Having started a day late and trailed the fleet by 300 miles, debut Irish IMOCA 60 skipper Enda O'Coineen has moved up into third place as the seven boat fleet pass the Azores. O'Coineen now has a potential finsih time of as soon as this Sunday.
The fleet leader, Sebastien Josse, is already finished with a dominant display. On crossing the finish line off the Linuen Est mark, at the entrance of Port la Foret harbour, this Wednesday 16 December, at 20hr 18mn 17s GMT, the skipper of IMOCA60 Edmond de Rothschild won the transatlantic race in style after dominating proceedings from beginning to end, only giving up the head of the race for the first six hours to SMA skipper Paul Meilhat.
His race time is 10d 05hr 18mn 17s. and his average speed along the great circle route (3,375 miles) equates to 13.76 knots. He covered some 3773 miles over the ground at a speed of 15.38 knots. In so doing, he qualifies for the Vendee Globe 2016.
Meanwhile, on Kilcullen Voyager, O'Coineen sent Afloat.ie the following update:
Being honest, I was scared. Through the early morning, it blew up to 40 knots – I ran off before it. The waves trundled after us, sometimes as high as double-decker busses and predictable like the 7A - However it’s the odd rogue wave, against the flow - that catches you unaware.
Eventually last night’s storm abated. I dozed off to sleep and awoke about 90 minutes later. The miserable grey dawn had arrived - like a black and white movie – now the days are so short they morph into the night that it's hard to tell the difference. The wind had dropped back to 15 knots. Like getting a thrill being the very last on a plane, or doing something that’s against the rules - its living on the edge which brings the kicks - and somehow I am not sure if that’s healthy, even if I have survived, so far as my hairs get greyer.
This morning, I had three tasks on sunrise. Which order was the issue. One being my ritual bow of porridge, the other a sail change and a the third to have a dump - though the least said about this the better. However I should reference one, seldom mentioned fact - which in my humble view has revolutionized ocean racing – it is the arrival of the biodegradable plastic bag and wipes – not invented when I was a lad.
Anyway, I went for the sail change first. This involved dragging the large headsail on deck and other preparations. Then when ready to go I had my porridge – which was just as well, since within an hour the wind was backup to 25 knots plus, so I abandoned the sail change.
Now my mood has moved to survival. Not much succour for romance and poetry. Overhead the rain pounds like pellets, I have never seen as much in one dump from the heavens. From tropics, through autumn and now winter, we have had three seasons in 10 days - so Spring must be just around the corner? Could it be Port La Foret?
Rankings on 16 December at 22h (UTC) and ETAs in Port-la-Foret
1. Edmond de Rothschild, Sebastien Josse: Finished on 16 December 2015 at 21h 18' 17" - Winner in 10 days 5h 18' and 17"
2. Newrest / Matmut, Fabrice Amedeo, 818.3 nm. ETA potentially Saturday 19/12 am
3. Currency House Kilcullen, Enda O'Coinnen, 1098.0 nm. ETA potentially Sunday 20/15
4. Le Souffle du Nord, Thomas Ruyant, 1128.4 nm
5. O Canada, Eric Holden, 1190.2 nm
6. Safran, Morgan Lagravirre, 1210.5 nm
Abd. SMA, Paul Meilhat