After just under 96 hours of navigation the leading yacht, the largest in the fleet, has covered more than 1486 miles. With the shortest possible course for the crossing being approximately 2,700 miles, Hetairos is just over halfway to the finish line. If captain Vincent Fauquenoy and his crew can keep up this pace they may expect to arrive at YCCS Virgin Gorda towards the start of next week, well ahead of the official time limit set for Thursday 8th December at 12 midday local time (GMT -4).
“All is good on board and everyone is in good spirits. At the present we are sailing between 15 to 20 knots being constantly as fast as the wind if not faster. The sun is shining and the wet weather gear of the first day have given place to the shorts, t-shirts and sun lotion.” reported Fauquenoy several days into racing.
Following Hetairos and Andrea Recordati’s Indio (ITA) are Peter Harrison’s Sojana (GBR) and Tobias Koenig’s Grey Goose of Rorc (GBR). Salvatore Trifiro’s Zefira (ITA) and the Croation Karuba 5 were practically neck and neck this morning, both having covered approximately 900 miles: one third of the total course. Rounding up the fleet on a more southerly course is the Wally 107 Kenora. Trophies will be awarded in Virgin Gorda to the fastest boat in real time as well as to the best scoring IMA and YCCS boats, while the overall winner will be the top yacht in IRC corrected time.
Six hundred miles into the race Mike Broughton, navigator aboard Grey Goose of Rorc described some of the ups and downs of transatlantic racing: “We have had some fantastic ‘champagne trade wind sailing’ – spinnakers, sunshine and shorts…just not the bubbly stuff. It hasn’t all been a doddle though. We have long nights here and have had to deal with winds to force 7 and some lumpy seas that have seen us surfing to speeds over 20 knots at times, though mostly we have been averaging about 13 knots. That may not sound fast, but on a 44 ton yacht, it is. The loads are on the rigging and spinnaker sheets are huge and we have seen our fair share of breakages. Fortunately we have been able to keep the boat going over ten knots at all times, though it has taken some resourceful crew work to keep the show on the road.”
It hasn’t been plain sailing for all participants, however, and unfortunately the smallest boat in the fleet, Johann Killinger’s Swan 60 Emma (GER), was forced to retire on the morning of Wednesday 23rd November due to the injury of a crew member. The injury was not life threatening and the yacht has since returned safely to Tenerife without requiring assistance.