Friday, November 28, 2008

Sébastien Josse leading the Vendée Globe, at least for now..

[Source: Vendée Globe] Like birds migrating south, the leading bunch seem have fallen neatly into each other’s slipstreams as they head down the latitudes, with Sébastien Josse showing the way.

No change among the front-runners at this evening’s update (1900hrs GMT): first placed Seb Josse has pulled a couple more miles out on Loick Peyron, whilst the distance to the next seven boats has increased marginally as their VMG picks up again. But if the speeds are picking up, what does that mean for the St Helena High?

Most of the skippers are playing their cards close to their chest, but we can certainly expect another day or two of unsettled weather as they cross the high pressure zone. After last night’s swing to the south, the predictions are for the wind to start backing northerly. When the westerlies will kick in is still open to speculation! With nine hours between scheds overnight, this could be a real opportunity for some night manoeuvring — we won’t know who comes out best until 0400h (GMT) tomorrow.

Highlights from day 19 of the Vendée Globe. 28 November 2008. Video copyright Vendée Globe

Some of the positions are a little misrepresentative of where the skippers are in the real race — the race to get south. For example, ninth placed Mike Golding (Ecover, GBR) is 55 miles further south than Jean Le Cam in fourth. Le Cam’s radical south-easterly track appears to have been a temporary hitch in response to a shift, and he is now on a similar heading to the rest of the fleet.

In fact the boat closest to Le Cam’s latitude is 10th-placed Safran (Marc Guillemot), who made rapid progress south over the past couple of days and looks set to rejoin the leading group. Few would even rule out that Michel Desjoyeaux, currently in 14th, could catch the front-runners — Foncia is now around 55 miles further south than Sam Davies (GBR), but approx 125 miles to the west, which means that the Roxy skipper is showing as one place ahead. Swiss sailor Bernard Stamm is currently barreling down the track most rapidly, taking 120 miles from the leaders in the past 24 hours in Cheminées Poujoulat in 22nd place.



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