Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Michel Desjoyeaux leads the Vendée Globe

[Source: Vendée Globe] Four skippers passed the second ice gate on Tuesday evening, with Desjoyeaux ahead. Their pressure and fortitude, each pushing close to 24 hour record pace last night, is rewarded with a jump of nearly 200 miles on the second group.

While Jean-Pierre Dick (Paprec-Virbac) heads north, already 100 miles off the leaders’ tracks, not knowing if he will be able to affect a repair to his mangled rudder stocks or not, Michel Desjoyeaux (Foncia) and Roland Jourdain (Veolia Environnment) are only separated by less than 10 miles or so of Indian Ocean in first and second place

All three top boats are making over 17 knots and Sébastien Josse (BT) is all but making the same speeds.

There is little sign of a let up in a tempo which has been almost certainly been pushed on since the arrival of Michel Desjoyeaux in the top 5 last Wednesday, the day that Loïck Peyron lost his rig.

Highlights from day 37 of the Vendée Globe. 16 December 2008. Video copyright Vendée Globe

But now that there are just four perhaps they will set the mark a little lower?

This forced evolution of the leading group - survival of the fittest as tested by the unpredictable Indian Ocean which has taken such a toll, as it has done over the equivalent period in successive editions of this legendary race – sees Desjoyeaux, Jourdain, Josse and Le Cam emerge.

Of the 30 starters in Les Sables d’Olonne there are now just 19 left on course.

Sam Davies retains her 100 miles cushion over Brian Thompson, both having had their own equivalent problems over the last day. Davies is now up to tenth with Thompson 11th. She had to extract Roxy from a large patch of weed early this morning, while Thompson has again been struggling to keep Bahrain Team Pindar in check, rounding up in a spectacular crash tack, the first Open 60 to complete triple Axel and salko off a wave, by the sounds of Brian’s report today.

Meantime Steve White on Toe in the Water has been furiously consistent over the last 36 hours, steadily banging in some high average speeds for his well traveled boat with a now restricted sail inventory. Toe in the Water is now 14th.

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