The PRB solo skipper saw some of his hard won lead melt away to the pursuing second placed boat, now Francois Gabart on MACIF who won the solo transatlantic BtoB in December.
Riou and Gabart had stepped slightly clear of Cheminées Pojoulat on the final leg to La Rochelle where the winner should arrive Sunday afternoon or even late morning. And on the 1700hrs poll this Saturday evening it was the younger MACIF skipper who has eked out a lead of just over a mile over the past Vendée Globe winner.
It will be a night of intense concentration for both skippers as the go head to head to the finish, a sprint along the Southern Brittany and Vendée coasts. Even if this is a coast they are both equally familiar with, it is busy and complicated and the NW’ly might set up a spinnaker gibing duel to the line. The pace and intensity of the finale is likely to be reminiscent of the Figaro solo one design racing that both know so well.
Chemineés Pojoulat has faded slightly, skipper Bernard Stamm struggling for decent weather info. Armel Le Cléac’h revealed today that his mainsail halyard lock problem which has haunted him at the Azores had come back again. The temporary fix he had made has failed and he spent some time under headsail alone before reaching another solution which will let him reach La Rochelle, he hopes. Javier ‘Bubi’ Sanso on ACCIONA 100% EcoPowered is expected around 24 hours behind the first finishers.
Bernard Stamm (Cheminées Poujoulat): "The wind is more varied and suddenly, there is more work. Since this morning, I have no weather information and suddenly, I think I'm out to the west too much. In passing the Fastnet, I saw Vincent in front, and then later I saw MACIF as well, it was nice.
Vincent Riou (PRB): "The passage of the lighthouse was very cool. We arrived before dark. As the sea was not bad.. But we still a job to do before finishing in La Rochelle. There will still be a transition to manage. “