Monday, December 01, 2008

Seb Josse leading the Vendée Globe; Michel Desjoyeaux keeps gaining miles

[Source: Vendée Globe] For all that he claimed, a week or so back, that he was keeping his powder dry for the real battle, Michel Desjoyeaux is doing a fine job getting back in among the fray of the Vendée Globe.

Mich Desj' is not exactly breathing down the neck of Marc Guillemot, some 100 miles to the north but on a parallel course the 2001 Vendee Globe winner is – once again – rocketing along as the quickest in the fleet making an instantaneous speed of 17.7 knots. Guillemot’s Safran is now just 20 miles or so ahead on the standings. Is there is a certain air of inevitability?

Certainly when Mich Desj left Les Sables d’Olonne for the second time at 0440 hrs GMT on the Tuesday morning after his enforced pit stop, with over 350 miles to catch up it did not look too desperate, but consider his deficit at its worst was 671.3 miles four days later.

Highlights from day 22 of the Vendée Globe. 1 December 2008. Video copyright Vendée Globe

Now Foncia is on the verge of the top ten, and from there everything is possible.

Meantime Josse has gained another mile and has gybed south-east again, now 44.2 miles ahead of Peyron’s Gitana Eighty. There is about 60 miles of west to east lateral separation between the two top boats now.

Between Golding in the NW in eighth and Elies in the SE in third there is 32 miles of lateral distance, and only four miles separates fifth and seventh. Certainly – as Riou and Dick had a reminder this afternoon – keen observation is very much required. Golding has reduced his deficit to Riou – in seventh tonight – to 12.9 miles.

Vincent Riou (PRB) said he could sail more quickly but decided against it, not wishing to push his boat too hard. There were similar words from Armel Le Cléac’h (Brit Air): «If some go more quickly than I'm going, good luck to them. I don't want to take it too far.»

In spite of that the leaders are all showing average speeds of around 15 knots. Certainly they are not getting much rest in the heavy swell and 25 knots of wind. Rather like in a coastal regatta, they are all watching what their rivals are up to. This evening, Jean Le Cam (VM Matériaux) is the furthest south and on the starboard tack aiming for 41°south. Maybe during the night they will all ease off.

Raphael Dinelli appears to be going south again after his brief interlude in the shelter of the isle of Trindade to repair his halyard problems.



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