They had already declared an unoffical "Best French" competition. Our French fleet comprises A Fond le Girafon, Dare Dare, and Outre Mer. While none of these is competing for the overall Pacific Cup (two "cruisers" and one experimental), they are nonetheless doing quite well, with A Fond le Girafon and Outre Mer
out in front of the entire fleet thanks to a windy Monday start, speedy designs (new Beneteau Figaro F3 and Hanse 505), good boathandling, and canny weather calls.
Dare Dare, whose name means "quickly" in colloquial French (pronounced 'dardarr'), is the lead boat (if you ignore handicaps) in the Alaska Airlines division. Malheureusement, that entire fleet is slowed by a patch of light wind.
Overall, patches of light air (and by patches, we mean areas the size of small states) present all the fleets with some challenges. Unlike recent years, we are seeing significant scattering of the boats. Race veteran and Starting Line chair Bobbi Tosse remarked that, while in the last few years we've seen pretty much a lock-step among the boats' navigation decisions, driven by common data and the common use of one or two routing programs, this year it's anyone's guess.
A Fond, OutreMer and others are heading North, to go up and over a wind desert right on the route to Hawaii. Wolfpack, raced by the highly skilled Melinda and Bill Erkelens, has opted for the South, joined by most of the Express 27s, to try to go under. Some boats, on the other hand, seem to be saying "Never mind the maneuvers, just go straight at 'em," under the theory that, if you can't avoid the light stuff, you can at least minimize your miles sailed.
The forecast calls generally for modest winds (apart from the light bits) across the course, making for generally pleasant, if not super-speedy, sailing.
Q'un bon Mai-Tai abreuve nos bateaux!