Monday, December 22, 2008

Windy night ahead for Vendée Globe skippers

[Source: Vendée Globe] Three low pressure zones stretching across the race course from front-runners to rear markers look set to ensure everyone has a windy night tonight. Those on the western edge are still skirting the edge of a low which will see winds averaging 50 knots affecting the west of the Kerguelens, with a second storm brewing in the next 48 hours.

In the middle of the fleet a low is deepening to the south-east of Heard Island and looks set to bring violent winds from tomorrow through to Wednesday — making for an exciting Christmas Eve, even if for the skippers it is going to be spent slaving over GRIB files, rather than a turkey… These winds are set to move northwards, towards the south of Australia. For the leaders, a low that formed over Cape Leeuwin last weekend and then headed off towards Tasmania is now moving towards the south of New Zealand, generating some strong gusts in the thundery squalls.

Video highlights from day 43 of the Vendée Globe. 22 December 2008. Video copyright Vendée Globe

In this evening’s update, the boats with most favourable conditions seem to be in the second row — Vincent Riou (PRB) in 6th making the most ground in 24 hours, with fifth-placed Armel Le Cléac’h (Brit Air) also clocking averages of over 18 knots. Fastest over this afternoon has been Jean-Pierre Dick, whose rudder repairs to Paprec-Virbac 2 seem to be holding with speeds creeping over 20 knots.

Further ahead, leader Michel Desjoyeaux (Foncia) is diving further south-east, whilst the chasing trio have all gybed today onto a more north-easterly course. Can they undo the damage Foncia has wreaked? In one week Sebastien Josse (BT) has lost 150 miles in one week, Jean Le Cam (VM Materials) conceded 180 miles, Armel le Cléac'h (Brit Air) nearly 270 miles and Vincent Riou (PRB) 250 miles – there will be no let-up in the Pacific just yet…



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