It could still be a British win in the Mini Fastnet race as Peter Heppel and Andrew Cape stretch their lead to 11 miles over Seb Magnen.
It could still be a British win in the Mini Fastnet race as Peter Heppel and Andrew Cape stretch their lead to 11 miles over Seb Magnen. Sailing in light airs at around 6.5 knots during today, the leaders are approaching the French coast, and a new difficult weather pattern. A small depression is passing their track which could lead to flat calm during tonight, and a mix of unstable conditions, before the breeze kicks back in from the west.
Magnen has chosen a position more to the West that could favour him as the wind returns tomorrow morning if the depression centre passes to the north, but risks allowing Heppel and Whitbread navigator Andrew Cape to get away in the final stages of a fantastic 600 mile duel if it passes to the North. Nothing is certain until the end on this race!
Meanwhile another British solo sailor,Alex Bennet is making an incredible climb back up through the fleet after a disappointing start, and is now in 7th place. Bennet is sailing Mark Turner’s old Finot, Carphone Warehouse, and will certainly be happy with his upwind speed in this part of the race. Along with Peter Heppel, the results so far this season are looking very encouraging for the Brits in September’s Mini Transat itself.
There is another top ten non-french entry as well – POMI FINLAND, the old boat of Reima Alander from the last Mini is in 8th place. A second Australian, and fellow Whitbread crew of Cape, Nick Moloney (Wild Colonial Boy) is making his way back up the fleet as well and is now 15th prototype.
Could this be the end of French dominance of this exciting development class?
Heppel and Cape have their work cut-out tonight to see if they can pull off the first victory.
Estimated arrival times at finish, Ile de Groix, Saturday
Average speed of 7 knots – protos 10h – séries 17h Average speed of 6,5 knots – protos 11h20 – Séries 19h Average speed of 6 knots – protos 13h10 – séries 21h30 Average speed of 5,5 knots – protos 16h15 – séries 0h20