Derek Hatfield heads for Tasmania

Derek Hatfield’s Algimouss Spirit of Canada sustained brone spreaders early this morning when she was knocked flat in huge seas.

The message was short this morning: 40 knot SW’ly winds, boat knocked down, two top spreaders broken, skipper OK? Derek Hatfield (Algimouss-Spirit of Canada) is sailing at reduced speed (7 knots) towards Tasmania, 1000 miles away. It is understood that this was the third time that Algimouss Spirit of Canada had been knocked down in this storm, and Hatfield had seen winds to 57 knots and huge seas. Winds are due to ease.

Marc Guillemot (Safran) completed his repairs at Auckland Island and is now sailing again with the boat able to show her full potential. He set sail at around 2030hrs GMT last night just over 150 miles ahead of the trio of Dee Caffari, GBR, (Aviva), Brian Thompson, GBR, (Bahrain Team Pindar) and Arnaud Boissières (Akéna Vérandas) , who are practically within sight of each other, but Guillemot has quickly found his stride and has been one of the fastest in the fleet since leaving Port Ross Bay. Guillemot is reported to be very happy with the repair he made, particularly after getting some good sleep in the secluded bay.

Michel Desjoyeaux (Foncia) in the lead now for thirteen days, is only a few miles from the West Pacific Ice Gate which he should cross this morning. The lead of fifty miles or so over Roland Jourdain (Veolia Environnement) has stabilised, but with his position further north, the leader should be able to sail directly towards the final Pacific Ice Gate, which has been moved 300 miles north because of drifting ice.
In fact this has extended the course by almost 450 miles, so it is only today that we can say that there will be less 10,000 miles left to reach Les Sables d’Olonne?

Down under New Zealand, a series of warm fronts from Australia are disturbing the westerly flow and Boissières,Thompson, Caffari and Guillemot are facing northerly or NE’ly winds. As they move up to pass the New Zealand Gate, they should find a steadier SW’ly flow for a few days. Sam Davies (Roxy) is continuing to close the gap on Jean-Pierre Dick (Paprec-Virbac 2) stuck in moderate, unstable winds and now less than 400 miles ahead of the British skipper who continues to set good, steady average speeds on the IMOCA Open 60 which has won the race twice in succession.

Seb Josse (BT) has still been making north, at slightly improved speeds 9-10 knots looking for better weather to decide on his fate after being knocked flat.