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'One man, one boat, the sea...The Transat established in 1960 as the OSTAR'
 
      The first night at sea for The Transat entrants has been hard work in 20 knot headwinds with constant manoeuvring and frequent tacks within the tightly packed fleet.

 
Once passed The Lizard, sea conditions calmed slightly, but this did not allow any rest for the skippers. Early this morning Franck Cammas on ORMA 60 Groupama explained that he had spent all night on deck, strapped into his seat at the helm unwilling to go below. Cammas opted to carry two reefs and a staysail throughout the night to limit the risk of any early breakages.

The multihull fleet are currently 20-30 miles off the Irish coast, heading northwest in a pack spreading 50 miles north/south with Thomas Coville on Sodebo leading the charge just two miles ahead of Geant. Before leaving the Celtic Sea and crossing the edge of Europe's continental shelf, the skippers may have a brief spell to reorganise and dry-out their yachts before encountering the next ridge of weather at around midday British time. All skippers are preparing for heavy weather over the next couple of days; Michel Desjoyeaux this morning that the ridge would be quicker and narrower than forecast, but followed by severe conditions behind the low pressure, adding "I'm too old to take all these waves".

First 60 ft monuhull to round The Lizard - Pindar AlphaGraphics - remains the most northerly IMOCA yacht, but Mike Golding (Ecover) has taken the lead overnight although Jean-Pierre Dick on Virbac has shaved seven miles off Golding's lead in the past few hours. In communication with the race organisation earlier today, Jean-Pierre Dick admitted that he has had almost no sleep since the race start at 14:00 BST yesterday and sounded increasingly tired during the brief, satellite 'phone conversation. It is unlikely that the skippers will have a good chance to rest before the effects of the gale force, southwesterly winds produced in the zone between the next low rolling across the North Atlantic and the Azores High system centred around 40°N.

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For further information, please contact Lou Newlands or Isabel Genis
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F: +44 (0)20 7681 2912

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