25 May The Race is On – Normandy Channel Race 2015
We are into the second day of the Normandy Channel Race with Concise 8 grimly holding on to 2nd place – having been anywhere between 9th and in the lead. The Women’s team are sticking in there and at one stage got up to 8th when the wind dropped a bit and the fleet compressed.
Concise 8 had a conservative start in the middle of the field before Ned and Wouter worked their way through the fleet to share the lead with Campagne de France just as they were leaving the French Coast to head across the Channel for an East – West transit of the Solent.
With the tide playing a big part the boats split with Ned’s group pinching high but surrendering speed to avoid a tack to get into the Solent. The other racers sailed a bit more freely and went for speed over the ground and some tacking.
The latter seems to have paid off. Concise 8 had lost several places as she passed through the Eastern Solent where tide and lack of breeze played havoc.
Taking advantage of their “home patch” however, Ned and Wouter set about getting back in touch with the leaders. Just a few minutes ago one of our IOW based crew reported that he had a visual on Concise, hugging the Cowes side of the Solent while the others made for the mainland coast to get what might have been some tide relief. Meanwhile our reporter at large watched as Team Work, one of the French boats, sailed straight onto Brambles Bank and stuck firm. Local knowledge certainly helps sometimes?
A few minutes ago Concise 8 exited the Solent with Compagne de France just 300 metres behind. Familiar, territory for these two boats which hounded each other all the way around the course during the 2012 edition of the race and finished just 3 mins apart after 1000 miles of racing. Thankfully we won that one.
However, Credit Mutual de Bretagne, which went for the freer cross Channel option seems to have got the jump on everyone – got a bit of a tide relief and has stolen a good lead on whole of the fleet putting Concise 8 in second place.
Normally we call the boats on our satellite phone to give them some encouragement, but as they will have had no more than a couple of 20 minute power naps since the start we are leaving them to it. No time for small talk! Once they clear the coast as they head down to Lands End, I might chance giving them a call.
Meanwhile the women are doing a great job. Picking up then loosing a few places, but not last. Fantastic bearing in mind Phillippa and Annabelle have only done a couple of days sailing together on Concise 2 before the start.