On the back of "Joachim"
As the hellish conditions hit the Bay of Biscay and pass along the coast of Brittany, we caught up with the latest news from the skipper of Safran: "It's rough, but everything is fine on board Safran," said a very cheerful-sounding Marc this morning over the satellite phone. "I decided to head north-eastwards and I think that was the right thing to do. I'm currently sailing at 44°14 North and 14°53 West, 560 miles from Lorient, which I should reach on Sunday morning."
No sail up and then three reefs
Marc Guillemot did what was necessary to cope with the heavy weather last night, and even went as far as to take down the mainsail, leaving it rest on the lazy jacks, the system, which is used to store the sail on the boom. "Then in 35 knots of wind, I hoisted the mainsail again to third reef, which is what I currently have up with a small jib at the front. I was expecting 60-70 knot gusts, but it wasn't as bad as forecast in this area. It reached 47 knots at its peak. But having said that, the seas are very big and nasty, so this is serious stuff… But now I'm behind most of the front that is currently hitting France. I'm sailing at 110 degrees to the wind, which is averaging 35 knots. These are strong conditions, but we're moving along reasonably like that at slow speed… I even managed to grab some sleep!"
While the race ended yesterday, the work goes on to sail the boat home.