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11/08 - 07h52

Humphreys heads to Lisbon, Peyron's final 1000 miles sprint

After being dismasted yesterday late afternoon while lying in 12th place in La Route du Rhum-Destination Guadeloupe solo race from Saint-Malo to Guadeloupe, English skipper Conrad Humphreys is reported to be heading towards Lisbon under engine and is making fair progress on the Class 40 Cat Phones.

According to his technical team from his home port of Plymouth, Devon and Race Direction, this morning he has met with a merchant ship which transferred additional diesel to Cat Phones for the passage to the Portuguese haven. Thereafter the Cat Phones team plan to mobilise a vessel to meet with Humphreys to complete a tow.

A bitterly disappointed Humphreys told his shore team that he was sailing under mainsail and A3 gennaker in around 17kts of breeze when the rig came down, breaking in two pieces. They confirm he was unable to save any of the mast.
 This morning Cat Phones is making around 5 to 6kts on a course towards Lisbon which is approximately 360 miles east.
On the race track Loick Peyron last night made what should be his final gybe, around sundown, which puts the giant trimaran Maxi Solo Banque Populaire on direct course for Guadeloupe. According to current routing he should not have any more manoeuvres to do on the final 1000 miles before la Tete a l'Anglais. And he has Yann Guichard 160 miles behind in his wake.
Race leader Peyron, who has never won the mythical Route du Rhum, has extended his lead to 16 per cent of the remaining distance which stand between him and victory. But in these Ultime multihulls no lead is enough to relax. Peyron is sailing in unstable trade winds which require regular trimming of the boat and sails. He made his gybe last night around 1930hrs CET and has a lead of 163 miles on Guichard (Spindrift 2)
Winds closer towards the finish will be lighter under the effect of the island – there will also be some squall activity – but at this stage Peyron has a chance of bettering the race record for La Route du Rhum-Destination Guadeloupe, set in 2006 by Lionel Lemonchois at 7 days and 17 hours.
The IMOCA 60s and the Multi50s are racing about 800 miles behind the Ultime pack. A series of small technical problems has seen Marc Guillemot (Safran) lose miles to the two leaders. Francois Gabart (Macif) is 20 miles ahead of Jérémie Beyou (Maitre Coq) and the two have worked themselves clear of the lighter winds of the Azores high and are now on a direct course for the finish, but will likely have a few gybes to make en route. So too for the Multi50s, in the same sea area, where Erwan Le Roux (FenetreA Cardinal) leads Arkema Region Aquitaine (Lalou Roucayrol) by 33 miles this morning. They have trade winds of around 12-18kts from the NE.
In the Class40s Kito de Pavant (Otio-Bastide Médical) has strengthened his command of the fleet thanks to a pair of gybes last night. He has repositioned nicely to keep control of Thibaut Vauchel-Camus (Solidaires en Peloton) who ran closer to the anticyclone and slowed seriously in the lighter winds. Anne Caseneuve (Aneo) sails in among the Class 40s, north of Madeira. She is 81 miles behind leader Andrea Mura (Vento di Sardegna). Robin Knox Johnston is slightly slowed this morning on Grey Power but holds his seventh place.

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