Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Vendée Globe fleet goes into slow motion in the Doldrums

[Source: Vendée Globe] The brakes are well and truly on. Speedos slacken, tension rises as the leaders are dealt a saultary measure of the real Doldrums experience. Only leader Peyron has posted an average speed above 5 knots, while Jean Le Cam in ninth is struggling to make two knots.

Mike Golding had a go at gybing west during the afternoon and appears to have lost a few miles, whilst enjoying the relative sanctuary of racing virtually alongside each other in third and fourth places this afternoon Jean Pierre Dick and Armel Le Cléac’h were less than 1.5 miles apart, spurring each other on in the light going.

Seb Josse, for the moment, is credited with a gain, some 20 odd miles to the east now of Peyron, making back 2 miles or so, but Gitana Eighty has gybed back, heading SW for the moment.

Out to the most west, Roland Jourdain has made 13 miles of advance, covering exactly double the net mileage that leader Peyron made over the last four hours, and quickest of the top 10, some 110 miles back up the track from the leader. Jourdain's gain is now 26 miles in eight hours.

Certainly it is going to be a fretful, difficult night. Peyron is covering his bases as he works a little westing in.

Behind them the gains are almost inevitable. Michel Desjoyeaux (Foncia), rather ominously, has reduced his deficit to less than 400 miles on Gitana Eighty, and was still making 11 knots tonight. By the morning sched that could well be down to around 350.

But there are good, morale boosting gains for Dee Caffari, GBR, (Aviva), making more than 20 miles back, Brian Thompson 16.1 miles.

And Unai Basurko, ESP, (Pakea Bizkaia) has made a good gain on his American rival Rich Wilson, USA, (Great American III), now the Basque skipper is now 50 miles ahead a ten miles gain.

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