Aboard MACIF, François Gabart is enjoying the brand new feeling of leading an IMOCA fleet, leaving in his wake some very experienced racers, such as Armel le Cléac'h, Mike Golding, Marc Guillemot and Vincent Riou. We already had an inkling of the ability of the young skipper to learn quickly and he has certainly confirmed that this week. Armel Le Cléac'h, who got held up in a calm, saw his rival make his getaway and suddenly increase his lead by thirty miles or so. But the skipper of Banque Populaire is no novice and knows that there is still a long way to go and that a few hours of sailing are nothing in the scale of things, considering the difficulties the fleet is about to face.
A second week that is decidedly wintery
The solo sailors heading towards Lorient will be back into wintery conditions in this second week of racing: strong westerlies, heavy seas and biting cold condition lie ahead. While the start of the week looks like offering decent conditions, the end of the race looks particularly tricky: the current routing tends to indicate that the leaders will be finishing in the Bay of Biscay with winds close to fifty knots. Taking into account the reputation of these waters, particularly with the steep continental shelf, it looks like the final hours of the race may be extremely tough.