 15th position just 10 miles behind the leader, Phil is match racing three other boats as they head towards the Scilly Isles to negotiate four no-go zones. Decisions made here could be pivotal to the rankings with a new ETA of Thursday 0500 for the leaders.
The winds seem set to stay until close to the finish but remaining stronger further west and so further compressing the fleet.
01.09.20 14:45 CEST: position 16th / speed 8 knots / distance from leader 9.8 nautical miles
Phil Sharp, who earlier invested in a more northerly route, is now profiting in the race to round the halfway mark at Fastnet Rock. Over just three hours he has reduced his distance on the leader by 9 nautical miles and has regularly been seen as the fastest in the fleet. However, this speed run may be short lived as this afternoon the fleet are expected to cross a cloudy front, which may catch skippers out, bringing boats to a halt, and could potentially compress the fleet with what could turn out to be a race re-start…
01.09.20 11:30 CEST: position 19th / speed 9.5 knots / distance from leader 18.4 nautical miles
The rich get richer
As the leaders continue to stretch away reaching new breezes first, those that follow suffer the consequences. Luck has certainly been a factor for some skippers who have watched fellow rivals power ahead with stronger local winds just tens of metres away. So far the shortest course has proved the most successful with Xavier Macaire of Group SNEF leading the fleet.
Closing into the second day of racing the front runners are expected to reach Fastnet Rock today and enjoy a speedy return back to Saint Brieuc – based on the original ETA of Wednesday PM.
11:00 CEST: position 15th / speed 1.3 knots / distance from leader 8.1 nautical miles
A testing start to La Solitaire du Figaro
Since yesterday’s 13:00 race start Phil Sharp has recovered well after being recalled to the start line having crossed moments before the gun.
Challenging light winds over night have caused the fleet to separate providing an advantage to the front runners who will catch the coming southwesterly winds first, but uncertainty remains as to who along the lateral separation will profit the most.
“It’s difficult to say because the ridge is quite wide with lots of small anticyclonic bubbles, which means that sometimes, some advance a little while others are completely stopped”, suggests Yann Chateau, assistant race director to Francis Le Goff.
All will be revealed later today…
Phil Sharp – Figaro 3 OceansLab – Credit Vincent Olivaud