Leg 3 starts tomorrow at 11am local time and after a short windward-leeward infront of the harbour, we will head south following the mountainous eastern edge of Ireland. The forecast at the start is for a light westerly wind and this will slowly veer during the afternoon giving a chance for the fleet to fly spinakers as they head south to Wicklow Head. As the fleet break away from the coast and into the Irish sea, the breeze is expected to head and its likely that we will be on the wind until Lands End.
With approximately the same distance from Cowes to LandsEnd as Dublin to Lands End, there is a good chance we will meet the 315 strong Rolex Fastnet Race fleet at Wolf Rock. The fleet both carry AIS, but it will be pretty stressful for the 47 Figaro sailors choosing when to sleep.
After crossing the Channel, the Leg takes the fleet inside Ouessant and through the Chanell le Four, the notorious stretch of water where the tide rips through the narrow channel. On from there, getting through the Raz de Sein will be very challenging as the wind off the northern Brittany coast is expected to be dominated by a large ridge of high pressure. Once through these two Tidal gates, the southern Brittany coast will be influenced by good sea breezes during the day and land run off during the night.
With Belle Isle and Isle de Yeu on the race course, the tactics of whether to pass east or west of these small islands will be determined by the sea breeze influence. The final stretch to Les Sables D’Olonne is welcome territory as the home of the Vendee Globe.
Challenges: Pretty straight forward drag race until Brittany where the tides and the light winds will be tricky,
Goal: I’m looking to seal a top 20 finish.