Some pleasure to finish off…

Marc Guillemot was due to cross the latitude of Cape Finisterre this afternoon, while still in fifth place in the Transat B to B, in spite of the damage to his keel, which has been forcing him for the last four days to sail cautiously to complete the race in order to qualify for the Vendée Globe. He is still enjoying himself on board the large monohull, which is sailing quickly reaching peaks of twenty knots last night. He is due to finish on Friday.

«I'm sailing under mainsail and staysail in sixteen to eighteen knots of wind, with full ballast and she is riding well. She's sailing quite quickly without too much strain on the keel. The seas are calm and the sky looks really beautiful. It's wonderful weather! I'm pleased to be able to make the most of it.» This afternoon a relaxed Marc Guillemot in fine form was approaching Cape Finisterre, the north westerly tip of Spain. In other words, he just has to cross the infamous Bay of Biscay to reach the finishing line off Port-la-Forêt… and thus ensure his qualification.

The leading pack
The race is still being led by Loïck Peyron (Gitana Eighty), ahead of Kito de Pavant (Groupe Bel), who is back to within 37 miles of the leader. He is followed by Michel Desjoyeaux (Foncia) 47 miles behind, then Yann Eliès (Generali) and finally Safran 150 miles from the leader.... Still in fifth place, Marc is continuing his race, while remaining cautious, keeping in mind the main goal of this Transat Ecover B to B : his qualification for the Vendée Globe. «In general terms, I'm bringing up the rear of the leading pack and I don't think those that are behind can catch us up now.» With a lead of some 180 miles over his immediate chaser, Bernard Stamm (Cheminées Poujoulat), Safran should remain in the pack of five frontrunners and thus finish in a fine fifth place.

Day or night ?
At the 11h radio session this morning, we could hear the deafening vibrations of the boat as she sailed along at 15 knots. Marc Guillemot announced he was hoping to be at the latitude of Cape Finisterre at around 17h00, which was some 74 miles ahead of him. «It feels like I'm almost home, but it's been like that since the start! We shall see. I'm not building any castles in the air. I just want to take care of this final stretch of the race… There may be a battle with Yann Eliès for fourth place, but only if I see an opening without any risks.» As for his finish, Marc warned: «We ‘ll see on Friday if for the first time I finish a transatlantic crossing in daylight. We'll talk about that after the finish!»

«Two yachtsmen that really impressed me… »
« Yann (Eliès) with Loïck (Peyron) are the two yachtsmen that really impressed me the most during this race: Loïck has had a faultless crossing, without any problems, while Yann, who often led the race, fought hard to take his boat to the front», the yachtsman on Safran explained. He also revealed in an anecdote the respect that ocean racers have for each other and also their incorrigible sense of humour: «Yann called me yesterday pretending to be my bank manager! It was funny… in the end we had a nice chat for a few minutes.»

The pleasure of gliding along
There remain two days and two nights of adventure and competition to be «enjoyed» in amongst the «dolphins that are swimming around Safran, in a sea that is just lively enough to encourage you to sail quickly, to glide along in brilliant, bright sunshine… It's wonderful and great fun. I really must make the most of it, as after all it is December and it may not be like this in a few days time… Look forward to hearing from you on Friday for the radio session, unless I hit the rocks around the Glénans… In any case, it will be a great pleasure to meet up on the pontoons!» A great pleasure indeed.

Wednesday 12th December 2007

Marc Guillemot was due to cross the latitude of Cape Finisterre this afternoon, while still in fifth place in the Transat B to B, in spite of the damage to his keel, which has been forcing him for the last four days to sail cautiously to complete the race in order to qualify for the Vendée Globe. He is still enjoying himself on board the large monohull, which is sailing quickly reaching peaks of twenty knots last night. He is due to finish on Friday.