Monday, January 05, 2009

Desjoyeaux and Jourdain round Cape Horn, fight for leadership

[Source: Vendée Globe] Well, if there’s one happy man in the fleet – judging from this photo at least — it’s Bilou. Roland Jourdain become the second boat to round the Horn today (and planned to crack a small half bottle of red to mark the occasion!) but more important than that will be the fact that Veolia Environment has closed to within 53 miles of long-time leader Michel Desjoyeaux on Foncia.

What’s more, the second-placed Jourdain is still averaging higher speeds than the ‘Professor’ — less than 7,000 miles now to sail and the race is still on. Jean Le Cam (VM Matériaux) too is eking out some more miles – another 30 gained since last night – to round the Cape in the next 24 hours, whilst the biggest gains remain with the ‘terrible twins’, Vincent Riou (PRB) and Armel Le Cléac’h (Brit Air), who have advanced nearly 90 miles on Foncia in the past 24 hours.

Video highlights from day 57 of the Vendée Globe. 5 January 2009. Video copyright Vendée Globe

Mich Desj’s tactics were praised by one valued opinion. Loïck Peyron, the skipper of Gitana Eighty who was dismasted whilst leading, today visited Vendée Globe Race HQ in Paris. He shared his own disappointments and gave us his view of the race:

“Apart from the personal disappointment, it's not funny finding yourself all alone out there. You have to deal with the disappointment of the whole team. The more you give, the greater the disappointment… Time plays tricks on you. It's not taking risks, but rather the effect of time that leads to real problems. The real difficulty of the Vendée Globe, is its length. The pace was certainly faster than in previous editions, but the men and equipment are made for that in theory. In fact, each second, each movement requires organisational skills. Out on the water I am very organised with everything timed to the second. As soon as something interrupts that rhythm, you have to struggle to get back on track. In the long term you need to be like a metronome. The only person to make big gains was Michel Desjoyeaux, coming up from behind as the conditions were better. In his case, he knows what to do. And he does it very well. Very, very well..."

Across the middle of the fleet today there was light and patchy weather, but the two boats at the rear of the fleet — Norbert Sedlacek (Nauticsport Kapsch, AUT) and Raphaël Dinelli (Fondation Océan Vital) — 6000 miles behind the leaders, will be experiencing different conditions. The duo entered the Pacific this morning and are currently sailing across two fronts, bringing 35-45 knot westerlies with some stronger gusts, accompanied by some very rough seas.



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