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Day 4

After 4 days of steady south westerlies, the wind shifted to the west allowing Tapio Lehtinen, true to his original strategy, to tack yesterday afternoon and make a direct course at 6 knots towards Cape Finisterre, facing the residual swell of the last few days. There he should rejoin Pat Lawless, north-west of the fleet, Simon Curwen, whose Galician cruise put in the lead, and Abhilash Tomy, who has invited himself onto the podium. Will Captain Barnacle get ahead? The game is tight and all bets are off, but bravo to the Finnish gentleman sailor who found resources to follow his plan in very uncomfortable conditions.

A group of six are now tacking west, off the Prologue host city Gijón looking in easier seas and winds than offshore, led by Guy Waites and Jeremy Bagshaw, who is delivering a superb performance: his OE32, the smallest and lightest yacht of the fleet, should in principle be less efficient than his rivals in the head winds and waves, yet he heading the chasing pack… Hats off to him!

It is a bit of a purgatory for those who did not follow their early option -west or south- until the end: neither do they have the direct route of Tapio west of them, nor the smoother conditions sheltered by the Spanish coast to the south, and must now progress upwind in the residual swell. Today will be slow and painful for them.

For the next 24 hours, the westerlie should continue before turning south again, driven by a low-pressure system currently over the Azores. There is a short window for the entrant before making their way down from Portugal, partly upwind, and there will be important choices ahead as the fleet avoid the TSS (Traffic Separation Scheme) off Cape Finisterre: extend the route outwards to avoid fishing boats, coastal traffic, and killer whales or slip along the coast for a shorter route.


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