Thursday, November 20, 2008

Leading pack of the Vendée Globe to exit the Doldrums

[Source: Vendée Globe] It will be the morning before we can say for sure if the leaders are officially leaving Doldrums territory, but the signs are good. It smells a little like it, it looks a little like it, but only when the figures build and are a little more steady then will the skippers breathe a sigh of relief, settle back to a more structured routine and start working on the strategy for the south Atlantic.

In truth it has been a relatively uneventful crossing. There have been no reports of big, wind sucking black clouds, no big sudden squalls, not even any really prolonged calms, nor any torrential rain showers.

It is still Loick Peyron who leads for his eighth day on Gitana Eighty. For the last 70 miles he has been heading just west of south, with Seb Josse currently tracking more or less directly behind him at +20 miles behind. The top three boats are scraping back up towards double figures speeds, Gitana Eighty, BT, and third placed Paprec-Virbac 2 are all now polled at 9 to 9.2 knots.

Highlights from the 11th day of the Vendée Globe. 20 November 2008. Video copyright Vendée Globe

But the top ten are settled in the same order as four hours ago. Roland Jourdain’s run up the west wing is proving a gift that keeps giving. He is computed to be just less than a mile behind Mike Golding and was going twice as quickly, which is perhaps part of the reason Ecover 3 has been on a more westerly course for the last 15 miles.

Back up the track a little Brian Thompson is not short of company on Bahrain Team Pindar. Yesterday and last night he was in close company with Sam Davies on ROXY, tonight he is less than 5 miles behind Dominic Wavre, with the two boats surprisingly evenly matched presently, it will be an interesting night for both as they head for their Doldrums passage.

Michel Desjoyeaux has all but passed Steve White now, albeit some 90 miles out to the west of Toe in the Water. Foncia’s DTL has dropped under 300 miles tonight. Was it not only last night we were saying it had just dropped below 400 miles?

And a very welcome morale boost for the hard working Dee Caffari as she rises one place to 15th, passing Arnaud Boissieres’ Akena Verandas.

Jonny Malbon has a much more western set to his course today and is making fair speeds. He is 100 miles west of Unai Basurko and the two have an interesting race developing.



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