Michel Desjoyeaux in the lead but came "close to disaster"
[Source: Vendee Globe] There may be some minor encouragement for Roland Jourdain whose speed has risen to 8.4 knots this evening, but Michel Desjoyeaux’s lead has increased to 391 miles and will, almost certainly be over 400 miles again tomorrow. Jourdain will be hoping that he Doldrums are completely behind him.
Michel Desjoyeaux remains tight lipped about the problems he may have had to overcome, possibly before the Doldrums, saying in a French press report that he has been ‘……close to disaster, I have had problems which could have put an end to my race. I had a lucky escape.’
Video highlights from day 73 of the Vendée Globe. 21 January 2009. Video copyright Vendée Globe
With less than 50 miles to go to the Equator the skipper of Veolia Environnement will tonight or early tomorrow morning become the second competitor to return to the North Atlantic.
Behind the leading duo there is all to play for. Marc Guillemot, positioned 75 miles off the coast of Brazil (at the latitude of Rio) has Samantha Davies, further out to sea, trying to make good the miles she lost.
Although slowed down over the past few hours, she says she prefers her position to Marc Guillemot’s. For the Thompson/Caffari/Boissières trio, level with Uruguay now, the die is cast.
The Cowes skipper has slowed to just 4.8 knots this evening and has the South Atlantic branch of ‘Caffari Solo Sail Repairs’ in full swing behind him, just 20 miles away, making. She is more than 1.5 knots quicker than Bahrain Team Pindar.
Aboard his evergreen Akena Vérandas (the former VMI), which is certainly less powerful than his British rivals, Arnaud Boissières had no other choice but to attempt an option to the west to get out of an area of light winds and thundery squalls.
From Steve White, currently passing the Falklands to Norber Sedlacek in the middle of the Pacific, only Rich Wilson, heading towards the Horn was sailing above ten knots this evening.