The decisive moment is getting closer – will the first boat back to Aarhus be a singlehanded or a fully crewed?
The singlehanders started out with a head start of 48 hrs which lead to a delta of 200 nautical miles. Right now, the delta is less than 50 NM and the speed in the front trio is 4 – 6 knots while Rafale is hammering 8,8 knots on a westerly course in Fehmarn Belt.
The tide is turning
Jan Hansen who received a time penalty before the start of the leg has managed to wind in the 35 minutes he started behind. But that doesn't matter in the big picture. If Jan Hansen in The Beast, Anders Johansen in Beluga and Anders Nyberg in Embla shall stand a chance against Rafale they've got to get through the very tricky Lille Belt before the tide turns and the current starts running south. At 7 PM Thursday night the current was running north 2 knots. But at midnight the tide will turn and the current will run south peaking at 2 AM. At 5 AM it will start running north again.
They have to get through
In the light breeze it’s most unlikely that either Jan Hansen in The Beast, Anders Johansen in Beluga and Anders Nyberg in Embla will make it back to Aarhus without having to put in another 8 hrs resttime periode. To comply with the Tactical Resttime Rule TRR 44-8 they can at a maximum sail for 36 consequtive hrs before making a rest of at least 8 hrs. That means that Embla and Anders Nyberg must cross the finish line before 4.05 PM Friday afternoon. For Anders Johansen in Beluga the deadline is 4.45 PM whereas Jan Hansen mustcross the line before 5.20 PM Friday 25.
If that doesn't happen the trio will literately be sitting ducks as Rafale can sail by and make it home to take the line honour in Aarhus.