Happy to be out west

«It's windy, the seas are a bit rough, so everything's getting wet and we're getting shaken around, but all is well… I'm fairly pleased about my position. The only negative point is I'm not quite on the same latitude as Gitana. There's still some work to do. We have to remain patient and await our turn. But I'm certainly not unhappy to be out here all on my own to the left… » During this morning's radio session, Marc Guillemot spoke in the tone of a yachtsman, who was quite pleased with their option. Whilst it is true that « Loïck (Peyron, the leader, editor's note) found a bolt hole in the game of Russian Roulette that is the Doldrums, there's nothing to worry about: there are still 2600 miles to the finish, so finding myself forty miles behind in distance to the finish is peanuts. It wouldn't be the same if I was following his trajectory.»

An interesting angle
So the situation on Wednesday 5th December is that Safran is the furthest west of the fleet and second furthest north. A great position to be in, as Safran could well pick up some more favourable wind (less upwind on the route) than the others and could arc her way back in towards the finish, which will be more difficult for the competitors out to the east (Michel Desjoyeaux, who has dropped back 80 miles from the leader) and «the pack in the middle» as Marc Guillemot said.

«A great boat»
Making his way out of the Doldrums that have spread out with their calms and rainy squalls, Safran is sailing today «at around 70° to the wind» at a good speed. «The boat is doing extremely well. Frankly, I really believe that if I had to choose one in the fleet of monohulls, it would be this one. She's a great boat and just needs someone to take care of her», Marc joked with us this morning.

«Finding the right dose»
As for conditions on board, everything is going well: «I've just made myself some pasta and can now go and get some rest», said Marc Guillemot, «as it is important to pace your efforts. Sailing quickly for two hours off Quiberon is something anyone can do, but sailing a bit faster for a little longer than the others needs you to be aware of everything and that is tiring. So whoever is least tired has an advantage… It's a subtle mix, as you have to find the right dose to keep up the pace and be in tune with your machine.»
At the 14h rankings, Safran checked in third place in this Transat Ecover B to B, 42 miles behind the leader, Loïck Peyron, with Yann Eliès's Generali in second place. What about the next 24 hours? «There will above all be speed, for me in any case, some wind variations to deal with, but not a lot to expect in terms of strategy.» He just has to stoke her up and we know that that is something Safran and her skipper know how to do. Today's joke? «There are twenty knots of wind and I'm achieving speeds of 30-35 knots!» When the sailor jokes around like that, (if you divide the speed by almost three you would be closer to the truth), you know there's nothing much to worry about…

Wednesday 5th December 2007

Coming out of the Doldrums in a NE'ly flow blowing at around fifteen knots, Safran is the second furthest north of the fleet after the leader Loïck Peyron (Gitana Eighty). However, Marc Guillemot, third in terms of distance to the finish, is also the furthest west. An interesting position from which to go on the attack…