Last day of the TransatQSM

Phil Sharp has sent us what will probably be his last blog post from his Class 40 yacht 'Imerys' as the Transat Quebec-St Malo reaches its climax.  Almost unbelievably, after nearly 3,000 miles just a few miles separates the first seven boats in the fleet.  The wind has dropped away to almost nothing and pretty much anything could happen in the next few hours as the skippers search for the breeze that will propel them over the line.  This is what Phil is saying...

“We reached a big milestone in the race yesterday entering the English Channel to the south of the Scilly Isles and exiting the Atlantic. It is incredible to think that just 7 days ago we passed the SE point of Newfoundland, and have covered the North Atlantic in just under a week in a 40ft boat!

“After our spinnaker problems we are still currently lying in 6th place, but have been very much on the attack again and making up ground on our competition in front. Armel Tripon on Black Pepper is now right alongside, just 0.4 miles away, and we are slowly edging past him. Isabelle Josche on Generali is now just 4 miles ahead, whereas the deficit yesterday morning was 8 miles.  So we are pushing Imerys to the limit to seek out every advantage possible and plan a careful strategy to the finish.

“On the weather files there is practically no wind shown in the channel north of Brittany, so this could really play in our favour. We are hoping that the front of the fleet will condense heavily as boats slow up, and so believe that while the Spanish yacht 'Tales 2'  pretty much has the race sewn up, the other podium positions are subject to change.

“It’s got a lot warmer since we entered the Channel and we are no longer having to wear hats and full thermals on deck during the day. There are also a lot more dolphins around the boat now the water has warmed up – although many less seabirds. Further north we saw a lot of Fulmars, which can stay flying round the boat for the whole day. Most likely waiting for some food, and used to following fishing boats!

“The only food we really seem to have left on the boat now is porridge. A lot of porridge. This makes life quite simple, as when one of us gets hungry there is no discussion on what people want to eat. It now comes down to how many spoons of powdered milk or sugar they want in their porridge! I only hope we hit dry land soon before we all get scurvy.

“It is difficult to say exactly what our ETA is in St Malo, as the wind is going to turn so variable, but it looks as though late afternoon or evening is likely. It will be a very special feeling to arrive back there, and complete a full circle of the North Atlantic, which started in the Transat Warm-up from St Malo back in late April. Until the finish though we have the bit between our teeth and are all staying very focused on taking full advantage of every puff that we can to increase our speed to the finish.”

The latest ETA from the race organisers is 19.30

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