Suffering from strong chest pains, nausea and extreme fatigue, Bernard Quentin (Cote d’Or II) was evacuated from his trimaran this morning by the Spanish navy who transferred him to the charge of the medical team at Burela.
Meantime Franck Cammas on the giant trimararan Groupama has taken the lead in the Ultimate class since early this morning, continuing to set a fierce pace as his southern routing takes him under the critical Azores high pressure system.
Dr Jean-Yves Chauve, the race doctor, in consultation with the Maritime Medical Consultation Centre of Toulouse, and race director Jean Maurel, asked the ill skipper of Cote d’Or II, to activate his distress beacon.
Bernard Quentin had complained at 0830hrs on Tuesday morning of nausea, disturbed vision, strong chest pains and extreme fatigue which he had been experiencing since 0100hrs in the morning.
The MRCC at Griz Nez, who coordinate rescues relating to the race, passed responsibility to MRCC Madrid for evacuating the skipper off Cote d’Or II, sailing approximately 70 miles to the north of the Spanish port of Ribadeo.
At 1140hrs the Spanish navy’s helicopter lifted Quentin off his trimaran and passed him immediately to the Spanish medical team. A Spanish team is currently trying to recover the abandoned trimaran which had all sails up.
Two days into the 2010 Route du Rhum-La Banque Postale and Franck Cammas is continuing his wholesale gains in the south. After taking the lead early this morning, Groupama 3 has continued to make huge strides south, consistently 10 knots faster than Cammas’ rivals.
Already 65 miles clear of second placed Sodebo, Thomas Coville now slowed as he tries to skirt around the north of the Azores high pressue, Groupama 3’s gains look set to increase to more than 100 miles by this evening.
Tuesday afternoon Cammas was already south of the centre of the high pressure system, sailing downwind 450 miles SEE of the Azores in around 15 knots of breeze.
Francis Joyon (Idec) and Yann Guichard (Gitana 11) are taking the same southern routing, in fourth and fifth, 160 and 205 miles behind the leader respectively.
With the most northerly routing Sidney Gavignet (Oman Air Majan) lies third.
Clearly impressed with the swift southerly departure executed by Cammas is Michel Desjoyeaux, following albeit slower paced southerly routing on Foncia in the IMOCA Open 60 class. « I watched the 0400hrs positions every day and can really appreciate that Mr Cammas has done the disappearing act on his rivals. Which is not a big surprise, Now he has the motorway south and the trade winds in front of him. He has already passed the high pressure and is on the fast route.
Proving the IMOCA Open 60 is as competitive as ever, Armel Le Cléac’h remains the fourth leader in the fleet of nine boats to have taken the lead on this race. After being first to tack up to the north at around midnight last night. While the majority of the leading group are between 150 and 210 miles north west of Cape Finisterre, Michel Desjoyeaux and Arnaud Boissières continue to make favorable progress just 60 miles off the Portuguese coast, on the more south easterly routing. But it will be some days before it si possible to say which option will pay the best dividend.
Armel Le Cléac’h and Roland Jourdain (Veolia Environnement) were the first to work to the north west, towards the rhumb line route to Guadeloupe and have benefited, while Christopher Pratt (DCNS 1000) shows an attack which belies his lack of solo racing experience on an IMOCA Open 60. The 29 year old Open 60 rookie still holds third just 11 miles behind Le Cléac’h, runner up in the 2008-9 Vendée Globe and double winner of the Figaro Solitaire.
The duel continues in Class 40 where Thomas Ruyant (Destination Dunkerque) leads Bernard Stamm (Cheminées Poujoulat) by a small margin now, while Nicolas Troussel (CMB) lies third but has made the almost singular choice to go for the southerly routing.
After two days of racing the top ten comprises a mix of the pre-race favourites and the unexpected, but they are within 26 miles of each other in terms of distance to the finish, nothing at all on a course of 3550 miles to Guadeloupe.
Samuel Manuard (Vector Plus), Eric Defert (Drekan Terralia Energy-Group), the German Jorg Riechers (Mare.de), Damien Grimont (Monbana), Yvan Noblet (Appart City), Jean-Edouard Criquioche (Picoty Group) all hustle but they still have work to do to catch Ruyant and Stamm, who already has two round the world race wins on his extensive CV.
Kiwi Conrad Colman on the Owen-Clarke designed 40 Degrees is making solid progress in 22nd place, whilst Britons Richard Tolkien (ICAP Orca) and Pete Goss (DMS) are in 26th and 29th respectively.
Franck Cammas, Groupama (ULTIMES) : I’ve hardly seen the rankings, so yes it is going well. But we’ll have to wait for three days to see how it really pans out, because then we will see ourselves converging. So we have two groups and both will have different conditions, but we will start to see the real situation at the entry to the trade winds. It is hard to know at the moment. The options are really open until the end. I never concern myself with the classification, I look at the speeds and positions to see what their performances are and to try and judge how their routes will play out. Just now, according to all the routings, it is all very close.
I went for this option because its good for the boat, it makes it easier to play to its strengths. There are some not bad little light spots ahead and a front and after that we will see.
I have had conditions which are good for the boat, making a course with good winds and a powerful boat, we make fewer sail changes working to the averages, and so I’ve made less manouevres. After a front it is a different story. The first night I became exhausted because I had several gybes off Ushant and so I was exhausted. But I can rely on the boat to do what it does well, and so I don’t have to do much between manouevres and trimming and can work on the course.
Sidney Gavignet, Oman Air Majan (ULTIMES): « I thought that heading back to the south again life would get better because the sea is smoother, but its grey with drizzle. This morning I had some blue skies but now its gone. We could be in the south. It is not cold, but there is a big swell, the sea is unstable in force and direction. So you scratch your head, look at the positions and continue upwind.
The rankings don’t really tell the full story because we are so spread on different routes and you cant say what happens with either. At the beginning when we grouped together, for sure we miss foils against the others.
I am on form, the boat is good and there is plenty of race track still.
Nobody will beat the record of Lemonchois on this race, the weather is not favourable.
Armel Cleac’ h, Brit Air (IMOCA): « All goes well on Brit Air. We’ve been on the wind on this tack since midnight moving away from the edge of the high pressure. I am back and forwards to the nav station because the ideal routing is just not very well defined. The weather is always changing over the next few days according to the weather files, and it is not easy to find best way. There is a complex transition to a low pressure area and then a difficult subtropical low system. So it is not easy to find the best timings and course. I spend a lot of time analyzing it.
The option of Michel Desjoyeaux was still possible yesterday morning, but you needed to decide and go hard south. I’m with the majority of the fleet and you watch what they do. »
Jean-Pierre Dick, Virbac-Paprec 3 (IMOCA): » All is well. It is very tiring for a short race! These fronts and other little delights of this style of racing solo, it is a job. There is not too much wind just now but it is still difficult. And soon we will be able to see the results of it. It is still difficult to see what will happen. The route of Michel Desjoyeaux is not one I would have taken. That of Armel Le Cléac’h looks good. I would not have thought it would be like this. It is tiring all these sail changes, all the stacking.
Marc Guillemot, Safran (IMOCA): « Its all going well on board Safran. The conditons are good, I was slowed down a little but the sun returns and it is perfect. I have not yet been able to sort out my technical problem, but I do something about it tomorrow or the day after tomorrow. »
Bernard Stamm, Cheminées Poujoulat (CLASS 40): » I am on the wind. This is tough. I am happy to be still in this top group. Those around me are not far away and I think we will be able to pass the top of the anticyclone OK. I think Thomas is well placed. We will see in the long run but in the short run it’s good.
I try to stay on deck as much as possible, but to find moment of rest. I have little sleep since the start and was starting to feel a little tired.