Interview with Phil on board Imerys:
> When do you think the opportunity will come to catch up?
“We have steady, fast reaching conditions now, but when we arrive in the English Channel, north of Brittany, there will be very, very light winds. There will inevitably be some big compression in the fleet and this will give us a great opportunity to catch up and pass some boats – we hope!”
> What are your thoughts on the drop in position?
“The drop in position is immensely frustrating, but has been down solely to our large spinnaker damage and there is very little you can do to make up boat speed in these situations. Aside from this we are confident from our performance earlier in the race that we can be faster than all the other boats, apart from perhaps the Spanish, who seem to have a slight edge in performance over everyone. Anyhow we are looking forward, not back, and confident we can work our way up to a podium place again.”
> How is the damaged spinnaker holding up?
“We have only just finished the third round of major repairs, which has taken a long time, and so we haven’t had the opportunity to hoist it yet. In fact, we are waiting for the right conditions to do so as now the wind is too strong so we are using the small spinnaker. Unfortunately, when we needed it the most it was in for repair, though looking forward it looks like the wind will drop and this weapon will come in very handy towards the end of the race, should it hold up! I can tell you, all are nerves will be on end when we hoist it as we can’t be sure whether the repair will hold, so it will be a tense moment! With such light winds near the end of the race, the spinnaker will be crucial for then, so we don’t want to hoist it too early in too much wind, and risk further damage.
> How do you feel about getting so close to the finish?
“It will be just incredible to reach St Malo, close to home, after a fortnight of such intense ocean racing. Particularly as this is where The Transat started in late April, so to do a full circle after two wildly different transatlantic adventures will be very special indeed.
“I’m really looking forward to seeing family and friends also who can make it down to see us come in. I’m sure it will be a great welcoming!”
Team Imerys’ current ETA is between 2pm – 5pm on Fri afternoon.