Joan Mulloy of Mayo overcame the setback of a broken main halyard to get back in the hunt in Stage 2 of the Solo URGO Figaro from Saint Brieuc in Brittany across the Bay of Biscay to Ria de Muros in northwest Spain, and on Friday – the fleet’s final full day in a Spanish port – her spirited approach was rewarded at an emotional ceremony with a special Adversity Award from the local community of €1,000 writes W M Nixon.
Yesterday’s start of Stage 3 back round Cape Finisterre and northeastward to Saint Gilles Croix de Vie on France’s Biscay Coast was delayed by local calms, and when the fleet finally got away it was to race a course shortened by 30 miles to make it 410 miles – straight to Ile d’Yeu, then the short hop to St Gilles, with the expectation of calms in the middle of Bay of Biscay dictating this distance reduction.
But off northwest Spain, once the breeze settled in it became the inevitable north to northeast wind which prevails at Finisterre in summer, and generally, the fleet kept in a close group with short tacks as each tiny curve in the coastline favoured one tack over another. However, off Corme early this morning, one group decided to take a more marked stab offshore, and it paid, so much so that fancied Scottish sailor Alan Roberts – usually a front-runner – found himself back in 35th position through staying inshore, and among those ahead of him was the reinvigorated Joan Mulloy.
Ireland’s Tom Dolan has been doing even better, finding good speed to stay with the offshore group, and as of 1430hrs this afternoon, the leaders are due north of Coruna, with Frederic Duthil on Technique Voile in the lead with 325 miles still to sail and a speed of 6.8 knots, while Tom Dolan is in 12th place, just 2.5 miles astern of Duthil, and for the moment marginally slower at 6.4 knots but though the morning he had been pushing 7.
Nevertheless the reality is that the entire fleet have been benefiting from the localised northeasters off Galicia – there’s a great big gap in the wind between their present location and Saint Gilles.
Rae tracker here