Monday, January 12, 2009

Michel Desjoyeaux steams away

[Source: Vendée Globe] Michel Desjoyeaux passed Cape Horn a week ago with a lead of 112 miles. In seven days he has increased his lead to the best part of 340 miles this afternoon, and as the wind veers more NE, with his nearest opponent Roland Jourdain now tucked in his pocket 275 miles away inshore, toward the Brasilian coast, the prospects for The Professor look increasingly favourable.

Jourdain said today that he has yet to press the accelerator hard since making his repairs after hitting a sea mammal Thursday, and has been sailing especially carefully – trying to reduce the slamming on Veolia Environnment – a task which is not proving easy in more than 40 knots when the optimum course is upwind.

Video highlights from day 64 of the Vendée Globe. 12 January 2009. Video copyright Vendée Globe

Relief was perhaps the most evident emotion when Marc Guillemot called in to the radio vacations this morning, with Cape Horn two hours in his wake. The Safran skipper’s rounding was brisk and businesslike, arriving at the rock at 0730 as the fastest of the fleet overnight, before starting the long climb up the Atlantic. But it was a release for the skipper from La Trinité as he made his third trip round the Horn, his first solo, after such a dramatic set of experiences in the Big South. He is still planning to repair his mainsail mast track in the Falklands late Tuesday or early Wednesday, an operation which should take beween three and five hours. He anticipates mooring to a buoy but may drift if there is sea room, the shelter is sufficient and the weather is amenable.

Jonny Malbon confirmed today that the Vendée Globe is definitely unfinished business, a race he wants to come back to in time, after he arrived in Auckland, New Zealand, passing the Cormonandel Peninsula as the sun was rising early morning local time (late last night (GMT). A matter of hours later he was joined today by Jean-Pierre Dick and met up with Sebastien Josse (BT) to discuss future plans for repairs and repatriation.

The Pacific is not giving up the trio Bahrain Team Pindar, Akena Verandas and Aviva lightly to the Pacific. All three skippers, Brian Thompson, Arnaud Boissières and Dee Caffari will have to contend with forecasted winds strafing them at up to 70 knots, with a mountainous sea up to 12m high, as they fight to make Cape Horn. All three were well battened down, according to all their recent reports, anticipating this one final battering before they can breach the Atlantic.



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