The first night of The Ocean Race is done and the crews had a lot of work along the coast in the first miles. GUYOT environnemnt – Team Europe has fought its way back after the problem with the Code Zero shortly after the start, which had left it four nautical miles behind the field. The fight at the top was changeable, in between the black racer of the French-German team had been able to get into the leading position. At the turn into the Strait of Gibraltar, the team of skipper Benjamin Dutreux and co-skipper Robert Stanjek was in third place.
“Our bad luck in the inshore square with the Code Zero cost us many meters. But then we did quite well in the lee of the capes of the Iberian Peninsula, were able to catch up with the others again. The night was quite exhausting. We must have switched back and forth between J 0 and J 2 ten to twelve times, which also always involves a rig change,” reported Robert Stanjek of the work on board. “We sailed a lot with foils and without foils, had speed between 2 and 28 knots – due to this topography of the Spanish coast. Sometimes lee, then valleys where the wind came through.”
After about 20 hours of sailing, GUYOT environnement – Team Europe headed out on the cross with a strong headwind. Not easy, because there was another problem to overcome: “We unfortunately had a complete blackout in the early hours of the morning, which switch our good compass off. That is a small handicap, which you can also see in comparison with the other boats. But we sailed strong. It’s all good, the boat is intact. Just now we saw 35 knots windspeed for the first time.”
Benjamin Dutreux sees a tough 160 nautical miles and an exhausting 20 to 24 hours ahead for the team: “We made good decisions in the different conditions last night. Now a very different picture awaits us. With the strong winds, we will find little rest. And at the end of the strains, the Strait of Gibraltar awaits us. We will probably reach it in the dark of night, perhaps at dawn. Then we have to be wide awake. Not an easy task after the hart fight before,” says the skipper, who also warns: “If you don’t pay attention in the traffic, the traffic separation area, and the fishing nets and lines, you’ll soon lose a lot. In Gibraltar, many things can decide and the ranking can change completely.” After that, the expanse of the Atlantic awaits, with more predictable winds expected, but also some tactical options in the passage of the Canary Islands.