Transat fleet enters calmer conditions

As the Transat Jacques Vabre leaders pass the Azores there's a welcome change of conditions, deliverance from the pounding winds and waves, the succession of Atlantic depressions and into more useful breezes, warmer temperatures and the chance to prepare for some faster sailing later in the weekend.

With Seb Josse and Jean Francois Curzon recovering in the Azores from their ordeal after being helicoptered off BT yesterday evening, minds are fully focussed on maximum speed again and optimising the routing to Costa Rica. The pace at the front of the IMOCA Open 60 fleet has increased as Safran lead past the west fringe of the Azores last night with a margin of just over 40 miles from Mike Golding Yacht Racing. Speaking this morning to Paris Race HQ, Safran's Charles Caudrelier sounded markedly upbeat, clearly relieved that they had not just made it through the worst of the weather but have emerged with a decent lead.

Kito de Pavant's Groupe Bel is doggedly pursuing Golding and Sanso still some five miles behind and to leeward, but the leading trio have now 57 miles in hand over Alex Thomson and Ross Daniel on Hugo Boss who, from their more northerly position are now bow down, sailing a more southerly course, converging with the leaders' tracks.

Ahead they have the high pressure system which is offering some slightly complex conditions and they will need their wits about them before another small depression sends them briskly on their way down the track.

The southern group have their work cut out, still in lighter upwind breezes in the transition zone on the edge of the high pressure. Somewhat painfully they have seen their arrears increase still more on the leaders who are on, or close to, course for Costa Rica.

Date Added - 14-Nov-2009

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