Wednesday the 30th of September 2009

3100 miles in the bows… 5 740 km to go before the lighthouse of Bara and the entrance to the Bay of All Saints in Salvador de Bahia. The Big One part of the race is for now. They all know it. And if the race aspect is important, now we must never forget that for some this is the adventure of a lifetime that will start on Saturday. An adventure at sea resulting in thousands of hours of work for some, thousands of dollars loan for others. Crossing the Atlantic on a 6.50 is for tomorrow…
The Madeira’s restart sets the record straight. From Saturday, they will forget their habits for three to four weeks at sea, high seas. The Atlantic scattered with pieces of land that creates the Venturi effect (Ed., temporary acceleration of wind caused by a narrowing between the islands) but also areas without wind hide behind the hills. The earth becomes a trap… Shall they choose to sail off the African coast or come close to the coast of Mauritania? Where will the pressure be, the well-known wind consistent, the one that can pull you at high speeds for miles? Should they take food for 21, 23 or 25 days? This second stage is exciting for both sailing and human being experience…
Francisco Lobato (ROFF TMN) has proved his talent and expertise on this first stage. The Portuguese is definitely the man to beat and, in addition to the comfortable advance that he has on the rest of the fleet, he also has an undeniable psychological advantage. The comfort of being first has never been so present and Francisco knows it. The young Portuguese has a job to do and will do anything to carry it out. And if he missed the 2007 edition of The Charente-Maritime/Bahia Transat 6.50, the boy has done a very good start in this 2009 edition. Now, what do the 22 hours of 19 days 14 hours ahead made by Hervé Piveteau in 2007 represent? Not much… Of course, there will be all technical problems sooner or later with pilot failures, spinnakers exploding, bowsprit and rudders broken… So, who will succeed to Hervé Piveteau for Series category in Bahia? Who will beat the reference time – the famous 19 days? Will Francisco achieve the performance of Peter Laureyssens in 2005 that had won both stages? To be continued. If we look at top 5, what to we notice? « Nothing is done according to Francisco. There are still many miles. Will I be up to it? Well, when you do not sail, as you must do, you are bored. And then I’ll be sooner on the beach in Bahia. » No comment…

For Charlie Dalin (Cherche sponsor-charliedalin.com) 2nd (22h19 after the leader): « I go into unknown areas. I hope to keep my second rank. To finish behind Lobato it will be fine. Since I do not know that route I have been working hard on it. I gathered a lot of information. I made myself a road book with what may happen in the Canary Islands, Cape Verde, and the Doldrums. I have a friend in Bahia who gave me a lot of info about the coasts of Brazil. I hope it will save me from finding myself in a place where it should not be. I have been working since February. I did my homework. Will I have provided a good score on the exam? Anyway, I’ll do my race. We cannot control one or the other competitors in this race. » Charlie is lucid and hard worker… This boy is clearly a man the other competitors must beware of!
For Xavier Macaire (Masoco Bay) 3rd (22h31 after the leader): « I want to stay on the podium. I’ll sail, as I do know. To sail quickly it does not mean to act like crazy. I have no pressure. I like being at sea knowing that anything can happen. The best and the worst. A bad option and you’re out, although I do not intend to take an extreme option. But when you take one you must be confident in your choice and continue. I lack experience compared to some. But I do not forget that before my rudder’s problem at the first stage, I was not far from Lobato. » So pay attention to Xavier that has shown its great potential in this first stage.
For the Italian Ricardo Apolloni (Ma Vie pour Mapei) 4th (22h32 after the leader), the message is clear and simple: « The transatlantic begins Saturday. There are too many miles ahead; too many traps that I plan to prevent for a good ranking. Now, starts the adventure. If I sail well and get to do a good job, but this is not what I intend at first. We cannot be objective when we have 3100 miles ahead. »
As for Giancarlo Pedote (Prysmian) 5th (24h45 after the leader): « I’m leaving to win. I want to do my race just minding my own business. Francisco Lobato is very strong. He is better prepared than the others, but anything can happen on a journey through more than 3000 miles. »
Now, it is adventure! The beautiful one, the unique one that forged the best stories of this race, the most beautiful memories. From those reminded Dominique Vittet (Ed., 4th in 1983) a few hours before the start in La Rochelle: « I remember that we were positioning by ourselves to the finish. Bob Salmon was following us on his boat and we were giving him the arrival sheet when ashore! » Huge…

One series boat gave up in the first stage: Davy Beaudart (Port à Sec Guy Beaudart)
Reminder of the Series ranking in Funchal – 48 boats:

1.      Francisco Lobato (ROFF TMN): 6 d 02:31:03

2.      Charlie Dalin (Cherche sponsor-charliedalin.com): 7 d 00:52:10, écart au 1er de 0 d 22:21:07

3.      Xavier Macaire (Masoco Bay): 7d 01:04:58, écart au 1er de 0 j 22:33:55

4.      Ricardo Appoloni (Ma Vie Pour Mapei): 7 d 01:05:55, écart au 1er de 0 d 22:34:52

5.      Giancarlo Pedote (Prysmian): 7 d 03:18:28, écart au 1er de 1 d 00:47:25…