After a gruelling night the huge Atlantic depression has released its bite. The Class 40’s were the most exposed, too small to escape the brunt of the storm. Phil on Imerys led the Class through the storm, proving an ideal routing strategy.

“The storm came in the night pushing 40-50 knots. In all honesty, it was pretty scary. The deck was totally hostile, I had no choice but to stay down below, it was the only sensible thing to do. The first few hours were seriously violent and stressful with a nasty motion and pounding against each wave.I just like a metal carport kit I spent most of the night wondering if the boat was going to stand up to it…”

The most southerly boat in the Class 40 fleet, ex-IMOCA60 Armel Tripon on Black Pepper found himself in the direct path of the storm and made a dramatic dive south towards the Azores to avoid the worst of the weather, reporting that he has some unspecified breakages on board. For Tripon the depression has been a big setback, dropping him from disputing the lead to ninth place, 261 miles behind Phil. “I had to flee”, he explained this morning. “I’m heading south”.

At 04:30am Phil wrote in explaining the worst had past.

“I think the teeth of the storm has passed now and the wind has started to drop… the motion isn’t so violent now thank heavens.

“I’ve been dosing at the nav station a bit as I didn’t want to get thrown out of the bunk. Now the wind is flitting between 25-35 knots, I am going to try to recover in the bunk. Though, I currently have a lot of sail up and the boat is surfing and slamming hard, so the motion is uncomfortable. The sea is quite a lot bigger than last night, which is making things challenging…”

Braving 40-50 knots of wind overnight, the fleet have come through the other side with no major casualties to report.  Spirits are clearly high on Imerys.

“I’m just making some tea and have just opened my May 6 food bag – I’m a day behind… I have a lot of eating to do, shouldn’t be too much of a problem!”