La Charente-Maritime/Bahia Transat 6.50 – Cold front expected

La Charente-Maritime/Bahia Transat 6.50 2011
© Christophe Breschi
La Charente-Maritime/Bahia Transat 6.50 fleet is now headed for Salvador de Bahia, Brazil via Funchal, Madeira, Portugal. A cold front with rather strong east to south-east flow is expected, freshening for Saturday and Sunday.

Last evening it appeared good for the supporters of the Western route option but during the night that changed a great deal. It was not good at all that near the active cold front with rather 'violent' minis happening. An escort boat in the zone even had to put three reefs in the main sail to make progress in the right direction. In fact this Saturday's playground is as vast as the weather conditions are different!

The back of the fleet progressed relatively slowly, as an escort boat located at the back of fleet said, the morale is high within that group. In front there are three trends in play - the coast, the centre and the extreme west. The wind at the coast is changing, the centre pressure is generally south and west, on the edge of the cold front the skippers can expect... everything. And if yesterday the West option seemed to be the lucrative one it is clear today that the West has not paid. Now the Centre option seems to be best.

By noon Sébastien Rogues (719 - Eole Generation - GDF Suez) had slipped ahead of Jorg Riechers (753 - Mare.de) after one fair fight. The trajectory of Sebastian was clean and fluid, revealing judicious observations of wind shifts. Behind, David Raison (747 - TeamWork Evolution) crossed the racing area unconcerned about winning on the route. The idea? Reposition his boat in the East as quickly as possible, even if he lost a few degrees in longitude. Yesterday he was 12 miles to the west of Jorg, now he is 33 miles to Jorg's east. A strategic choice that was followed also by the architect/skipper Etienne Bertrand (802 – Chasseur de primes). Both are third and sixth today for Prototypes.

It was a great recovery for Thomas Normand (787 – La financière de l’Echiquier) who entered the top 10. Fourth ranked is Etienne David (TeamWork) who has followed the direct route from the start of the race He found himself entangled in the light air of the Asturian coast but has now escaped and and is following an option that pays off. There is punishment definitely for Nicolas Boidevezi (719 - Défi GDE), Bertrand Delesne (754 - Zone) and Aymeric Chappellier (788 - la Tortue de l'Aquarium - La Rochelle). Aymeric had a technical problem requiring him to head to the North for many hours, before morning. The three protagonists, after searching a blast in the West, are now back to an Eastern route trying not to lose too many miles on the direct route. That will be difficult but they know to re-adjust as soon as possible.

146 miles is the lateral West/East distance between Series boats; that is to say between Sergio Frattaruolo (Bologna in Oceano) who continues to head toward the West and David Prono (Get it Right, ESI Group), a skipper who is part of the competitors on the East side of the race area. China had attacked and was rewarded by the West option yesterday but today it is clear that the median route, followed by the Eric Llull (566 - Cocoa Noble) continues to be the best. Eric is first followed by Fabrice Sorin (781 - Cartoffset) to the West and Davy Beaudart (674 - Innovea Environnement) to the East. Guo Chuan (487 - Vasa) is still close to a podium position and persists with his western option, as does Giacomo Sabbatini (554 - Scusami Le Spalle). There are 10 skippers within 20 miles of each other and the lateral gaps could deal the cards again ...

ETA for Madeira - Funchal - Tuesday October 4th in the morning.

Tolga Pamir (737 - Yakamoz) had to reverse slightly to extricate his boat - most probably from a net - during the night. Information given by Zibidule said it was a well executed manoeuvre. At noon Tolga was 38th, 64 miles from the leader.

Jean-Marie Oger (774 - Brazil, Forest E. Leclerc) who was in La Coruna to repair a damaged rudder fitting after a collision with a UFO (unidentified floating object) set sail again on Saturday in the morning. He repaired and strengthened the transom plate.

Andrea Pendibene (520 – Intermatica ITA 520) is safe and sound in La Rochelle.

Prototypes rankings on the 01/10/2011 at 12h00 (UTC+2) -- 33 boats
1. Sébastien Rogues (719 – Eole Generation – GDF Suez) - 473.34 miles from Funchal
2. Jorg Riechers (753 – Mare.de) - 475.66 miles from Funchal
3. David Raison (757 – TeamWork Evolution) - 497.01 miles from Funchal

Series rankings on the 01/10/2011 at 12h00 (UTC+2) -- 46 boats
1. Eric Llull (566 – Noble Cocoa) - 546.22 miles from Funchal
2. Fabrice Sorin (781 – Cartoffset) - 551.54 miles from Funchal
3. Davy Beaudart (674 - Innovea Environnement) - 559.3 miles from Funchal

Weather forecasts on the first of October by Météo Consult
Today: Complex area of low pressure with two distinct low. A first low, 1006 hPa located at 12h00 by 44°N and 19°W picking up 1010hP à 0h00. A second low 1008hPa located at 12h00 by 35°N et 17°W moving to the north and located at 0h00 at 37°N et 17°W hPa, 1009 hPa. Related to the low, active cold front extending from Madeira to Ireland through the 40°N/14°W. At the front of the cold front, rather strong east to south-east flow. Risk of moderate gale warning. More variable winds at the west of the 15°W in the axis of the low.

Tomorrow: Stormy depression, 1010 hPa located at 12h00 by 40°N 20°W and gaining strength in places, 1005 hPa at 0h00. High pressure 1025 hPa at 12h00 in Spain with ridge of high pressure in the direction of Canaries Islands. Rather strong south-easterly flow off Portugal.

Further outlook: High pressure 1026 hPa in France and Bay of Biscay with a ridge of high pressure in the direction of Madeira. Stationary low at the west of the Azores.

La Charente-Maritime/Bahia Transat website