The 76 skippers arrived at the start line at 15:00 and had a good start without any recalls. However, the start was not without mishap, with two collisions and three withdrawals. The weather is quite unstable in the bay of Douarnenez, the wind changes in strength and direction all the time and is not easy to anticipate for the skippers. Julie Simon on the 963, rigged her gennaker, thinking she was going abeam in a light wind, and finally found herself upwind in a strengthening wind, 15 minutes before the start! The sea breeze picked up shortly before 15:00 and the start was made in 10 knots of westerly wind. The group that had chosen to go south took advantage of the wind coming from the left and a little stronger due to the coast effect. Two and a half hours after the start, there’s about an hour’s gap between the first in the series, Romain Legall on 987-Secours Populaire and the last. Federico Sampei on the DMG 1046 prototype, returned to port with an autopilot problem after crossing the line, but quickly returned to the race and caught up with the rest of the fleet. Amongst the prototypes, Anne-Gaëlle Gourdin on the 679 is in front, followed by Uro Graevac on the 759. The average speed, 3 hours after the start, varies between 2.5 knots and 6 knots, the whole fleet being on starboard tack. The leaders passed the Raz de Sein at the time of the tide turning, 3hr30 after the start, and took advantage of the current.
At the pre-race briefing in the morning, Jean-Jacques Quéré, the weather expert who is following the race, summarised clearly: “Despite a variable light wind, watch out for stormy squalls which may occur from the end of Thursday night until the end of the race“. The first boats are expected to arrive on Friday evening at around 21:00 and the bulk of the fleet should arrive on Friday night. To be continued!
A live video of the start, made by offshore socialclub can be seen here : VIDEO