It's been a baptism of fire for both Irish competitors in the 2020 Solo Maitre CoQ after the first night at sea in light and tricky conditions.
Both Dublin's Kenny Rumball and Meath's Tom Dolan are currently in the bottom third of the 30-boat fleet but as anyone knows in offshore racing, with 300 miles still to sail, anything can happen before this weekend's finish. See Tracker below.
The start of the 17th edition began yesterday (Thursday) at 1:15 pm, off Sables d'Olonne.
The 30 sailors in the running then set off on a 340-mile course between Belle-Ile, Yeu and Ré, propelled by a northwest wind blowing between 5 and 6 knots. It was a breeze that quickly died out and almost completely died away on the approach to the rescue buoy, literally breaking up the fleet.
Well in tune in these erratic conditions, top-ranked Armel Le Cléac’h (Banque Populaire) was the first to turn south towards the Ile de Ré.
Overnight the fleet has spread out and leaders are now some ten nautical miles ahead of the rival Irish boats.
These are certainly challenging conditions for the Figaristes, where the challenge today for both Irish boats is to haul themselves back up the leaderboard.