Accelerator Down At Cape Finisterre

November 10, 2021

Sailing

Sam Goodchild and Aymeric Chapellier have a job on their hands on the Leyton OceanFifty after finding themselves on the wrong end of a rich get richer scenario as the leading contenders in their class accelerated away into stronger breeze last night meaning Leyton lost a few miles as they passed the northwest corner of Spain at the notorious Cape Finisterre.  
Leyton is fifth this morning in the seven boat Transat Jacques Vabre OceanFifty class and by 0600hrs UTC this morning had negotiated the Traffic Separation Scheme channel which – as the name suggests – directs the busy flows of marine cargo traffic as it approaches and leaves Europe from the Atlantic.
This famous corner of Spain always produces a difficult zone of bigger seas and a much stronger breeze, an acceleration zone where the skippers have to be on very high alert. For the OceanFifty multihulls this has meant winds of 25-30kts to contend with, great for making high speeds south and west but at the cost of very, very little sleep during the night.

Lying about 50 nautical miles behind the leaders but making 22-23 knots this morning, with the wind whistling through the rigging and the spray flying everywhere, Sam Goodchild said on his morning call:

Sam Goodchild

We have been passing Cape Finisterre on the inside of the Traffic Separation Scheme we have had between 22 and 30 knots with quite a few gybes, and so we have only had about 30 minutes lying down in the night, I would not say sleep it was a bit too stressful to sleep. You can hear the boat in the background. We are going pretty quick and on top that we have the bit between our teeth as we want to catch up some miles as we have been bleeding miles all night and so it has been difficult. In theory we will be doing our last gybe in a while and then head offshore to the west and then do a few more gybes as we try to stay in this band of breeze which is accelerating around Cape Finisterre. And then the options are bit more open further down the line. But apart from being full on the night has gone well and all is well on board.

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